Friday, 5 February 2010

It's a Laugh!

The first really sunny day of the year and with the change in weather comes positive thoughts for the future. The marks for the first semester have gone to the University board which means that we can look forward to shaping work for next academic year and beyond.

I went up to Camden this afternoon to have a long and very productive meeting with Keith at The Comedy School about ways our partnership can develop in September. His team are going to use their experience to deliver our Level 3 Prison Theatre module. We put it through validation two years ago and it's exciting to see it reappear on the horizon. I'm hoping it'll open up some understanding of how drama can be used as an empowering educative tool.

Keith's also excited by the prospect, but we have to wait on the result of the election to see how possible it'll be to base at least some of the work inside a prison. Ideally we'd like to at least build in a series of visits to Feltham or Ashford - but we both realise that both of the political parties will want to look tough on crime over the next few months and arts rehabilitation is occasionally a casualty of the inevitable posture.

We also talked a bit about the development of stand up at St Mary's. We're keen to repeat the Freshen Up!!! comedy event which we pioneered last September. Eighty students came to the show from which nine went on to claim bursaries to support their attendance at the School's funny festival. This week two of the nine, Jennie and Emma, signed up for a ten week course. It's a steady rather than spectacular return, but I'm keen to push on. Stand up seems an excellent discipline for students to learn. It's challenging, political and brave; but also cheap to create. The ultimate job for a freelance practitioner.

I'm thinking of putting up a module which would end in an assessed night at the Student's Union. It might not get through in time for September, but I'd love in a couple of years to see St. Mary's overrun by imaginative, vibrant and talented comedians, responding with wit and immediacy to events both on campus and beyond.

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