Showcasing Peer Support with Humour

Saturday 28th October 2023 was an amazing day for One Place East and the seven people who completed our first LaughAble Stand-Up Comedy Course.  

In front of a packed audience of 29 people and whilst being filmed; the 7 trainee comedians and 1 events assistant got to showcase their new skills and confidence.  This was a challenge worthy of a TV reality show. Yet with support and encouragement from their peers, everyone demonstrated what a talented group they are.  

One audience member was blown away by their performances and the quality of the event. “Fantastic afternoon! Thoroughly enjoyed every act. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the workshops and today’s event!!!” 

The free Stand-up Comedy Course was hosted by the multi-award-winning Mark Nicholas (as seen at The Comedy Store, The Glee Club & Backyard Comedy Club), featuring 6-weeks of interactive, inclusive, immersive and downright entertaining workshops followed by the showcase event.  The course is part of OPE’s Talent Network programme, a new service to help people maximise their talents, overcoming barriers to employment, education and training.  

As well as the trainee comedians, the programme provided other Talent Network Members with practical experience in events management. Everyone joining the course had different motivations including:   

  • My belief is that humour in communication is a great asset. The course might help me cope better in all aspects of life.
  • I was a theatre actor in my younger years. This course might open new doors that I never Imagined!
  • To learn comedy and meet new people.
  • A deeper understanding of the use of mental health experience in comedy material.
  • Build confidence and fulfilling a dream I never tried to complete due to bi-polar.
  • I hope to gain some self-confidence. 

The showcase demonstrated that whatever the motivation for participating, everyone had talent as a performer or in events management. The group bonded so amazingly well. The strength of peer support was evident for everyone to see throughout the showcase. The Talent Network LaughAble Class of 2023, we salute you!  

The trainee comedians shared their thoughts and experiences after their performance. The quotes demonstrating the profound positive impact the course has had:  

“I’ve been able to talk for more than 6 minutes and to engage with the audience and keep my confidence up. It has been a tremendous learning experience for me.”

“I joined to improve myself confidence and self-esteem. I have learnt a lot about telling jokes and stories and meeting different comedians who have coached us.

“It’s been amazing. I have taken so much from it, this came along at a really good time in my life. From day one Mark is such an incredible leader and really instils confidence and has this nurturing spirit of bringing the best out of you. 

“I am very privileged to have been here and to be a part of Laugh-Able”

Funded by industry body CABWI for three years, The Talent Network is a service open to Disabled People aged 18 – 64 living in Redbridge and across Northeast London. OPE use the word Disabled as a term to include Deaf, Disabled, Neurodivergent, and/or Visually Impaired people, people with long-term health conditions, and/or with mental health conditions. 

Photo shows the LaughAble Showcase contestants, holding up their certificates, in front of the audience

The LaughAble Showcase contestants, holding up their certificates, in front of the audience.

The Talent Network supports people in work too! The goal is to help people sustain employment or maximise their potential and progression opportunities. November 20th, 2023 at 6.30pm sees the launch of Connected Talent. This is a new online peer support group for people in work, freelance, self-employed or business owners needing support and social contact outside of the workplace.  Connected Talent aims to be an inclusive, fun, social and support group. Join us and help shape the group from the start.  

The showcase film will be launched later in 2023 and there will be another Talent Network LaughAble Comedy Course in summer 2024. Watch out for details in the OPE newsletter and social media.  


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