Ahead of the 2021 Galway Comedy Festival, we caught up with comedian, actor and performer Terry Alderton to discuss his love affair with comedy, his time in lockdown and the magic of playing Galway.

Running from the 19th - 25th of October, the 2021 Galway Comedy Festival is set to be one to remember, with Covid restrictions due to be lifted slap bang in the middle of the festival on Friday 22nd October.

Assisting in the celebrations, and performing across the city, is comedian and performer Terry Alderton, a man who could wax lyrical about the Wild Atlantic Way for as long as you'd let him.

"I don't know what it is about Galway... when I say magical it sounds a bit cheesy," he smiles. "It's just very bohemian, isn't it? I don't know, there's just something about the place."

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With COVID-19 restrictions lifting across the UK and Ireland, the energetic performer is preparing to unleash a nationwide tour, but insists that the Galway Festival stands out on his calendar as a week that is as much for the comics as it is the audience.

"With a lot of festivals, there's a lot of press and people getting reviewed - and that brings a pressure. This is not like that; this is a big, fun party where we can all get together."

Like many comedians, Alderton claims to have a love/hate relationship with stand-up, but when the option to perform was taken away from him, the call to the stage was deafening.

"I have a funny love affair with comedy; I'm like in a marriage with comedy, it's like sometimes we should break up, really, and then we get back together. But being in the COVID situation, where it dictated to me that 'you're not going to be doing any comedy', I thought, right, that's it, I'm going to do it for as long as I can."

As someone who has openly dealt with mental illness, the former Southend goalkeeper says that, without a creative outlet, he had to keep himself physically busy in order to keep his head clear.

Having just moved into a new home with his family, he credits months of building log sheds, digging vegetable patches, hanging frames and cleaning the car with burning up some of his frenetic energy.

Despite not wanting to speak about mental health too much ("I've been banging on about it for years"), the comedian describes his act as a kind of manifestation of his inner psyche, and says it was during a therapy session that he discovered just how interlinked his mental state and his material truly were.

According to his therapist, one of Alderton's most famous bits - an act that sees the comedian jump between three distinct voices - is not only a fast-paced and incredibly entertaining piece of comedy, but a demonstration of dysfunctional social interactions.

Proposed by Stephen Karpman in the 1960s, the 'Drama Triangle' illustrates a power game that involves three roles, each representing a common response to conflict - something that Alderton says he was experiencing while coping with depression.

"When you're depressed, you have the protagonist, you have the adult and you have the child - and you're all trying to rescue each other so you've got a Drama Triangle. Without even realising it, at the depths of my darkness - the black dog, if you like - I created a Drama Triangle and took it out on stage."

"It's like being an observational comedian but about your psyche," he adds, explaining that audience members often connect with his material without really knowing why. "I think I'm a physical mentalness, if that makes any sense. A manifestation."

Bringing his specific brand of psychological comedy to Galway from Wednesday 20 - Friday 22 October, tickets for the Galway Comedy Festival are on sale now and can be found here.