A Leicester Comedy Festival project has received £9,000 funding from Awards for All Lottery programme to facilitate 12 city primary schools being involved in the 2017 event. The School Development Support Agency is working with the team behind the festival to produce “Leicester’s Puntastic”, a series of after- school creative word play and joke writing sessions which will enable pupils to enhance their language and communication skills, and help them to increase their confidence and self-esteem. The project will culminate with an event at The Y, East Street, Leicester. Leicester Comedy Festival 2017 will take place from 8-26 February and full programme details are available by visiting www.comedy-festival.co.uk
Professional comedians will visit the schools throughout January and February to mentor and train the young people in joke telling. The young people will write their own jokes on subjects they select and will then go on to have “gag battles” with partner schools. 3 final schools will then take part in the finale, telling their jokes to a selected audience of children, school staff and family members. One school will be announced as the winner of the inaugural Leicester Joke Battle!
Leicester Comedy Festival has a long tradition of working with partner organisations to encourage wide participation in the annual event. Previous projects include workshops using improvised comedy and cartooning to develop young people’s confidence and language skills. In 2016 the festival hosted the Loving Laughing project, in partnership with the British Council which won the main “child centered teaching” award at the 2016 UK eTwinning Awards. In 2017, the festival is hosting a Schools Showcase at Regent College, featuring performances developed by young people from schools and colleges across Leicester & Leicestershire.
Juliet Martin, Assistant Director of the SDSA said: “this project is really exciting and we’re thrilled to have received lottery funding to enable over 800 young people to take part in Leicester Comedy Festival. The activities will enable the participants to develop their skills whilst also having loads of fun!”
Festival founder and Director, Geoff Rowe, said “we’re delighted to be working with Juliet, the team at SDSA and all the schools on this project. We know from experience that when young people are having fun they tend to learn more and we’ve been really encouraged by the response we have had from schools to take part.”
Awards for All is managed by the Big Lottery Fund and offers grants of between £300 and £10,000 for grassroots and community activity that aims to improve life for local people and neighbourhoods.