Kettering Arts Centre in safe hands as St Andrew's vicar moves on

St Andrew's Church's vicar, Rev Nick Wills, has announced he is leaving the church to move to Edinburgh but assures comedy fans that Kettering Arts Centre remains in good hands.

Rev Nick and his wife, Becky, set up the Kettering Arts Centre at St Andrew's Church 10 years ago and it has become a cultural highlight in the town.

But now the vicar is leaving the church and venue to move to the Scottish capital.

Nick said: "We started Kettering Arts Centre at St Andrew’s Church 10 years ago because it seemed that many towns across the Midlands had arts centres, but Kettering didn’t.

Kettering Arts Centre was set up in St Andrew's Church by Rev Nick Wells 10 years ago

"As Lottery money was being diverted to the 2012 Olympics at the time and the recession was biting, it seemed better to do what we could with the building available to us, rather than wait in the hope that one day somebody would build one here."

The centre's success is evident in the list of high-profile comedians that have performed there over the past decade.

Acts include Jack Dee, Romesh Ranganathan, Nish Kumar, Josie Long, Sean Lock, Shappi Khorsandi, Josh Widdecombe, and Kettering's home-grown talent, James Acaster.

Becky said: "I have loved having the opportunity to bring so many brilliant acts to Kettering.

The vicar is leaving St Andrew's to move to Edinburgh

"I am, of course, sad to be leaving behind our fantastic team of volunteers and staff and our many regular supporters but it has been a privilege to work with so many amazing performers over the 10 years since we began the Arts Centre in St Andrew's.

"I'm confident that we are leaving it in great hands, and that with the support of the town there will be many more years of laughter, challenge and entertainment in this beautiful church."

The unique venue hosts comedy, music and theatre in the evening before transforming back to a traditional church ready for Sunday morning services.

Dez Dell, a volunteer at the centre and a huge comedy fan, said: "Kettering Arts Centre is one of the biggest assets we have in this town, by attending I've really discovered my love of comedy and I'm lucky to have seen so many brilliant comedians on my doorstep."

The announcement that the founding vicar is leaving might concern some Kettering Arts Centre regulars, especially those who enjoy Rev Nick's compering at the Rolling in the Aisles comedy club nights.

Those wanting to catch the vicar as compere can see him for the final time on Saturday, March 14.

Rev Nick said: "Thanks to so many people who have helped in different ways it has been an amazing success.

"I have enjoyed being part of so many people’s lives in different ways during my time in Kettering: as vicar, compere at the comedy club, and serving Potbelly beer from the licensed bar!"

You can see some of the upcoming events at Kettering Arts Centre here and on their website.