Kettering Arts Centre ready for relaunch with new Rev and a packed programme

Kettering Arts Centre was set up ten years ago

By Alison Bagley
Saturday, 31st July 2021, 10:55 am

A Kettering town centre venue that was set up to offer an affordable easy-to-reach night-out is ready to open its doors to the community with a bumper programme of entertainment.

Kettering Arts Centre's Autumn season kicks off with back-to-back comedy gigs as Mark Watson and improvisational experts The Noise Next Door visit at the start of September.

Preparing to relaunch the centre will be new manager and priest Rev Tom Houston, who will not be taking to the stage but is eager to see the return of his church's role as an arts hub.

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Rev Tom Houston in St Andrew's Church - Kettering Arts Centre

St Andrew’s Church has hosted the Arts Centre for the past decade using its flexible worship space for performances.

Tom, who took on the role in January said: "I'm just so excited for it to get going. We have a great team from lighting and sound, to the bar and door.

"The idea is that the tickets are affordable and it's a great central location so you don't have to spend lots of money.

"We're in need of a laugh and there's going to be some really good material out there about lockdown and toilet rolls.

Mark Watson

"This is the bit that got me into the job - we connect with the community. The arts can be a good way of exploring the deep questions of life. I find that I often need to revaluate things especially with comedy. A good comedian can say things that cut to the core of an issue and allow you to see it in a different way, all whilst having a laugh."

Tom, 31, became a priest after moving to Northamptonshire from Devon to work as a canoe and kayak instructor at the Frontier Centre in Irthlingborough. The post at St Andrew's Church and Kettering Arts Centre is his first - he trained at St Mary's Church in Burton Latimer.

He is looking forward to attending his first gig at his own church and hope to increase the range of shows.

He said: "We are going to carry on with the comedy and I would love to see it expand to two to three nights a week with a bit more of a mix with music and dance. I would like to encourage people to learn new skills of lighting and sound, perhaps have an apprenticeship scheme for people who want to get involved.

Improv group Noise Next Door photo by Steve Ullathorne

"James Acaster has put Kettering on the comedy map and he's inspired the town showing you can become a name on the comedy circuit."

With Mark Watson on Friday, September 3, followed immediately by the improvisational wonder of The Noise Next Door - from Britain's Got Talent on Saturday 4, the month continues with Robert White on Friday 10 for his Tank Top Tour 2 and quickly followed on Saturday 11 by Snack Hacker, George Egg, with a mash up of comedy show and gourmet cookery.

The month continues on Friday 17with Rob Auton‘s Rescheduled Rescheduled Rescheduled Time Show Tour.

Bringing their mellow and melodic music to the centre, quintet Hazeyjane will launch their album Anima Rising, supported by The Fed Sisters, on Saturday 18.

Just like that - The Tommy Cooper Show

At the end of the month on Friday 24, a tribute to a much-loved comedy genius will be paid in the The Tommy Cooper Show with the following day a Rolling in the Aisles comedy club night.

For more information on the forthcoming acts to appear at the Rockingham Rd/Lindsay Street venue go to

Rev Tom Houston in St Andrew's Church - Kettering Arts Centre
Robert White photo by Steve Ullathorne