Mark Tughan opened Birmingham’s Glee Club in 1994 as the first dedicated comedy club outside London. This month the Glee Club celebrates its 25th anniversary.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I am the founder and CEO of the Glee Clubs, five venues hosting live comedy, music, cabaret and spoken word events. Prior to this I was an investment banker and would regularly visit venues like the Comedy Store and travel to the Edinburgh Fringe. The initial plan was to give myself five years to see if I could make it as an entrepreneur.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
It’s the train today as I’m raising a glass or two at the Glee’s 25th birthday show. Our offices are in Southside and my usual morning is the school run and into the office by eight. Sadly, it’s usually a car, all along the Bristol Road from Rubery to Southside.
HOW’S THE COMMUTE?
It’s not bad actually as I have the company of an eight-year-old and a seven-year-old most of the way! The way home is ok too, as I frequently stop at the Edgbaston Priory Club for a game of squash after work.
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
Brum and the Glee saved me from a life where I could have ended up spending 30 years in high finance. That could have been rewarding in one sense but not in a meaningful sense. I love it here, Birmingham, it’s people, but especially its sense of humour. Everyone has always been kind to me and my staff.
Quarter Horse Coffee for a break and meetings when I want to get out of the office.
Sometimes I bring my own, other times a toastie in EAT. We’re all big Café Soya fans at the Glee, so that’s our go to choice for a working lunch. We’ve also been known to do a breakfast run to Wetherspoons on a Friday!
It’s not for me. I try and play squash three times a week and no matter how bad a day I’ve had, hitting that court does tune me out of work, albeit for 45 minutes or so. If there’s time I’ll sit in a sauna afterwards, I’ve done some of my best thinking at high temperatures!
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
Got to be Southside. It’s evolved so much over 25 years, but in a good way. I do like Digbeth and the whole dining club vibe there.
Recently we’ve done the Distillery and also Digbeth’s Old Crown.
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
It would be great if it was more joined up with an enlarged tram system, connecting the various hubs of activity and even extending out to the closer suburbs. Many more EV charging points would encourage EV use. I think the Smithfield revamp could be transformational to Birmingham, but it needs to have plenty of green space built into it.