Sell out success and why Blackpool comic and boss of the Comedy Station Ryan Gleeson is looking forward to sharing the laughs all over again
The past year has been anything but funny for those working in the entertainment industry – and particularly those working on the comedy circuit.
But resort comic Ryan Gleeson, the founder of the Comedy Station, said there’s finally some light at the end of the tunnel – three weekends of sell-out shows and once again bringing joy to the stage of the revamped venue in Bank Hey Street in the town centre.
Thanks to cash from the Cultural Recovery Fund, (CRF), which Ryan lobbied for comedians through his role on the Live Comedy Association’s board, Ryan said he has been able to provide job security for their six staff – and protect a much-needed venue for the stand-ups in the north west and nationally.
Later this week they will welcome class acts inlcuding Canadian comic Tom Stade, English Comedian Of The Year finalist Lindsey Santoro and Preston based funnyman Freddy Quinne.
Ryan, who took over the building in 2019 and completed a full renovation ahead of reopening said: “It has been unbelievably tough and a battle of survival for these venues across the country.
“Comedy, whilst recognised in entertainment, is not defined as an ‘art’, with it being traditionally exclusive for adults. So when discussions with the Arts Council around funding first began, we needed to make it possible for comedy venues to be included.
“So whilst there were many days and reasons to be downbeat, there were the positives too and that’s what we
Two successful grant bids in both rounds of the funding have allowed Ryan, supported by wife Jen, to invest in a major revamp to make the venue more accessible, particularly for disabled visitors.
He said: “As someone who recognises disability, this was a huge thing for me. We’ve been able to add a disabled toilet and a new lift is being installed.
"But the set up of the venue has been completely transformed so we could accommodate people much better. It was all about creating an environment safe for our staff, our customers, but also our performers. Never has it been more vital for comedians to have these venues.
“It is exciting for us. I always said when I took this place on, ‘Let me get you in the door once. That’s all I need.’”
The venue’s opening weekends have seen the likes of Stockport comic Steve Shanyask, Mick Ferry and Brennan Reece headline.
Ryan added: “We have so much to look forward to and be grateful for.
“While I would never have wanted to shut for almost a year having just opened the place, we’ve used that time to bring ourselves on five years from where we thought we would be.
"Now it’s time for people to enjoy it and yes have a laugh.”
For the full programme and tickets visit: https://www.blackpoolcomedyclub.com/