In celebration of Bright Club Southampton’s first birthday, I also asked Nikhil and Dave, who performed at the first show and have been a part of the committee since the beginning, to share their thoughts.
“I had just started a PhD and these emails came flying in from Jess about doughnuts, nachos, ‘quaking in my boots’, stand-up comedy and research. I had been involved in outreach and engagement in Southampton during my undergraduate studies, and I thought this was something cool, new and definitely worth getting involved with.
Originally, I didn’t think about performing; I just wanted the thrill of running a show in Southampton. Having been in Southampton since 2009, it was clear that the city needed more entertainment. Further, academics needed to be shown that engagement doesn’t have to mean serious conferences and lectures – they can communicate with the public in so many different ways. I’m passionate about ‘de-jargoning’ research and making it accessible to the public, so they can appreciate the work that goes on in academia. That’s why we run our public communication and comedy skills workshop, which are open to everyone, before each show.
Performing in the first show was such an incredible experience! The professional comperes and headliners we hire warm up the audience so that no researcher goes down like a lead balloon. I would recommend Bright Club to all researchers, as it’s the easiest way to try comedy without the fear of a harsh audience!
Our committee is awesome, and like a little family to me. Everyone has their own invaluable qualities, and working with them makes putting on these continuously brilliant shows so much fun! I didn’t really know many people at the start of my PhD as most of my friends moved after graduation, but I met SO MANY PEOPLE through Bright Club; the postgrads that perform for us, the business owners who help us run the shows, local newspaper journalists, and even DJs from BBC Radio Solent.
I think Bright Club is a breath of fresh air to Southampton, academia, public engagement and the people who come to see us! It’s fun, exciting, new, and has continued to grow in popularity, as evidenced by our ever-increasing audience. We are especially excited to welcome Steve Cross, the founder of Bright Club, to compering our anniversary show this Friday.”
“I first came across Bright Club a few years ago, when I heard the podcasts recorded and released by Steve Cross and the original Bright Club team in London. I loved the idea and wished there could be something like it in Southampton. So I jumped at the chance when I received Jess’s email about setting up Bright Club Southampton. By this time, I was just finishing my PhD and knew I wanted to get more involved in public engagement, regardless of what I did next. Also, being a stand-up comedy nerd, I loved the idea of being involved in the running of a comedy night!
But then I did something I hadn’t expected myself to do – I volunteered to perform at the first show. I can’t understate how nervous I was before the show, how great I felt once I got going and how much of a buzz I felt after finishing. Since that first show, I’m really proud that we’ve put on 3 more fantastic shows each with a roughly 50/50 split of people who work for one of the universities in Southampton and people from the wider public. This is an outreach project and I think it’s an important achievement that we are reaching out and not just talking to other university people.
Our anniversary show will include our first performer from Solent University, and I look forward to many more Solent academics making us laugh about their work at future shows. Also, to bring it back to the start of my relationship with Bright Club, I’ve been recording podcasts with some of our previous performers, which I hope to release in the not too distant future!”
We’ve come a long way in a year, and we cannot wait to celebrate with you this Friday. Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start, and tickets are still available here.