A NEW monthly comedy night starts up in Stevenage tonight (Monday) as a production company seek to plug “a gap in the market”.

Friends Michael Miles and Michael Bell, who both live in the town, formed HT Productions in August 2009 in a bid to set up a successful theatre company.

After two years producing plays and a stint at Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer, the Stevenage-based business, called The HonesThieves, are turning their attention to comedy, following two back-to-back gigs in July.

Ahead of the first Comedy @the Cafe night at Cinnabar Cafe in Stevenage’s High Street, Michale Miles told The Comet: “The main things we do is as a theatre company but we know a lot of people who are performers so put on two shows in July.

“We had 70 people one night and 60 the other and had a great response. Now we’ve come back from Edinburgh and after having a bit of a rest we want to carry this on every month.

“Last time we had people from Arlesey, Potters Bar, Watford, Stevenage and Hitchin and for the first show it will be a selection of acts from the July nights, but we want to get new people in.

“We’re looking for local people who want to make people chuckle. Auditions are very informal, it’s just a case of seeing a bit of material.

“We’re not promising comedy gold or the very best comedians but people have come out and enjoyed it.”

Eight acts will take to the stage on the first Monday show – a day chosen because of its popularity in July – with performances of stand-up, sketches and singing varying between five minutes and 15 minutes.

Comet country already has two established monthly comedy events with Mostly Comedy in Hitchin and Lastminutecomedy Club’s back-to-back gigs in Hitchin and Letchworth GC, but until now has lacked an equivalent in Stevenage.

“We’ve seen a bit of a gap in the market,” said the 24-year-old, who added that HT Productions are also planning to set up theatre schools in Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City.

“We’ve agreed a three month probation period with Cinnabar and want to make it monthly. We’re going to give it a couple of months in Stevenage and if it goes well maybe start a night in Hitchin too.”

The first Comedy @the Cafe starts at 7.45pm with tickets available on the door at �5. For more information or if you are interested in performing in a future show contact Michael Miles by emailing honesthieves@gmail.com or calling 07825 551600.