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."
"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."
Deputy Head of Year 9
La Sainte Union Catholic Secondary School
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.
The Comedy School: teaching children about knife crime through humour
How do you reverse the knife crime crisis? Send in the comedians,
says Dominic Maxwell, who talks to the team devising a joke-packed
show for school kids
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.
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
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.