New Glee club to open

...on the site of Oxford Jongleurs

The former Jongleurs club in Oxford city centre is to reopen as a Glee Club, Chortle can reveal. 

The company, which already operates successful venues in Birmingham and Cardiff, is refurbishing the building before reopening at the end of April. 

And the Glee says they are set to expand further, with three other sites under negotiation. 

The move is the latest in the shake-up of the live comedy industry since the collapse of Jongleurs’ former owner Regent Inns last year. Several clubs closed and the rest were rebranded as Highlight, while the rights to the name Jongleurs reverted to its original owners, Maria Kempinska and John Davy, who have vowed to rebuild an empire of clubs. 

Glee owner Mark Tughan said Regent only had a year’s lease left to run on the Oxford Jongleurs when it went into pre-pack admiistration, but has now negotiated ‘a much more secure and longer term agreement’. 

He added: ‘Needless to say our priorities are good sound quality, theatre-style seating, quality bills, great customer service and no tolerance of bad audience behaviour and tyrannical hen and stag business.’ 

Comedy will start with Saturday nights, with the intention of growing into Fridays and possibly Thursdays, while the venue will also host touring musicians – as the other two Glees do. 

Tughan added: ‘I think this proves that there are quality, independent operators with a dedication to great comedy who can and will fill the space vacated by the demise of the Regent Inns Jongleurs experiment.’ 

The new venue is being funded from existing Glee Club resources without the need for additional debt, or an equity partner. The first Glee opened in Birmingham in 1994, and now boasts a 4t0-seat main auditorium and a 150-seat studio theatre. The company branched out into Cardiff in 2001, with a 440-seat room.

Jongleurs and Glee competed in Cardiff until early 2009, when the Jongleurs venue closed – foreshadowing the company's bigger troubles. 

The opening night at the Oxford Glee will be April 24, with a line-up comprising Ian Stone, Shappi Khorsandi and Angelos Epirhemiou. 

Published: 26 Feb 2010

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.