LJMU launched Liverpool Bright Club, a comedy night with a difference where professional performers are accompanied by lecturers and researchers who try their hand at stand-up comedy.
Billed as the ‘thinking person’s variety night’, the aim of Bright Club, which took place at the Bistro at The Everyman, is to spread the word about research in a funny, relatable, entertaining format.
Professor Joe Moran, who is well-known for his social commentary about everyday life, performed a set using ideas from his most recent book about shyness and Dr Fyaz Ismail, Lecturer in Pharmacy and Biomolecular Studies, talked about his expertise in Malaria. Elaine Aspinwall-Roberts, who has vast experience in social care, spoke about the phenomenon of hoarding, and Drama Lecturer, Dr Tim Miles, did a set on humour and its link to sexual attraction.
The professionals appearing alongside the academics were Kate Smurthwaite and Kate Fox. Kate Smurthwaite has been performing stand up for over 10 years and has written for ‘Have I Got News For You’ and BBC3's BAFTA-winning series ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’. She has a column in ‘The New Internationalist’ and makes regular appearances on TV, including on ‘Question Time’ and ‘This Morning.’
Comedian, performance poet, and poet-in-residence at the Glastonbury Festival, Kate Fox, compered the event.
Two of Kate's solo comedy shows have been broadcast by BBC Radio 4, and her many commissions include writing and performing for the Great North Run, the Yorkshire Festival and the National Gallery. Kate is currently writing a PhD on comedy and ‘Northern-ness.’
Special guest for the evening was LJMU graduate, Sonia Doubleday, who, under her stage name of CheekyKita, is making a name for herself as one of the most original performers on the comedy circuit. Her recent accolades include Prague Fringe award-winner, Laughing Horse runner-up, winner of the Colchester New Comedian of the Year, and Funny Women regional finalist.
Dr Tim Miles commented: “Comedy can be an excellent communicator and if you want to make a room full of people laugh, you have to use easily understandable language and concepts, which can be challenging when talking about complex research. That’s essentially what Bright Club is about – making research accessible to people who aren’t familiar with that discipline, through the medium of stand-up comedy.
“The event was a great success, with the audience as well as the participating academics commenting how much they enjoyed it. There was lots of laughing and clapping and it was fantastic to see the interdepartmental conversations taking place between lecturers who attended. It was a sell-out and we could easily have sold double the amount of tickets, so due to its roaring success in all areas, we are looking at holding another night in a couple of months, in a bigger venue.”
The Bright Club format to educate and entertain originated at University College London and has become a worldwide success, with the events reaching as far as Australia.