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The Comedy School Youth

work with young people

It's No Joke!

It's No Joke! is a performance and workshop project which has been developed to address the issues of anti-social behaviour and weapons related crime among young people.

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.

"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."

Karen Hayball Deputy Head of Year 9,

La Sainte Union Catholic Secondary School.

Click for more information on It's No Joke


Gang Busters is an interactive performance module for young people dealing with issues surrounding gangs and gun crime. Presented by two performers and split into three comic sketches linked by brief factual presentations plus a group discussion the show uses improvisation around a pre-scripted plot to highlight why young people might be drawn to gangs and guns and the consequences.

The Set-Up

introduces the technique of improvisation to the audience and gives them practice in calling out suggestions that can act as a springboard for improvisation. It also communicates the backstory that a local boy, V, has been killed, the weapon is missing and nobody is talking.

Scene One

involves a young male volunteer from the audience playing the Protagonist, but who is safely limited to single-word lines of dialogue, playing opposite Performer One, a Gang Leader who wants the boy to hide a “package” in exchange for gang membership.

Link One

is a set of statistics about victims of gang violence.

Scene Two

involves the audience suggesting a celebrity informant and an unusual object (used as a weapon) to Performer One, now playing a Police Officer searching the Protagonist’s home. Performer Two (playing the Protagonist’s innocent brother) has to guess these details through improvisation.

Link Two

expresses facts about the effect on perpetrators’ and victims’ families of gun and gang crime.

Scene Three

involves a female volunteer, sitting on stage and watching the two Performers playing her and her mother, as her preparations for a date with the Protagonist are interrupted by the news his brother has been arrested.

Link Three

contains the information about penalties for possession of offensive weapons.

The Conclusion

Is a dilemma for the Protagonist – does he (i) tell the Police to whom the package in his brother’s room really belongs, risking his own arrest plus retribution from the gang; or does he (ii) stay silent, protect the gang but send his own brother to prison.

Q & A

involves the Performers asking the audience which choices the Protagonist could have made differently in order to avoid this dilemma and then opens up into a discussion about why people join gangs and what the negative consequences are

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Advice and where to go for help

Are you in a gang and want to get out?

Don't know who to talk to?

There are many organisations and people out there who can help you, and sometimes it's easier to talk to them than to those around you. Just read on to find useful links for people that are trained and willing to help you in the boroughs of Camden, Southwark, Croydon and Haringey...

Gangsline is a non-profit organisation established in 2007 to provide help and support to young men and women involved in gang culture.

Advice about how to spot the signs of criminal exploitation and involvement in gangs and about what support is available for children and young adults

SafeCall is a confidential service from Runaway Helpline open 9am – 11pm, 7 days a week. Simply call or text 116 000 to be put in touch with our SafeCall Team.


'Off the Street, Less Heat':

'Off the Street, Less Heat' is a youth diversion project which provides sports and other facilities to distract young people from anti-social behaviour, gang related violence and street crime. The project also aims to improve the relations between the police and the local community.

Contact - between 8pm and midnight:

Alexis Jagdeo

(Senior Project Officer, Neighbourhood Management)

'SOS Gangs Project':

St Giles Trust. The client age group is typically 18-31 years of age and is primarily targeted at those completing sentences at Kent Prisons with a Southwark Connection.

Programme delivery: The SOS Project is essentially a bespoke 'through the gates' mentoring programme which is tailor made to suit the needs of the individual. Through the project clients receive positive support, information, advice, guidance and advocacy which enable clients to dissolve criminal associations and make positive lifestyle choices. The project works holistically with all support networks - for example Youth Offending Team's (YOT), Probation, Social Services, Criminal Justice System, and also parents to produce positive outcomes for the individual and the community. Referrals are made by the individual.


Evan Jones at or

Junior Smart at

Telephone: 0207-703-7000. Website:


'Gangs Disruption Project':

This project is designed to address gang activity with known gang members and those with an association with gangs. The programme also delivers preventative programmes in schools and the community. Southwark Youth Offending Team (YOT) Young people who are subject to statutory orders and those who have been identified as being a risk of or are associating with gangs. The project also targets young people in primary and secondary schools in LB Southwark, as a preventative measure.


Amanda Drayton on 020 7525 7939 or

'Kids Company':

Kids Company is a charity which provides emotional and practical support to children to bring about positive changes to their lives. The services offered by Kids Company include psychotherapy, education, art, sports and hot meals, as well as practical support such as accompanying them to youth courts, finding accommodation and advocacy with mental health teams. The Arches II, a drop-in centre, is open six days a week and meals are provided three times a day. Clothes and basis necessities are also provided, as is social work, special educational support, medical and psychiatric intervention. Kids Company also works in schools offering therapy, social work and group activities to prevent children from leaving school or becoming excluded. The organisations works in 25 inner city schools in London, and also has post-16 educational programme, the Urban Academy. The organisation has an average of 661 volunteers annually, of whom approximately 161 are social work and therapy trainees, and the other 500 are drawn by city companies.

Contact: Karen Stenning on 0845 644 6838 or


From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation (FBMF):

FBMF is an independent school having received Ofsted independent school status in September 2004. Its was founded in 1997, in response to requests from parents and the community to provide support for black boys of African and Afro-Caribbean descent who were in danger of or were already educationally and socially excluded. FBMF provides a service for black boys aged 12 - 17 years and Young men 17-21 in its "Lifestyle Management Programmes". Students are referred by schools, Pupil Referral Units (PRU's), Youth Offending Team's (YOT), Social Services, Criminal Justice System, parents and self-referrals.


Uanu Seshmi on 020 7703 6415 or


Violent Crime Project:

This project aims to make young people aware of the consequences of violent crime, and in particular any violent crime that constitutes a 'schedule one' offence. Southwark Youth Offending Team (YOT). Young people aged 8-13 years in Southwark schools.


Amanda Drayton on 020 7525 7939 or

The project is delivered by one staff member using drama-based groupwork to explore the definition of violence and its impact and consequences on young people's lives

Summer Programme Ages 8 -11

Discover your potential and experiment with a variety of performing art and adventure skills - Presented by The Comedy School & The Pirate Castle.

More Info