Newport becomes a Comedy Port for third year running!


Laughs will be had in Newport City Centre again this October, for the third annual Comedy Port for 2012 which will take place all over the city centre from Monday 8 October until Saturday 13 October.

After the huge success of the last two years, Comedy Port promises to be bigger, bolder and better than ever before. With a variety of big names, up and coming acts, alternative comedians, day-time acts, sketch shows, innovative stand-up, musical comedy, funny films, fringe acts, pop-up venues and much, much more.

Tim Key, up-and-coming comedy genius and Edinburgh Comedy Award Winner is set to be a hugely popular performer this year as he brings to Newport the hilariously lovely languid musings of his new show – Masterslut on Tuesday 9 October 2012 at 8.30pm.

Masterslut is the follow up to his 2009 show, The Slutcracker and is a blend of character comedy, poetry and stand-up, mixing short verse with longer stories, punctuated by oddly beautiful and nonsensical short films. It’s probably the only stand-up set you’ll ever see to feature a luxuriously warm bath centre stage!

Al Murray’s lovable character ‘The Pub-Landlord’ is coming to Newport with his The Only Way is Epic tour to be part of 2012’s Comedy Port on 10 October. The multi-award winning performer solves broken Britain’s problems through laughter, beer and the occasional pork scratchings. (Not to forget a glass of wine for the ladies.)

There’s also something for the whole family with two shows of the previous sell-out, Comedy Club 4 Kids. A proper comedy club for anyone over the age of six.

Award-winning comedian, actress and writer Bridget Christie will be entertaining the crowds this year with her unique style of comedy and alternative humour. Her must see show will be performed on Saturday 13 October 8pm.  Book now to avoid disappointment!

If you are a local comedian, promoter, business or venue and you’d like to get involved, please contact Jason.small@newport.gov.uk

For more information please visit www.newport.gov.uk/theriverfront or call 01633 656679 for a chat. Tickets are on sale now and a full list of events and venues will be available soon. 

Tickets for all shows are now on sale!

Follow ComedyPort on Twitter @portcomedyfest or join the ComedyPort group on Facebook.

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Songs for Modern Loving by Helen Arney…


I’ve just found out that Newport is twinned with Guangxi Province in China. Well I never, that is absolutely superb. I hope some of you get together each summer holidays and swap Pokemon, or whatever it is kids do on exchange trips nowadays. It sounds like the people of Newport enjoy unusual twinnings, which is good news because I’ve got one for you on Saturday. It’s “Songs for Modern Loving” a musical comedy show that matches twisted love ballads with the bottled-sunshine sound of the ukulele.

From revenge fantasies about Carol Vorderman and a marriage proposal gone horribly wrong, to scientifically accurate songs about the mating habits of animals and the classic “isn’t it great that we stayed together for the sake of the children?” there’s something for everyone who has ever been in a relationship.

I wrote this show for the Edinburgh Fringe last year, and at the time I wasn’t over the moon about this thing David Bowie calls “Modern Love”. There’s nothing quite like a lifetime of failed relationships and unrequited love to give you something to write about… The problem now is that since last year I’ve found a lovely partner. He’s great. Perfect, even. I’m so happy I make myself sick. I’m as smug as a bug in a rug, which isn’t that smug, so I’m like that but with an extra dose of smug on top. I’m displaying all the loved-up coupleness that I used to despise, the kind that made me want to put weedkiller into their shared cup of tea. I’m not sure I’ll ever pen a vitriolic anti-love song again.

I’m now just hoping that everyone else’s relationships starts falling apart, so I have something to sing about in Edinburgh next year. Here’s an idea. Come along to the show with your partner (Saturday, 6.30pm at the pop up venue) and pretend to break up right at the end. You’d better make it spectacular, the room is done up like a space ship, I don’t want any of that boring “we need to talk” rubbish. Bring something fairly soft to throw at your partner, and some brilliant insults to shout at them.

If everyone does it, I should have enough material for new shows until Comedy Port 2025…

Helen is co-hosting Sessions on Friday evening, and her solo show is at 6.30 on Saturday in URBAN Empty Shops, 21-22 John Frost Square. Grab tickets to see Helen Arney here!  

Listen to songs at: helenarney.com Watch my animated video: http://youtu.be/iwxuSKWlLJU On Radio 4 this week: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b015p632

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Tin Shed shape-shift shop into space ship for Comedy Port opening night…


Tin Shed Theatre Company got Comedy Port off to a space-age start last night with Launch Pad – a scratch comedy night curated by the theatre company. The Newport University graduates decked out the U.R.B.A.N Empty Shops Project to literally provide lift-off for the second year of Newport’s very own comedy festival.

The company have been heavily involved in the festival since its beginnings last year and performed the highly talked about show, TAXI. This year, the company wanted to curate their own show and so we let them.

Some of the acts that took part in Launch Pad were Elvis Preseli, Dan Rowley, Dangerous Ryan, Francesca Word Salad and more.

You next chance to see the company is tonight with The Life and Times of Albert Lymes. It’s a one-man show from Justin Cliffe from Tin Shed. He took the show to Edinburgh this year, to much acclaim. Come along and support this vital young company who’s sole purpose seems to be to provide Newport with fun, unusual events and happenings!

For tickets to The Life and Times of Albert Lymes click here, call The Riverfront on 01633 656679 or turn up at 21-22 John Frost Square this evening and buy your tickets on the door. They are £5 each and all of the money goes to the company. Let’s do it people. Comedy Port happens but once a year! It’s time to put the port back on the map for the right reasons.

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Comedy Port lift-off with Launch Pad


Comedy Port is about to lift-off with Tin Shed Theatre’s Launch Pad tonight (Monday 10 October) at 8pm. at 21-22 John Frost Square. Turn up – it’s free. All we ask is if you enjoy it, make a donation to Tin Shed Theatre on the night.

