South West Wales

Police remove Celia Pacquola heckler from Swansea Grand

Celia Pacquola Image copyright Talkback Thames
Image caption Celia Pacquola's credits include The Rob Brydon Show

A heckler at Swansea's Grand Theatre was removed by police after he refused to stop cat-calling at a comedian during the monthly comedy club.

Manager Paul Hopkins said staff had to call police when the man and his friend would not leave.

The target of the heckling, Australian comedian Celia Pacquola, later tweeted it had been a "very strange dream".

Mr Hopkins said the men believed they were doing nothing wrong but they had upset the audience.

South Wales Police were called on Wednesday night to the theatre.

Mr Hopkins said he could not recall having to call the police to deal with a disruptive audience member in the last 20 years.

He said: "We don't have a heckler policy per se, but the idea is that you are coming to a professional venue and occasionally - and I do stress very occasionally - some people seem to have never fully grown up and just want to be the centre of attention.

"They were at the front and they had been asked by the comedian in a comedic way to keep quiet. But they wouldn't and other members of the audience were chanting "out, out, out" at them.

"We felt it was necessary to take action to allow the event to continue."

Pacquola won praise from the audience for how she handled the disruption.

Dale Habberfield, a Castle Bingo manager, tweeted: "Wanted to give u a cwtch {Welsh for a hug} after the amazing way you dealt with the heckler in Swansea tonight. Great show!"

Pacquola, a regular at festivals such as Edinburgh who has also been on the BBC's Never Mind The Buzzcocks and The Rob Brydon Show, tweeted back: "So that really happened then? Thought it was a very strange dream. Thanks! What a night".

Mr Habberfield said the audience seemed shocked when they realised the police had been called.

'Behaviour bond'

"He just kept interfering and talking to his friend as well," said Mr Habberfield. "When Celia asked him what was wrong he just came up with a number of comments.

"At first it seemed quite sweet but as it continued there were people shouting that they had come to see her. There was only so much the audience could take, but she dealt with it extremely well."

Some comedy clubs have anti-heckling policies. The Glee Club, which has a number of UK venues, including one in Cardiff, asks large groups to sign up to a "behaviour bond".

It warns them that "persistent talking during the show, or constant, abusive or just tedious heckling" could lead to them being expelled.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites