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Festival stalwart Cerys Nelmes looking forward to returning to Cheltenham

All Areas > Entertainment > Comedy

Author: Patrick Baines, Posted: Tuesday, 18th September 2018, 12:40

Cerys will be performing at The Strand this Thursday evening Cerys will be performing at The Strand this Thursday evening

Performances at the Cheltenham Comedy Festival are very special for Cerys Nelmes.

Cerys grew up in this part of Gloucestershire and spent two years studying performing arts at Gloucestershire College. A regular performer at the Cheltenham Comedy Festival, Cerys says her gig on Thursday evening at The Strand is one she’s been looking forward to for a long time.

She said: “I lived in Cheltenham for a couple of years while studying performing arts, so it’s always nice to come back and play the Cheltenham Comedy Festival.

“I do believe I’ve performed at the festival every year it’s been going which is something to be proud of. Last year I performed at Cheltenham Town Hall which was one of the highlights of my career. It’s an amazing venue, one of the very best in the south-west and one that every performer would enjoy performing at.”

Cerys has forged a hugely successful career in the ultra-competitive world of stand-up comedy and her diary is packed full of gigs for the coming months ahead. She continued: “Things are going well but I do get frustrated at the lack of opportunities for women in comedy.

“There has been progress made in recent years, but it still feels like very small baby steps. If I had a male comedian on the same level as me I’d have to work much harder than he would to get a gig, so there’s still plenty of work to be done to balance the scales.

“I’m a firm believer in that if a door is open to me I can go in and prove my worth, it’s just getting that door open in the first place that’s the hardest thing. Once I’m through that door I hope to leave it open for other women to get through.”

There can’t be too many more daunting tasks than attempting to make a room of complete strangers smile and laugh, but Cerys embraces the challenge.

She continued: “I love the buzz of performing. I never want to lose my nerves, for me nerves are a good thing. Going into a room of strangers and making them laugh is a challenge but that’s my job. If I didn’t get nervous ahead of a performance there would be something wrong with me.

“Comedians aren’t very chatty before a performance – I’m certainly not – I often go off on my own to try and get in the zone. The nerves play a massive part in being able to perform the job.

“I grew up watching comedians like Ruby Wax and Dawn French, I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with both of them in recent years. I was a massive fan of Sean Hughes as well, I gigged with him not too long before he passed away, he was a big inspiration.”

Audience members can expect a truly unique show when they watch Cerys perform. She said: “I can’t tell people what to expect because this is live comedy! A lot of comedy that’s on television is very heavily produced, performers are told what they can and can’t say.

“Live comedy is completely different, what goes on in that room is a one-off. I gauge what the audience is up for and go from there really. I like to put on a show that allows people to forget about any troubles they have and have some good laughs.

“When people come up to me and say ‘we’ve had a really tough week, we weren’t going to come but we ventured out and we’re glad we did because you made us forget about things for a few hours’, that’s the best feeling in the world.

“I get a lot of supportive messages from people on social media, they mean the world to me. As long as I’ve managed to put a smile on their faces then that’s job done really.

“I’ve been lucky to have played at some fantastic places over the years. A couple of years ago I hosted the evening gala for the 300th anniversary of the Royal Artillery and got to perform in front of the Queen, that was definitely one of my favourite gigs. I’ve got a photo where she’s stood almost right in front of me. I never thought I’d get that close to the Queen when I first started out performing!”

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