New Children’s Workshops Teach the Art of LaughterPublished:
Two stand-up comedians are pledging to enrich young lives with the gift of laughter through the launch of their new workshops for children and young people.
Comedy Workshops for Children and Teens
Anne Docherty, from Kenilworth and Mark Hinds from Warwick, are the creative minds behind Comedy at Work, an innovative business that has comedy – and mental wellbeing - at its heart.
They aim to educate and entertain young audiences by adapting their brand of humour in a series of comedy workshops geared to everyone from primary-aged children through to school leavers and graduates, across the country.
The sessions, which are currently all being delivered remotely since lockdown, are designed specifically to develop skills such as creativity, public speaking, listening and confidence building among young people.
There are even workshops that combine magic with comedy, by working with a professional magician who will teach tricks while the comedian helps each child develop their own story around it.
Children’s and Teens’ Comedy Workshops
Ages 7-11 & 12-16
There are three workshops covering ‘Everybody is Funny,’ Using Comedy to Overcome Fear’ and ‘Making New Friends.’
(Running time: Approx. 90 minutes)
"Would you like your child to feel more confident? Would you like to help your child feel less scared or nervous when going back to school, speaking in class or standing up in the school assembly? Would you like your child to find making friends much easier?
Laughter feels good. It helps reduce tension, it helps us feel more relaxed. Laughter also helps people connect – we are naturally attracted to people that make us laugh and are always laughing themselves.
We can teach your child how to use humour to connect with others. We use techniques to help them realise just how creative and funny they are. We also use the techniques that comedians use to ‘get them relaxed enough to perform’ to help them manage their nerves and fears." - Mark Hinds
Find all the details and book your place here.
Comedy and Magic Workshops
Ages 7-11 & 12-16
A series of three 90-minute workshops combining comedy and magic techniques
“Being able to perform magic creates confidence in a child. It helps them engage with another person or a group of people. It helps their personal communication skills and their confidence around other children and with adults.
Knowing you have something up your sleeve (excuse the pun!), for that talent show at school or when making new friends helps a child to feel more confident and that they have something special about them.” - Mark Hinds
Find all the details and book your place here.
School Leavers and Graduates’ Workshops
This 90-minute workshop shares techniques on:
- How to present your unique self in a way that stands out
- How to present your mistakes and failures in a positive way
- How to overcome nerves to show your best self
- How to overcome and even thrive with rejection.
“As a school leaver or graduate heading out into the world, now more than ever, you will need to stand out. Everyone is unique, you have a unique set of experiences, skills, failures and achievements. So how do you present your uniqueness to the world in a way that makes you stand out?
We can share with you the techniques that stand-up comedians use to grab attention and keep attention. We can show then how to present their experiences, even the mistakes and disappointments, in a way that will make sure their application gets noticed.
As a comedian, being funny is only part of the job. You can’t make your audience laugh if they aren’t listening to you. This is exactly the same when applying for a job.” - Mark Hinds
Ages 7 plus – Up to 10 people
90-minute parties, currently via Zoom.
Guests learn up to three simple magic tricks with West End magician Wayne Trice, as well as how to perform them with a funny story using their own creativity, using various games from the world of improvised comedy.
“As a finale, every guest who wishes to, can perform the trick of their choice to whole party. This is a great way to end this unique party and we invite the parents/guardians to come and watch their child shine and have fun.” - Mark Hinds
Find all the details here.
Comedy at Work - The Background
The start of their business journey was far from a laughing matter for the Mark and Anne who have both overcome personal setbacks to embark on this new chapter in their lives. They met at a six-week comedy course after both deciding to take a new direction in their lives.
The former stockbroker turned London cabbie, Mark, moved from the capital a few months ago to establish the new business with Anne, a mum of three.
Anne left her corporate career last summer in order to become a comedian, it has proved to be the best decision of her life. She said: “Through comedy I have rediscovered my creative side and my confidence and self-esteem has improved – definitely as a result of making others laugh – it is a great feeling.”
It’s this inspiration that drives her ambition for the core Comedy at Work ethos which, she hopes, will help nurture a healthy mindset in children and young people, especially those who suffer with shyness.
She said: “I’ve had so much benefit as an adult from comedy in day to day life. It’s helped me in terms of reducing my own stress levels by learning to find the humour in situations I would normally have found stressful. And I want to share that with children.
I have three little girls of my own and I use quite a lot of the workshop techniques with them on a daily basis. It’s just lovely when you see them start to come out of their shell. Even the really shy kids who would hardly speak at the beginning of the workshop are then up on the mic after an hour or two.
It’s also to show them that laughter helps to bond with other people. It’s a lovely feeling to be able to make someone laugh. It’s also a shared experience.”
Anne said: “But it’s also about learning to be silly. They’re allowed to be silly. They’re allowed to make the jokes they’re not allowed to make in class. They’re allowed to make each other laugh and it’s lovely to see that, particularly in this day and age where life can be so serious and the kids are under so much pressure to learn and get results. It is joyful to see these transformations happening in a really short space of time.
By the end of the workshop they will have created something funny enough to present at the microphone and see how wonderful it feels to make an audience laugh – and discover that it’s not actually that scary.”
Anne said: “I think it’s incredible that I’m able to bring something to kids today that was just not available to me as a child. There’s such a gap in the market and as human beings we absolutely love to laugh and yet there is so little focus on that in kids’ education and even in their extra-curricular groups.
I know it’s a cliché, but laughter is such good medicine. Making life a bit more fun and light-hearted is no bad thing.”
For more information or to book any of the sessions, visit: www.comedyatwork.com/kids
Before lockdown The Comedy at Work team was also hosting a series of stand-up nights at village halls throughout the region in aid of local charities, something they hope to resume next year.
Other services available include corporate communication and wedding speech coaching.
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