Star saves fundraising comedy gig for Matlock Bath Grand Pavilion after last minute hitch for headliner

An online comedy night to raise funds for the restoration of Matlock Bath’s Grand Pavilion flirted with disaster last week but ultimately landed a £300 punchline thanks to a class act by its star.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 3:29 pm

Stand-up Josie Long was struck down by illness shortly before she was due to perform from her home in Glasgow on Friday, April 23, but co-headliner Mark Watson stepped into the breach and raised enough laughter for two.

Victoria Arran, who handles events for the Pavilion charity, said: “Mark’s plan for the gig had gone awol but he managed to talk candidly to his 160-strong audience, all of whom were watching from their homes via Zoom.

“He gave the audience insight into how he creates new material for stand-up shows, and adding several amusing anecdotes and responding to heckles along the way.”

Comedian Mark Watson saved the day after delivering a solo comedy show for the Grand Pavilion in Matlock Bath.

After costs were accounted for, the event raised more than £300, including £75 donated in addition to ticket proceeds.

The money is just a drop in the ocean for the ongoing refurbishment of the building, but the gig had the added purpose of putting the Pavilion back on the map for touring artists and local audiences.

Nick Whitehead, chairman at the Grand Pavilion said “We’re so pleased that our community is getting behind our work again, and this event has proved that the desire to watch live events is still present in our rural communities.

“Like many performance venues, coronavirus has hit us hard, but the support we have received from the Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund, combined with the overwhelmingly warm reception we have received from this, our first live event of the year, fills us with hope that we can come back stronger.”

Work is underway to prepare the Pavilion's main hall for the possible return of events in the summer, with new flooring and the walls stripped back to the original brick.

Work is currently under way to transform the Pavilion’s backstage area, toilets and main hall in the hope of hosting live audiences this year.

Nick said: “Details are still being finalised but we will most likely start with a few smaller test events with a reduced capacity and social distancing measures in place.

“Support will be vital if we are to recoup some of the losses we have made during the pandemic, so we ask everyone to watch out for announcements, get on board, help us spread the word, and feel assured that we are doing everything possible to ensure we are a Covid-compliant venue.”

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