‘Laughing Matters’ provides free comedy based workshops aimed at improving confidence, self-esteem and self-expression in a supportive and fun environment.
Working in partnership with Nottingham and Leicester’s very own Just The Tonic comedy club a successful Pilot course has already taken place with people recovering from addiction. We plan to run these workshops regularly and also offer courses to other social groups such as young people leaving care, people affected by mental health issues and many more, not only in the East Midlands but across the country.
‘Laughing Matters’ originally started life as a project at the University of Nottingham in 2012 to come up with a new social enterprise. We knew that comedy can bring laughter and joy to many but more than this we realised that the skills and techniques used by stand up comedians could be used to tackle many of the problems faced by certain social groups such as those recovering from addiction. We decided to develop comedy based workshops with a focus on creative writing, stage presence and performance with the aim of helping to increase confidence and self-esteem, develop creativity and effective communication skills.
Fast forward to May 2013 and the first ‘Laughing Matters’ Pilot featuring participants with past experiences of substance misuse took place.
What struck a chord the most was the fact that so many people were willing to give the course a go. Ask most people if they could write and perform their own comedy material in front of an audience in as little as four weeks and they would run a mile. However, we found that in the right safe and supportive environment people are willing to open up, speak up and have fun. Participants were able to gain a real sense of achievement from their work and develop skills that can benefit them in many areas of their life. Importantly the courses can offer a unique shared experience which can bring out the funny people often didn't even know they had !
In these times of reduced funding for charities and essential services we believe that there is a need and a role for such a unique and exciting enterprise. In a nutshell we want to extend the benefits of comedy and performing to those that really need it.