Not many people will have heard of David Lavender but he has given some of the biggest names in comedy and theatre a break.

Everyone from Jenny Eclair and Graham Norton to Harry Hill and The League of Gentlemen have appeared at Komedia.

Artistic director David is one of the three founders of the theatre, cabaret bar and cafe in Gardner Street, Brighton.

He has been booking the acts since the venue opened in Manchester Street in 1994.

He said: "Graham Norton was a very new act when we presented him at the Komedia and the same goes for The League of Gentlemen.

"We have played a part in promoting a lot of extremely talented actors and comedians."

As well as booking, David, 63, spends much of his time searching out new plays to bring to Brighton.

One of his favourite hunting grounds is the Edinburgh Festival.

He said: "My job entails going to see a lot of stuff and concentrating on new work.

"It's varied and its enjoyable and theatre is one of my lifelong obsessions."

Komedia also presents its own shows which David often has a hand in producing and directing, something which he enjoys immensely.

He said: "I went to university quite late and stumbled into directing and then was part of a small touring company.

"In 1979 I formed Umbrella Theatre with Colin Granger, who is also a cofounder of Komedia. We toured across the UK with new work from overseas.

"I think you need to have a passion for theatre because it isn't somewhere to make a lot of money.

"It's very difficult to make a living but there are always opportunities for people with talent and commitment."

Thursday April 17 2003