Comedian is calling the shots at Tunbridge Wells Fringe Festival
Tunbridge Wells comedian, mother of two and ‘puppet master’ of the irrepressible ‘Kitty Cassis’, Aimee Cooper is facing a whirlpool of work this July, but regrets nothing when she sees comic opportunities multiplying.
In the running to be crowned the UK’s top bingo caller in the Dabbers Next Top Bingo Caller 2022 competition, she will then appear at the second TW Fringe Festival, Aimee admits her work diary is getting crowded. After an early period ‘doggedly’ pursuing a comedy career, then having a family, she told the Times: “When I came up for air after having children, I reinvented myself.”
Since 2018, she has made her way up to semi-pro. Then, during lockdown, when comedy shifted online, she was able to continue performing while homeschooling her children.
“Most comedians hated lockdown, but for me it was a bit of an escape and a chance to continue and progress.”
“’Kitty’ seems to have boundless energy,” says Aimee of her alter ego. “As soon as I put the lashes and the wig on, I cast everything else aside.” At Dabbers Bingo, a spokeswoman seconded the character’s spirit, saying: “Kitty stood out to us as she was hilarious and attention-grabbing. Her act is so unique and you can’t help but just warm to her. We like working with comedians, performers, etc., to bring their energy to a bingo show.”
London-based alternative bingo hall Dabbers started running its recruitment competitions in 2018. Of the event Aimee says: “I’m up against some really strong talent on July 3.” However, stressing that every opportunity counts in this ‘numbers game’, she adds: “Every little gig I’ve done, I’ve learned something.”
As one of the organisers of the TW Fringe (which runs from July 4-17), Aimee is now opening opportunities for others by recruiting performers and acts.
“The festival is only in its second year, but we really do hope we have got Tunbridge Wells on the map.”
Aimee Cooper and Friends perform in the TW Fringe. See www.twfringe.com
On Stage & Screen
Strictly 2020 finalist and EastEnders star Maisie Smith and Strictly 2021 semi-finalist and CBBC Presenter Rhys Stephenson trot the boards of The Assembly Hall tonight [June 22] at 7:30, joined by the show’s professional dancers Neil Jones, Cameron Lombard, Jowita Przystal and Nancy Xu.
Trinity Theatre hosts UK and international headline comedian Ria Lina at The Comedy Club this Saturday [June 25]. In 2021 alone, Ria appeared in Mock the Week, Have I Got News for You and Live at the Apollo. Brighton-based Stephen Grant performs at clubs all over the UK and on the international circuit.
The Oast Theatre (Tonbridge) sees the start of a week’s run of Alan Ayckbourn’s popular classic ‘Bedroom Farce’ [June 25-July 2]. The cast consists of four couples whose relationships are stretched, ruffled and generally abused during one endless Saturday night, ending with a hilariously touching epiphany. Performances at 7:30 pm (Sunday at 3 pm).
Trinity’s Senior Cinema this month features 1953 classic film ‘Genevieve’. Two British couples pit their vintage automobiles against each other in an exciting cross-country race. June 27 at 10:30am.
PUNK & Reggae Night is on this Friday [June 24] at The Forum, with Double Barrel, an Ipswich-based five-piece reggae and ska band playing Trojan and ska sets. Also The Sweeney, a Crowborough-based tribute to 1970s classic punk and ska, covering The Damned, Clash, Undertones, Specials, The Jam, Sex Pistol. Doors at 7:30.
The Rifles comes to The Forum for an intimate acoustic show, as part of London-based indie rock band’s Summer Shows. With support from James Wood. Saturday [June 25] at 7:30pm.
Mock’n’rollers the Counterfeit Stones storm The Assembly Hall on Saturday [June 25] at 7:30pm, giving and getting Satisfaction from the group’s classic repertoire.
The Forum’s Stable summer series continues showcasing up-and-coming Kent and East Sussex bands, with Grace and Danger, Spinner and Splink on Monday night, and Gemini Gemini, Ellie Knight, thascrow and YoungY on Tuesday. Over 16s unless accompanied by an adult. Shows at 7:30pm.
Acclaimed guitarist and composer Richard Durrant is on a bicycle-driven musical pilgrimage of the UK, from Orkney to the South Coast. Stopping in Trinity for a concert on Friday [June 24] at 8pm, he will play pieces inspired by Sussex downland, along with Bach. His new album ‘The Sleep of a King’ is inspired by the landscape of the British Isles.
Fasten your seatbelts for the Soapbox Stars go-kart race at Dunorlan Park this Saturday [June 25] 11am-6pm. Locally handmade racers hurtle down the course, supporting Hospice in the Weald, Nourish Foodbank and Pickering Cancer Drop-In Centre. TV chef Rosemary Shrager hosts, with Tom Swift, of Wicked Productions and Clue Cracker, commentating. Pre-booked tickets only.
Also on Saturday at 1:30-5pm, Friends of the Earth Tunbridge Wells and Cohesion Plus hold their Great Get-Together, inspired by Jo Cox, a plastic-free picnic in Calverley Grounds with music and activities.
Join an intrepid expedition across uncharted territories to discover astonishing and life-like dinosaurs, from Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, Giraffatitan and Microraptor to Segosaurus. On at The Assembly Hall next Tuesday and Wednesday [June 28 and 29] at 4.30pm.
The Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival has been extended, and bardic mirth continues with a free ‘Wordplay Fun Day’ takeover of The Forum this Sunday [June 26] at 2pm. All ages welcome, from Early Years readers and writers to KS2/3 poets, while a variety of open mics, panel discussions and performances will keep grown-ups entertained.
Grove Bowls Club is holding a free open day on Friday [June 24] at the central Tunbridge Wells grounds (entrance in Norfolk Road, off Claremont Road). All welcome, in flat shoes, from 3-8pm, during working hours or after work.
Southborough and District Lions hold their Gala Day this Sunday [June 26] at 1-5pm at Meadows School, featuring classic cars, Punch and Judy, donkey rides, Birds of Prey, dog show, Taekwondo display, stalls and attractions, refreshments, a grand draw and more.