The Glee Clubs are the brainchild of Northern Irish born entrepreneur Mark Tughan. Mark enjoyed the explosion of the alternative comedy into the London nightlife scene in the 1980's, but could not understand why this fresh, new idea refused to leave the capital. Then, in September 1994, Birmingham's Glee Club became the UK's first purpose-built, dedicated comedy venue outside London.
Once the seed was planted, the venue became one of the hottest tickets in Birmingham. Buoyed by the speed with which Birmingham took live comedy to its heart a new Glee Club in Cardiff’s Bay area followed in 2001.
It was always Mark's ambition to develop a range of styles and formats and as comedy grew in popularity through the 1990's the Glees added solo shows, by more established comics, to it’s programme. At the time, these tour shows were quite a new development. And the weekend comedy club shows that by now had become the standard format for the clubs, continued to go from strength to strength.
The Glees were also the first to make two significant decisions in their comedy clubs - closing the bar whilst the acts are on stage and opting for a theatre style seating layout (with tables). Both choices raised eyebrows at the time but were directed squarely towards ensuring customers and acts alike got the very best from each other.
In 2002 Mark was approached by Markus Sargeant, a longstanding and respected local music promoter, to host a Songwriters Music Festival. This was the beginnings of the Glees long association with promoting distinctly intimate live music. Gigs are mainly seated (though sometimes standing) and known for their intimacy and good acoustics.
With these 3 strings - mixed bill comedy clubs, touring comedy and live music - the foundations were laid for a unique group of venues, providing a range of entertainment, that could cater to many tastes. Operating under one trademarked brand, Glee, they have raised the bar and set a new quality standard for entertainment venues of this size.
Glee Oxford opened in April 2010 and Glee Nottingham followed in September 2010.
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