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Iain Peebles is not your typical bloke…


I’d be the first to admit I’m not the most blokey person you’re ever likely to meet. I don’t drink lager, I’m not that bothered about cars outside of their ability to get me from A to B and I do try my best not to objectify women on a regular basis. But like most ‘blokes’ I do hold a deep seated suspicion of contemporary dance. Well, of any kind of dance to be honest.

And dance is exactly what New Art Club are about. The duo of Pete Shenton and Tom Roden formed New Art Club in 2001 but have been working together since 1995. Their breakthrough came in 2003 with the hilarious spoof on modern dance, This is Modern. Since then they’ve been successfully combining dance and comedy, successfully straddling both worlds since 2008 when they took their show to the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time.

Last year’s show was entitled This is Now. It was/is a deconstruction of the first Now That’s What I call Music album. The poster featured the duo in gaudy leotards complete with ridiculous expressions on their faces. I can recall taking all this in and making my mind up instantly. This was going to be dreadful. I had agreed to go so I tried not to grumble but I was sure of myself. I wasn’t going to enjoy this nonsense one bit. It must have taken New Art Club all of about 2 minutes to break through the metaphorical brick wall of cynicism I had built up around myself and have me doubled up in my seat, laughing like a loon. I am thoroughly looking forward to them returning to Comedy Port on Thursday and I’ll be in the front row, wearing lycra.

Iain Peebles is a Comedy Port volunteer.  Big Bag of Boom by New Art Club will be at The Riverfront at 7pm on Friday 14 October. Click for more info and to book.

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Comedy Club 4 Kids dude, Tiernan Douieb is excited…


Newport eh? Much better than the old one. That’s what I’ve heard. Not that I’ve ever seen the old one but I presume it was, er, well, old. That’s normally the reason for building new ones isn’t it? And now it’s all new and shiny and has steel sculptures and things, so well done everyone involved.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen much of Newport on previous visits, bar from a carpark and The Riverfront where I spoke to some haematology nurses and a man who sold leather. Bloody tough jobs, literally. But this will change for when arriving at Comedy Port I shall endeavour to see all of the sights Newport has to give. According to Wikipedia I could go see Fourteen Locks. I hope they are all different types of locks for bikes and such otherwise I’ve probably seen that many already just on doors all over the place. The Transporter Bridge sounds amazing, and I hope, just like in the Jason Statham films, crossing it will reveal immense action montages.

Lastly, I’ll probably visit the Roman Legion museum in Caerleon as I like Romans. Well I like Café Nero anyway, so that’s probably enough. Essentially it will be an awesome day. What would make it more awesome is if you bring all the smaller denizens of Newport to Comedy Club 4 Kids at The Riverfront on 15th October at 2pm. There will be stand up for small people and big people who don’t like the swearing. Maybe bring your own locks? We might have more than 14 altogether and could get our own Wikipedia entry?

Buy tickets for Tiernan’s show Comedy Club 4 Kids here. He’ll be bringing other, very funny comedians for kids with him.

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Comedy Port volunteer Kate shares her pre-Comedy Port excitement…


I’m Kate *waves*

I have just graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London with a degree in English and Drama. I’m originally from Newport, but have spent the last 3 years in Surrey. Moving back to Newport has been a bit of a culture shock for me as I am now used to being surrounded by the arts, something that I didn’t think was the case in Newport.

Prior to a few weeks ago I didn’t realise the variety of events that were organised by The Riverfront or that Newport has a comedy festival. Having performed stand-up at uni during my reign as president of the Royal Holloway society and having performed in a comedy sketch show in Edinburgh (and caught the comedy bug) I am thrilled that Newport has this to offer…and that at a time where the arts are being affected by government cuts and the recession that Newport is still trying hard to improve the local arts scene.

Why am I excited for Newport’s second annual Comedy Festival? It’s simple really; I adore comedy. I live and breathe it. I perform it, I watch it, I write it. Comedy has helped me face my greatest fears and overcome the most difficult of times. That is my hope for Newport. I believe strongly in the cathartic power of a comedic voice. Industrial cities in the UK are crippled by the economic downturn. This case could not be more evident in Newport. I was horrified to return from my student life in Surrey to discover just how much the recession has hit my hometown. You only have to walk through Newport City Centre to see that it has been hit heavily. Newport is a depressed city. We need a Comedy Festival. Comedy gives Newport the opportunity to voice its frustrations and laugh in the face of hard times. To use a well worn cliche: laughter is the best medicine.

It is my hope that with the continuation of Comedy Port that Newport can heal and begin a new chapter. A Comedy Festival in Newport can only benefit the city. Laughter is a unifying tool, as when we laugh collectively, it is because we identify with the same things. A Comedy Festival provides a great opportunity not only for Newport’s economic recovery, but also improving community spirit and providing relief to Newportonians when so many face worry due to the recession. This festival gives Newport something to be proud of, to fight back against the recession and show the rest of the UK that Newport and indeed Wales has a voice. I hope that Comedy Port will make way for a vibrant comedy scene, where we will see Welsh people encouraged to write and perform comedy and a stronger, more positive image of Welsh culture in English media. Newport has always existed as Cardiff’s poor relative. The festival will help promote the arts scene in Newport and prove Newport to be a serious competitor in the field of the arts. It will undoubtedly make Newport a more attractive place to perform and invest. I believe the future to be bright for Newport and am proud to be part of Newport Comedy Festival and Newport’s future.

Kate is volunteering at Comedy Port and we’re hoping to twist her arm and perform at Sessions Open Mic Night.

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