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'It's No Joke' audience
Press Photo: Polly Hancock


"I thought the show was absolutely fantastic.
Very well scripted and very relevant to young people."
Monique Anderson
ISSP Coordinator

"Thank you for all your hard work in relation to the anti-knife project in Camden Borough.
      It has been a very enjoyable and rewarding experience working with The Comedy School. The It's No Joke! Programme was very well received by schools throughput the Borough.
      What made it particularly welcome was the way it tackled such a topical and important issue in such a lively manner. The project made the Year 9 pupils (13/14 year olds) aware of several very important points of law as well as addressing the potential outcomes of carrying a knife. These items were all carefully worked into the play, making the learning seamless.
      This work dovetailed conveniently into the 'Personal Social and Health Education' part of the school curriculum and was an important component of 'Citizenship'."
Inspector Robert Barnes
Hampstead Police Station

"Please could you thank those who performed It's No Joke!
      Our pupils not only enjoyed the experience but really started to consider this important issue. It has led to some excellent discussions within their PHSE lessons.
      Unfortunately, with recent events in the news connected to this topic your play was an invaluable resource to prompt discussion and clarify the legal status of carrying such weapons. In a recent review of the PHSE programme by our pupils all identified this as the most enjoyable and informative part of the course.
      Due to the success and reaction of our pupils to your work we would love to work with you again."
Karen Hayball
Deputy Head of Year 9
La Sainte Union Catholic Secondary School


The Comedy School presents

I T ' S   N O   J O K E !

Our Anti-Knife Crime Programme

It's No Joke! is a fast paced high energy play that uses comedy to address the issues of anti-social behaviour and weapons related crime.

Here is a BBC Look East report on The Comedy School's Anti-knife Crime presentation to schools - 'It's No Joke'

A lively and accessible performance has been developed with the aims of increasing awareness of these issues amongst young people and involving them in finding solutions. The performance can be followed up with a workshop and supported with a poster design element.

Gerri (the sheep), Danni (the groovy one), and Rufus (the one with style), are three mates who spend a lot of time hanging out together. A lively succession of intercutting scenes show the impact on the young people of living in a world dominated by crime and violence. Comedy coppers PC Romeo and PC Juliet punctuate the scenes with routines that provide the legal framework - which isn't funny, and isn't a joke, because it's the law.

Click to read more

Also see this Research Report on the 'Impact of Anti-Knife Crime Theatre on Young People' compiled by the Flavasum Trust and The Comedy School.

Click to read more

Keith Palmer and Charlie McGuire co-wrote the original show. The research period included extensive background reading in books and newspapers and consulting with the police and young people. They then spent a three week devising and rehearsal period with the cast of three.

The play first toured to schools and pupil referral units throughout Camden. In 2005 they formed a partnership with The Metropolitan Police to further develop the play and toured to Haringey, Croydon and Camden again, as part of Operation Blunt.

In November 2005 they were invited by Richard Taylor to perform at The Barbican centre as part of The Damilola Taylor Trust Fifth Anniversary Conference. Further tours have continued in 2006/7 & 2008. References from people who have seen It's No joke! can be provided on request.

The performance and workshops are suitable for mainstream schools as well as for young people at risk of offending or who have been excluded from school. They are designed to fit easily into a standard timetable and can be adapted to play to a large audience or to a small group in more intimate settings.


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Brooke Kinsella talks
at a performance

"A lot of the children told me how much they had learnt from the show ... a professional, realistic and accessible production ... very worthy use of funds ... it will save lives."
Rosemary Kilbride, Head Teacher St. John Vianney Primary School Haringey (2010).

"I would like to express on behalf of the school our appreciation for your production this morning of 'It's No Joke'. This was enjoyed by all the pupils and staff and was seen as a beneficial demonstration of avoiding anti social behaviour in an exciting way for our year 6 pupils. We would be extremely interested in booking this on an annual basis, assuming that it is a funded production and free to schools."
Maureen Gould, Assistant Head Teacher Godwin Junior School, Newham (2010)

"It was a hard hitting message about knife crime, which was presented to the children in an accessible way." Teacher, St Edwards Primary School, Newham.

"Engaged the children very much and was performed in such a way that there was a balance between the serious message and fun ... It was perfect - the message really came through." Teacher, Cleves Primary School, Newham

"To have confidence and to stand up, helped me on making the right choices in the future." Pupil, Grange Primary School, Harrow.

"I am writing to congratulate you and the members of the play that was performed today at our school.
      We are a special school as you know and to keep our boys entertained and still for the length of the play was a feat in itself. The boys thoroughly enjoyed the performance and words like "Wicked" "Cool" and "Dark" were expressed by them.
      They also wanted to know when you are coming back."
Kim Daley
Chalcot School