A comedy night is to be staged against a backdrop of 2,000-year-old mosaics, coffins and other relics on display at St Albans’ Verulamium Museum.

Archaeologist-turned-comedian Paul Duncan McGarrity will host the one-off event. It is being held to coincide with the national Museums at Night festival that is intended to ‘shine a light on Britain’s sparkling culture and heritage’.

Paul’s appearance is one of a series of new events that the St Albans’ Museums team has arranged to explore new ways of displaying its collections.

Paul, who has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival and BBC Four’s The Big Dig, will perform his show, Ask an Archaeologist, on Friday, May 19, from 8pm.

He will invite the audience to fire questions at him so he can give an amusing twist to topics ranging from the Vikings to the discovery of Richard III.

Paul often strays away from ancient history to talk about many other issues such as time travel and knitting patterns.

The aim of the events is to trial new ideas about how better to engage with the public in the run up to the opening of the new £7.7 million Museum and Art Gallery, in which the Town Hall is being converted into the museum in a project led by St Albans City and District Council.  Building work is due to be completed next year.

Councillor Annie Brewster, portfolio holder for sport, leisure and heritage, says: “Our museums team are cleverly devising new ways of attracting audiences to our fantastic collections.

“Using Verulamium Museum as a stage for Paul, who uses Britain’s ancient history as material for his comedy routine, is an inspiring idea. We anticipate people who have never been to the museum before will be tempted to come along.”

Verulamium Museum, 39 St Michael's St, St Albans AL3 4SW. Tickets for either event are available from Verulamium Museum or by phoning 01727 751810.