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Elgar Comedy makes a comeback to the Royal Albert Hall with Nina Conti and exclusive Edinburgh previews

27 April, 2011


The Royal Albert Hall is delighted to announce that Elgar Comedy is returning to The Elgar Room this summer. After the success of the first season, established comedians and cutting-edge comedy newcomers will once again entertain Elgar Room audiences with their lively banter and vivacious stand-up routines. This new season of Elgar Comedy features hour-long performances from Nina Conti and exclusive previews of stand-up shows before they transfer to The Edinburgh Festival.

Elgar Comedy has added another string to The Elgar Room’s already artistically diverse bow which plays host to regular jazz and classical gigs as well as dance, indie and cabaret events. The comedians take to the stage in an intimate and friendly atmosphere that combines the comedy theatre experience with an underground comedy club vibe. After a popular first season which saw Alun Cochrane, Doc Brown and Alex Zane headline with support from up and coming talent such as Rob Lycett, Naz Osmanoglu and Rob Beckett, these fresh new comedians will be making their distinct mark and welcoming both devoted and new fans of comedy.

Kicking the Hall’s second Elgar Comedy season off to a cracking start on Wednesday 18th May is one of Britain’s leading ventriloquists Nina Conti, with her show ‘Talk to the Hand’. She performs her outstandingly hilarious routine with her puppet sidekick Monk, a depressed monkey, as well as three new characters that take Nina off script in a show that is guaranteed to impress and amuse. 

Throughout June and July, Elgar Comedy gigs will see two comedians take to the stage to each perform an hour-long preview of their upcoming Edinburgh Festival show. On Thursday 2 June, the talented Richard Herring picks up the Elgar Room microphone; already one of the UK’s most prolific comedy talents as one half of the comedy duo ‘Lee & Herring’ as well as clocking up regular television appearances on “Have I Got News For You”, “Never Mind The Buzzcocks” and BBC Two’s “Genius”. Also performing the same night is Tom Deacon, the charismatic star of Radio One’s Sunday nights who is fast becoming one of the hottest names in stand-up. After winning the 2007 Chortle Student Comedian of the Year, his comedy career took off and he made his Edinburgh Festival debut in 2009.

Friday 24 June will see both Steve Hall and Gareth Richards take to the stage. Steve is a BBC New Comedy Award Finalist and has just finished supporting Russell Howard on his arena tour. He is an Edinburgh Festival veteran, having returned with four critically acclaimed sell-out shows, as part of the if.Comedy Award nominated sketch group ‘We Are Klang’. Gareth has become an instant favourite on the comedy circuit due to his engaging observational comedy and inspired one-liners and has already appeared in the Comedy Zone at the Edinburgh Festival in 2009, which was the fringe’s longest-running and most prestigious stand-up showcase.

Laugh out loud for Ahir Shah and Andy Zaltzman on Wednesday 6 July. Ahir is a feisty 19-year comedian who finds his inspiration in telling jokes about politics and current affairs and has been described by Chortle as ‘fizzing with intelligence and energy’. On a similar vein, Andy Zaltzman delivers his clued-up political comedy with surreal similes and often punch lines of pure silliness and has also become an Edinburgh Festival staple. Both are bound to bring two hours of endless fun to the Elgar Room.

Bringing the season to a close, Tim Key and Idiots of Ants will be entertaining audiences on Tuesday 12 July. Tim is an experienced writer, performer and actor and was the winner of the 2009 Edinburgh Comedy Awards for Best New Show and has been described as ‘a one-off, an adoringly different performance poet and stand-up’. Idiots of Ants are a sketch quartet made up of Andrew Spiers, Elliott Tiney, Benjamin Wilson and James Wrighton. Since forming in 2007 they have gone on to sell out four Edinburgh Festival shows, achieve a run in London’s prestigious West End and have been declared by The Independent as one of the five top sketch groups in the UK.

Caroline McNamara, Head of Programming at the Royal Albert Hall, said ‘I am thrilled that we are welcoming back Elgar Comedy to the Royal Albert Hall. As we continue to artistically expand The Elgar Room and encourage new audiences into the space, these comedy gigs are a fine example of the Hall’s own programming endeavours. From the dynamic Nina Conti to the exclusive Edinburgh preview shows, I am sure that these comedians will have our audiences laughing throughout the summer’

Elgar Comedy looks set to be another fine season of brilliant comedy, showcasing the best established and rising comedy stars in a world-class venue.

Tickets are on sale now. Nina Conti is £15 and the Edinburgh Previews are priced at £8. To book, please call 020 7589 8212 or visit


Wednesday 18th May- 9pm
Nina Conti: Talk to the Hand

Thursday 2nd June- 8.30pm
Edinburgh Previews: Richard Herring and Tom Deacon

Friday 24th June- 8.30pm 
Edinburgh Previews: Steve Hall and Gareth Richards

Wednesday 6th July- 8.30pm
Edinburgh Previews: Ahir Shah and Andy Zaltzman

Tuesday 12th July- 8.15pm
Edinburgh Previews: Tim Key and Idiots of Ants

For more information please contact:
Sean Carrigan - or call 020 7959 0531

Elgar Comedy is supported by The British Comedy Guide - and Com Comedy - 

Notes to Editors:

Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is the world’s most famous stage. Its breathtaking auditorium hosts over 380 shows a year by the world’s greatest artists. The magical atmosphere
combined with inspired artists creates legendary events. Opened in 1871 as part of Prince Albert’s vision for a centre for the Arts and Sciences, and a registered charity operating without public funding, it remains true to his founding ambitions within a modern context. Extending the brand with over 150 events outside the auditorium, the Hall has broadened its appeal to younger, diverse audiences whilst still
engaging its existing customers.

In 2009, the Hall renovated the Elgar Room as a state-of-the-art performance space and restaurant which now hosts performances of classical music, jazz and world music, comedy, dance and hush, a series of gigs for just signed bands throughout the year. It also works extensively with schools and young people through its Learning and Participation programme, reaching over 30,000 participants each year.

The Elgar Room
Built to support one of the Hall’s main purposes to promote the advancement of the Arts & Sciences, the West Theatre - as this room was originally known - provided space for small theatricals and meetings of a scientific or literary nature. From 1906 until 1957 it was the home of the Central School of Speech And Drama where luminaries such as Laurence Olivier, Vanessa Redgrave, Judi Dench, Virginia McKenna and Harold Pinter received their training. In 2009 the room was renovated to provide a state-of-the-art performance space and restaurant. The photographs by David Redfern that adorn the walls are images of some of the iconic performers who have graced the stage at the Royal Albert Hall. Among the regular series that are held in the room are Late Night Jazz, Classical Coffee Mornings and hush which gives a platform to rising stars on the UK music scene.


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020 7959 0531

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