Ambition can take many forms, but behind the friendly smiling face of comedy performer and promoter Adrienne Coles lies… a friendly, smiling comedy performer and promoter.
“For me it’s not about getting on TV or having a string of comedy clubs, I love what I do and I want to do it as well as I possibly can,” says the friendly, smiling host of Coastal Comedy, the monthly stand-up comedy showcase in The Sherling Studio at Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts.
“I get a real buzz from performing, but I also love dealing with the comedians, getting the show on, promoting it, all the things that need to be done – I’m a real one-man band and when we have a really good night and people are leaving the venue on a high because of something I put on, there’s no feeling like it.”
Having started her own comedy night in Bournemouth’s Hotel Celebrity – the childhood home of Tony Hancock – Adrienne set up Coastal Comedy at Lighthouse in April last year hosting three comedians a month with herself as compere.
“You get to know what works after a while. My persona is this really friendly, happy and slightly innocent person who just talks to people in the audience. A naughty, wicked side pops out here and there which gets the laughs.
“I get to meet some incredible people just by talking to them – we have a prison chaplain who comes in, what a gift! Talk about having a captive audience!”
Adrienne has a busy life also working part-time as Head of Marketing for Dorset Children’s Foundation and with two children of her own, but as well as the monthly studio gigs at Lighthouse she is now hosting regular shows in the 650-seat Theatre. The first, with headliner Lee Nelson, was a sell out and is being followed by another triple bill with Tom Stade, Ben Norris and Zoe Lyons on 5 October. Adrienne already has star names such as the Lost Voice Guy, aka Britain’s Got Talent winner Lee Ridley, lined up for next year.
The funny thing is, Adrienne’s route into comedy was anything but – it was when she was going through a divorce that she decided to take up stand-up.
“There’s always a laugh though,” she laughs. “I did stuff about missing my husband’s curry and should I eat the last portion that was in the freezer.
“I asked myself what it was that I really wanted to do and ever since I was a kid people have told me I should be on the stage because I always had a come back or a funny line. I did open mic nights then got a few paid gigs and was driving all over the place late at night, which can be pretty lonely when you’ve had a bad gig.”
What better solution than to bring the funny to your own night, but what of the future?
“It can be quite emotional. I was so thrilled when Ben Norris said he’d had his best gig ever at Coastal Comedy. I’m happy with where it has taken me – the club nights are going well; I’m loving having the big stage and the audience in the theatre shows and I’m bringing top names to Dorset for shows with incredible line-ups at affordable ticket prices.”
:: Coastal Comedy returns to Lighthouse on:
Saturday 14 September, Sherling Studio – Paul Tonkinson, Michael Fabbri, Tom Taylor
Saturday 5 October, Theatre – Tom Stade, Zoe Lyons, Ben Norris
Saturday 12 October, Sherling Studio – John Lynn, Mike Cox, Rob Mulholland
Saturday 23 November, Sherling Studio – Marlon Davis, Sam Savage, Ant Dewson
Saturday 19 December, Sherling Studio – Christmas Special with Tom Lucy and Jake Lambert, with guests
Tickets for all shows at www.lighthousepoole.co.uk.
:: Photos by Will Bazlinton