Silver Comedy

About

Silver Comedy is a social enterprise that seeks to enrich the lives of older people through actively engaging them in comedy workshops and performances.

We aim to:

  • Provide a relaxed welcoming environment for people to have fun and share laughter
  • Reduce social isolation
  • Challenge stereotypes associated with ageing
  • Give older people a forum to explore their issues through comedy

We work throughout the UK and with any kind of older people’s group, including day centres, supported housing and care homes. We also undertake intergenerational work and can assist organisations who would like to develop entertaining ways to consult and involve their customers. We’re now listed by Nesta as innovators in the field of ageing in their guide to best practice: Ageing Innovator.

Silver Comedy workshops range from interactive comedy engagement sessions that feature fun games and improvisation, to sketch writing courses that often lead to live performances.

Each year we run the Silver Comedy Stand Up Of The Year Competition in partnership with Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival.

What we do

Interactive Comedy Engagement Sessions
We work with groups of older people and relevant organisations offering a mixture of interactive comedy games and improvised comedy drama supported by professional stand ups and comedy facilitators. Our workshops aim to enhance older people’s wellbeing, counteract loneliness, increase self confidence and develop people’s comedy skills while also exercising memory.

Watch this film about a Silver Comedy engagement session

Interactive comedy engagement sessions usually last around two hours and they generally take place over a morning or afternoon around a tea break. These are regularly undertaken at community and day care centres, supported housing schemes and care homes. Wherever possible we like to actively involve staff and volunteers in these sessions. We can work with both small and large groups of people at these sessions – they tend to vary in size from between around 10-40 participants. We also offer intergenerational workshops based on the same model.

We can offer subsidised taster sessions. Contact: info@silvercomedy.co.uk for more information.

Comedy sketch writing courses and shows
Our specialist comedy trainers provide sketch writing courses for groups of older people that often culminate in live performances. We undertake comedy sketch writing courses in partnership with festivals and theatres. We also offer interactive comedy shows for festive occasions.

Silver stand up training
Our specialist comedy trainers can offer one off silver stand up training courses subject to demand and we can now provide one to one online training via Skype on request.

Training
We offer a variety of training opportunities, bespoke to specific organisation’s requirements. We can provide training in our interactive methods to volunteers and staff so that they can then use their newly gained skills to work independently with targeted older people’s groups as well as with other needs groups. Participants will be introduced to our comedy games and improvisation techniques. These can either be full day or half day’s training programmes. We can offer introductory training workshops for conferences and events. We can also provide bespoke training courses in comedy sketch writing and stand up comedy.

Projects and events
We undertake a variety of innovative and specially commissioned interactive comedy projects including directing and producing films, DVDs and podcasts, often working with very vulnerable older people. Here’s an example of one: Age of Romance project.  We can offer bespoke comedy courses, support public and staff events and staff training and develop innovative and entertaining consultation techniques which encourage older people to become actively involved in improving their own local services.

Our highly skilled comedy trainers can also develop intergenerational projects focusing on both younger and older people’s skills development in such areas as facilitation, public speaking, creative writing, improvisation and stand up. By developing these new skills, we can increase people’s self confidence and employability. We can also create real opportunities for volunteering and employment through our expanding social enterprise.

We have also developed the first ever national Silver Stand Up of the Year Competition, ‘Die Laughing’ in partnership with Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival. This is held annually and is open to newcomers as well as to established comedians.

Contact info@silvercomedy.co.uk for more details, including information about our charges.

Who we are

Managing Director: George Baddeley
George previously worked for Genesis Housing Group as Community Development Manager within their charitable subsidiary, Genesis Community, where he worked closely alongside Supported Housing colleagues for many years. He developed some very successful projects that actively engaged older people in positive activities, one of which won NIACE’s Fred Moore Institutional Award.

