Workshops

Funny Things has a great Workshop and Talks programme – here’s some details for things you can get involved in if you want to have a go at being funny yourself or just learn more about comedy…

Friday 3 November

Talks
BEYOND A JOKE DISCUSSION SERIES
Chancellors Hall, University of Wolverhampton
A series of talks and events exploring contemporary issues in stand-up comedy providing an opportunity to go beyond the laughter with contributions from comedians, industry professionals and academics.
Tickets FREE, donations on the door are welcomed.

11.30am – 1pm BEYOND A JOKE: MAKE ME LAUGH

with Brett Mills, University of East Anglia

The ‘Make Me Laugh’ project followed members of British TV’s comedy industry for 3 years, to find out how they do their jobs, what gets in the way, and how programmes get made. This session will give you insights into the machinations of the industry, and how those who work in it survive. What do they have to go through in order to make you laugh?  

2.30pm – 4pm BEYOND A JOKE: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HUMOUR AND ITS LINK TO WELL-BEING
with Tracey Platt, University of Wolverhampton

Ask a layperson if they have a ‘good sense of humour’, and they will often report in the affirmative, with more than 90% claiming theirs is ‘above average’. Yet, defining what a good sense of humour is, or more basically, what humour is, is an ongoing task for humour researchers. This talk will explore some of the roots of humour as an academic topic and how psychologists have defined the construct. However, I will argue that understanding the psychology of humour is not simply a historic artefact but that it is highly relevant in the 21st century and our technological world by showing some of the cutting edge work on how humour is being added to avatars. Knowledge found in studies of those who struggle to comprehend humour in social interactions to the point of fearing it, will also be highlighted. Finally, showing the positive impact humour has on our overall well-being. 

Saturday 4 November

Workshop
PAPER PUPPETS WORKSHOP – Age 5-11
9am-10am, Windsor Toys, Penn
In the intimate setting of a toy shop, work with artist Ruth Swallow to create paper puppets and a theatre for them to perform some hilariously bad jokes. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.
Tickets £4.50 from Windsor Toys Tel: 07856 692277

Talks
BEYOND A JOKE DISCUSSION SERIES
Chancellors Hall, University of Wolverhampton
A series of talks and events exploring contemporary issues in stand-up comedy. Themes we’ll be exploring include Black Country Humour and Religion in Comedy.
Tickets FREE, donations on the door are welcomed.

11am – 12.30pm BLACK COUNTRY HUMOUR with Gwendolen Powell, Josiane Boutonnet, Dr Brian Dakin, Brendan Hawthorne, David Tristram & Kate Fox

The Funny Things Comedy Festival has been set up to celebrate the great tradition of comedy & humour across the Black Country.  This inaugural festival contains many local performers and comedians showcasing their work, alongside guests from across the UK.  But are there things that make the Black Country’s sense of humour distinct and different from humour elsewhere across the UK?  This panel discussion will explore this using examples such as the character Dooren and the Boonyeds. 

Chair of the panel is regular BBC contributor Kate Fox who has made a living as a stand-up poet for ten years and has just completed a research study into class, gender, Northern-ness and solo stand-up performance.

2pm – 3.30pm BEYOND A JOKE: RELIGION, FAITH & COMEDY with Jo Enright, Bec Hill, Dr Sophie Quirk, David Wright & Yusuf Shafi

What are the roles of comedy in shaping discussions about religion?  What are the relationships between comedy, religion and free speech?  How far is too far for religious comedy?  These questions are more will be hotly debated by a panel of comedians, public figures and academics.  

Workshop
AN INTRODUCTION TO CARTOON DRAWING FOR KIDS (AND THEIR GROWN-UPS) WITH LAURA HOWELL – Age 8+ ***SOLD OUT***
1.30pm-3pm, Newhampton Arts Centre (Room 4)
If you like drawing – or even if you think you can’t draw at all – this family-friendly cartooning class with Beano and Regular Show artist Laura Howell is for you. Starting with simple doodles, you’ll uncover your inner artist and be amazed at what you can create. Suitable for ages 8 and over, including the grown-ups! Adults are welcome to accompany children and take part in the workshop but will need to purchase a ticket, as workshop space is limited. Book early to avoid disappointment.
Tickets £4 from Newhampton Arts Centre – ***SOLD OUT***

AN INTRODUCTION TO CARTOON DRAWING FOR ADULTS

Saturday 4th November 3.30pm – 5.00pm at Newhampton Arts Centre (Room 4)

This 90-minute cartooning session is aimed at budding artists who want to improve their drawing skills, and perhaps learn some new ones. You’ll explore character design, putting together a comic page and more, with the chance to ask Laura Howell (Beano and Regular Show) questions about working as a professional cartoonist.

Age guidance 16+

Tickets £5 from Newhampton Arts Centre

Sunday 5 November

Workshop
GETTING STARTED IN COMEDY WORKSHOP
1pm-2.30pm, Light House Media Centre
If you’re trying to develop your career in comedy, come and have lunch with comedy promoters, programmers and performers to get some top tips on how to get started.
The panel will include: Professional comedians – Don Biswas (performing at the BBC Asian Network showcase 7pm on Sun 5th Nov) and Janice Connelly (Guest Director of the Funny Things Festival, aka Barbara Nice), Leicester Comedy Festival Director – Geoff Rowe, Director of corporate comedy promoters Cohesion Ltd – Julie Homfray.
Food available from the Light House Café, not included in ticket price.
Age guidance 16+.
Tickets £5 in adv or pay what you want on the door.

 

BEFORE THE FESTIVAL…

FUNNY PEOPLE TRAINING PROGRAMME

A FREE workshop programme for adults (16+) living in the Black Country, who are not currently in employment or training, who want to find their funny and develop new skills.

Workshop programme includes:

  • Stand-up comedy workshops with Janice Connolly (aka Barbara Nice)
  • Cartoon drawing workshops with Laura Howell and Hunt Emmerson. (Beano artists)
  • Digital Content Producer training with Macoy Media (film and digital media artists)
  • Brand You – Personal Development training and mentoring with Dean Melbourne. (artist and consultant)
  • Front of house and stewarding training, and volunteering opportunities during the Funny Things Festival.

You can sign up for all of the programme strands, or just choose the elements that interest you the most.

Funny People workshop programme info handout

Email funnythingswolves@gmail.com call Dean on 07828 740955 or Jenny on 07967 187822

Women’s Comedy Course with Janice Connolly

Saturday 21st October 10.30am – 3.30pm

Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Funny Things and Women of Wolverhampton present a comedy course for women, with Janice Connelly (aka comedy circuit headliner Barbara Nice)

Can you make people laugh? Ever fancied having a go at stand-up comedy?

The comedy course provides a great opportunity for women to develop stand-up skills and have a laugh together. During the Saturday workshop on 21st October, participants will work with Janice Connolly to develop their skills and confidence in stand-up comedy and produce their own 3-5 minute set. There will also be an opportunity to take part in a showcase performance for your family and friends at Newhampton Arts Centre on Monday 30th October, hosted by Barbara Nice, with an opportunity for a one-to-one rehearsal slot during that day with Janice, to get you ready for the performance that evening.

‘A fantastic opportunity, met some wonderful people, I loved the experience.’ – Lindsay, previous comedy course participant.

Age guidance 16+

Tickets £10 per person. Contact funnythingswolves@gmail.com or call 07967 187822 to reserve your place.

Lunch is not included in the price, but the gallery cafe will be open during the workshop day, serving food and hot and cold drinks.