Teenagers are right in the middle of forming their identities and honing their sense of humour, and we see this as an important time to engage and support them.
The Withers Tsang Class Comedians programme provides a unique opportunity for secondary-school students to participate in the arts and is run at no cost to the students that participate.
The first phase of the programme involves local comedians performing free shows and workshops in communities around Auckland, for students and their whānau. Students that show an interest and flair for comedy are then invited to take part in the Wither Tsang Class Comedians graduate programme.
For the next few weeks and over the April school holidays, a series of workshops, performances and one-on-one mentoring cover different types of comedy performances and all aspects of the comedy industry. Comedians and industry experts work with the students to enable them to find their comedy voice. As well as coaching their creative development, students are also taught professional skills necessary to make a living being funny, along with personal life skills.
At the end of the programme, students perform in front of an audience at the Withers Tsang Class Comedians Showcase during the Comedy Festival. The confidence they build in such a short time and the performances themselves are incredible.
Our former Class Comedians have a prestigious track record – Rose Matafeo, one of our first ever graduates, won the biggest global prize in comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe last year. Other graduates who have since gone on to amazing things are Rhys Mathewson (The Project), James Roque (Frickin Dangerous Bro, The Spinoff TV), James Malcolm (Billy T nominee) and Ruby Esther (winner of 2017 Raw & 2018 Best Debut).
If you're a teacher/ staff member at a high school in Auckland, and would like your students to attend a Class Comedians show in the community, simply drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.