Enjoy a one or two day course which takes up to 20 students through the process of writing and performing their own comedy routine and running their own comedy club.
In the workshop they will undertake creative writing and performance exercises and look at the importance of appearance, positive mental attitude and professionalism.
The workshop culminates in an evening performance (on site) in front of a paying audience, which is promoted, produced and performed by the workshop students. All the students contribute to the show with a stand-up routine, character sketch or double act.
Every aspect of what it is like to be a professional comedian is discussed, studied and assessed, and to understand the "business" as well as the "show" the course covers the reality of working within the comedy performance industry.
Work related learning elements also include looking at sales techniques, promoting and selling tickets for the evening show to their friends and family, operating the sound and lighting, setting up the 'comedy club' environment and handling the box office.
WHO IS THIS ACTIVITY FOR?
The workshop is aimed at students with an interest in performance and creative writing and incorporates business enterprise skills, event promotion and show production.
Participation in the workshop is also relevant as a confidence and team-building excercise amongst students.
AGE GROUP 14 - 19 / KS4 & KS5
Creative Writing / English
Business Studies / Enterprise
CRITERIA FOR ACCESSING THE PROGRAMME
The workshop is open to any student. No previous performance or creative writing experience or course work is necessary.
"The workshop had just the right mix of industry information, tips, hints, structured help and anarchy.
The students loved working with a professional comedian and because of his advice and positive approach they felt they were able to push the boundaries a little more and therefore got great artistic reward from the work they produced.
Paul's workshop had enthusiasm, wit and energy - he inspired the young people to be brave, to dare and to be funny. He never asked of them anything he would not have done himself and he led by example.
Paul can tailor his workshop to your needs and I can heartily recommend him. This workshop was totally original and inspiring for the students - they loved its freedom, its anarchy and it's inclusiveness and I loved allowing them the freedom to express themselves in an alternative way. And although they were scared witless they all performed and achieved success.
It was a great day - one that neither the students nor I will forget in a hurry."
Zoe Watkins, Head of Drama, Sir Frederick Osborn School, Herts.
HOW IS THE COURSE PAID FOR?
There are a number of options to consider. Schools can use their internal budgets and there are grants and funding opportunities. Workshops can also be partly self-funding - please get in touch for more information.
WORK RELATED LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
The Comedy Workshop Company was initiated primarily as a way to introduce work experience and work related learning provision to students who might not respond to more traditional 'drama' or 'motivational speaker' type approaches.
We aim to cover the following elements:
1 - To recognise, develop and apply their skills for enterprise and employability: Each student is required to be a unique member of a team with both responsibility for their own performance and shared responsibility for the production of the evening show when every student will be working, from door staff to sound & lighting to seating planners.
2 - To use their experience of work, including work experience and part-time jobs, to extend their understanding of work: The tasks involved in this workshop provide the experience that a number of different skills bring. The confidence and experience taken away from this will be invaluable for ANY creative projects they do in the future, inside or outside the classroom.
3 - To learn about the way business enterprises operate, working roles and conditions, and rights and responsibilities in the workplace: The reality of comedy promoting involves an understanding of basic contracts and self-employment. All aspects of the business of comedy are covered in this workshop, including the importance of unions such as Equity, the operations of agents within the business and basic rules on tax. The "Gig" is designed to be a profitable exercise and the profit margins depend on the student's abilities to promote the show.
4 - To develop awareness of the extent and diversity of local and national employment opportunities: Students spend a section of the workshop discussing the best way to run a comedy club and the effects that competition has on a venue. What would happen if there was another show going on the same night? How far does a comic have to travel to earn a living? Is there a way to stay local or is the necessity of comedy coupled with a need to travel? A hypothetical exercise in booking the club with actual comics is demonstrated.
5 - To relate their own abilities, attributes and achievements to career intentions and make informed choices based on an understanding of the alternatives: The experience of the workshop is to show what can be achieved through individual responsibility and teamwork. The specific tasks given to each student should allow them to have a solution solving scenario prepared for a career interview.
6 - To undertake tasks and activities set in work contexts: Throughout the workshop students will have to incorporate a number of different skills and will have to demonstrate the ability to be pro-active as well as reactive. Their people skills and their ability to organise their time effectively will be tested.
7 - To learn from contact with personnel from different employment sections: The workshop is based on being a self-employed comic or comedy promoter and operating as a sole-trader or small business. It aims to show how working for yourself and setting up a business on your own can be a liberating and enterprising career option.
8 - To have experience (direct or indirect) of working practices and environments: There are several business models for running comedy shows, from the smallest room above a pub to countrywide chains of purpose-built comedy clubs. All are discussed with good and bad examples. As the students are required to be present at the evening show and fulfil specific roles, they actually experience real work and the reality of running a comedy show.
9 - To engage with ideas, challenges and applications from the business world: The spirit of enterprise prevails throughout this workshop and all students are part of a problem-solving enterprise activity over the day. They see a real product in the culmination of the comedy show and can take the experience of the activity and use it in their own lives.
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