IT was a lot more fun than a maths or French class, as 13 and 14-year-old pupils in Lurgan, Co Armagh took part in comedy workshops courtesy of the Lyric Theatre Belfast.
A total of 40 pupils got the chance to learn the skills comedians and actors employ on stage to get the most laughs from an audience. The project was funded by Arts & Business NI to complement Clear Pharmacy’s sponsorship of last year's hit comedy The Painkiller starring Rob Brydon and Kenneth Branagh at the Lyric.
The comedy workshop at Lurgan Junior High School this week included pupils from Lismore Comprehensive in Craigavon.
Paul Mc Eneaney, who led the workshop for the Lyric said: “We wanted to give the students an insight into a rehearsal practice and the techniques that actors use. Everything was slanted towards the comedy element. So we worked on comedy and timing slapstick, various different skills that comedians use. We did that rather than try and teach people how to be funny. It was really an induction into the world of acting of which comedy is a part.”
Siobhan McKerr (14) and Ellie McKenna (13) from Lismore Comprehensive said they enjoyed the workshop.
“I thought he taught you how to present things," said Ellie. "He was funny when he caught people out.” Her friend Siobhan said: “I learnt about communication and acting. It was nice to meet new people too.”
Peter Beck (14) who is head-boy of Lurgan Junior High School took part in the workshop along with deputy head-boy Tom Bailey (14). “I think it was great, it was really interesting and I learnt a lot from it,” said Peter.
“I thought it was really interesting because of the different things we did and how to help different things on stage,” said Tom. “He showed us how to concentrate on stage.”
Philip Crawford, Lyric Creative Learning Co-ordinator, said the workshops were part of a successful series sponsored by Clear Pharmacy.
“Our first four workshops were in the Lyric in Belfast and we wanted to have the next round outside the city,” said Philip. “The theme of comedy fitted the bill perfectly after Clear Pharmacy’s sponsorship of The Painkiller. Arts & Business provided funding for the events in recognition of our two organisations working so productively together.”
Jayne Laughlin, Superintendent Pharmacist, Clear Pharmacy said, “The project gave Clear Pharmacy the opportunity to reinforce our objective of increasing access to the arts and strengthened our support and commitment to the communities we serve. Having received very positive feedback from the workshops held in Belfast in October 2011 we were very pleased the pupils from Lurgan Junior High School and Lismore Comprehensive willingly participated and enjoyed the workshops, taking away a few tricks of the trade. It certainly was a fun day out for all!”