Peter Kay performs three secret gigs in Bolton

Peter Kay has performed three secret shows in Bolton – his first time doing stand up in his hometown for 20 years.

The comedian has been on a comeback tour – his first since 2010 – but paused his arena stops to appear at Bolton’s 390-capacity Octagon Theatre.

His three Sunday shows raised more than £80,000 for the venue, with first access to the very limited tickets given to members and patrons of the theatre – before the rest sold out in minutes.

It’s where the comedian attended a youth theatre and worked in the box office – before he was “let go” in the 1990s he told fans, according to local media reports.

Lotte Wakeham, the venue’s artistic director, praised Kay on social media “for championing the Octagon at his 1st hometown gig in 20 years”.

Reviews for the Phoenix Night’s stars homecoming were glowing, with Roddy Gauld, chief executive at the Octagon, saying “honestly, I ached with laughter”.

One fan wrote on X that he and his wife had front row seats: “What a privilege to see this outstanding warmly funny comedian close up.”

Another told the Manchester Evening News they felt like they were sat in Kay’s living room “having a good old chin wag”.

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Mr Gauld said in a statement afterwards: “Over one thousand people got the chance to be part of a hilarious, exclusive, and up-close performance with one of Britain’s best loved comedians, here in his hometown.

“It was a unique experience that Octagon donors and returning customers were able to book.

“We’re a charity and rely upon fundraising. Every pound allows us to create more magical, creative experiences on and off stage for young people and communities in Bolton and beyond.

“We’re incredibly grateful to Peter for his support.”

At the start of December, Kay was brought to tears on the opening night of his first live comedy tour in 12 years.

Since then, he has announced yet more shows for 2024, with stops in Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Glasgow and a 28th night at London’s O2 Arena.

O2 had to apologise after its priority ticket website offering customers early access to the first tranche of Kay’s tour tickets crashed due to “extraordinary demand”.

In 2010, Kay gained the Guinness World Record for the biggest-selling run of all time – playing to a total of 1.2 million people.

Source : Sky News