Training Director: Chris Head
Chris is a Producer, Director and Comedy Trainer and he has delivered courses and sessions for City Lit, Central St Martins, the BBC, Channel 4 and a range of private students and corporate clients. For more info on Chris see www.chris-head.com

ASSOCIATES

Our Silver Comedy Associates are professional comedians and, in some cases, professional actors who are fully trained to deliver our work. Follow the links to view a selection of our Associates CVs:
Mr Cee
Kerry Leigh
Helen Kennedy
Tony Cowards
Kevin Dewsbury
Pam Ford
Paul Savage
Kate Smurthwaite
Roanna Bond
Gareth Berliner
Tom Roche

Some of the organisations we’ve worked with:

  • The Abbeyfield Society comedy engagement sessions
  • Advantage – “Age of Romance” project in their extra care scheme
  • Affinity Sutton/Voluntary Associations Support– comedy engagement sessions
  • Age Concern Hereford – comedy engagement sessions
  • Age Concern Kingston – comedy engagement sessions
  • ASRA/Leicester Housing Association – special comedy session to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
  • Capital Age Festival – comedy sketch writing course, performance and podcast production for Winter Festival – theatre of the absurd course and performance for Summer Festival
  • Central & Cecil Housing Trust – comedy engagement sessions; podcast production; Christmas show; intergenerational workshop
  • Cheshire East Council – “Age Of Romance” project in extra care scheme
  • The Courtyard Theatre – Hereford – comedy engagement sessions
  • Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival Silver Stand Up Of The Year Award
  • East London NHS Foundation Trust for Older People’s Mental Health Service: special project – consultancy, user consultation and DVD production for “Comedy Is The Best Medicine” major consultation event
  • Genesis Housing Group/Springboard HA – comedy engagement session
  • Goldhill Care – specialist comedy engagement session for people with dementia
  • Haringey Council – Older People’s Services – specialist project for people with dementia including workshops and production of DVD; comedy engagement sessionHerefordshire Housing – intergenerational workshop
  • HQN (Housing Quality Network) AGM – launch of Forum Comedy approach to resident involvement
  • Hyde Housing Group – comedy engagement session
  • Leicester District Council – specialist project and consultancy including workshops and DVD production
  • Leicester Housing Association/ASRA – comedy engagement session for their Diamond Jubilee celebrations
  • Middlesex University Social Work Department – special project and DVD production
  • Newark District Council – sketch show course and live performance for “Visible” older people’s arts festival
  • Open Age Westminster – comedy engagement sessions
  • Open Age Kensington and Chelsea – comedy engagement sessions
  • Riverside Housing Group – Forum Comedy session at a residents’ AGM
  • Royal British Legion Club, Little Common, Bexhill on Sea – “Silver Comedy Experience”
  • Thurrock Council – Forum Comedy Session at their older residents’ forum
  • Tower Hamlets Community Housing – managers’ away day

Testimonials

Here’s what some of our clients have had to say about us:

Filmed feedback: Age of Romance Project 
Residents and staff from Advantage, Your Housing Group

“When you walk in to the room it’s like a ray of sunshine that beams right through our bodies.”
Harry – resident of Central & CeciHousing Trust

“The Silver Comedy workshop with our residents was excellent. The comedians were able to quickly build a rapport with participants. Everyone felt comfortable and the laughter was soon flowing around the hall.”
Chinedum Ukachuku, Regeneration Co-ordinator, Hyde Plus, Hyde Housing Group

“Silver Comedy have undertaken improvisational story telling sessions for our residents and service users, including two very popular intergenerational workshops which generated a lot of fun and laughter. The feedback we got from participants at these comedy sessions was highly complementary. The quality of their training is excellent and we are very keen to continue working with them in the future.”
Chris Robinson, Director of Fundraising & Communications, Central & Cecil Housing Trust

“This is a fun and pleasant occasion – they speak with all individuals, most of us were shy but they are so charming, made us feel utterly at ease.”
Irene – Service User, Haringey

“I was really looking forward to the ‘Silver Comedy’ workshop last Wednesday.  I was able to laugh and forget all the problems for a little while.”
RS – a carer from Open Age’s “Time For Me” project

“Silver Comedy encouraged me to have a go – and it was great!”
Lesley – Silver Comedy sketch writing course participant, Capital Age Festival

“It’s been very refreshing working with an innovative group of people committed to promoting the wellbeing of older people. Great at partnership and great at making work fun!”
Trish Hafford-Letchfield, Senior Lecturer Interprofessional Learning & Teaching Fellow Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Middlesex University

“Wow… Wow… what an amazing experience. Both Chris and George are very person-focused and professional: willing to listen and take on suggestions and ideas from others; very creative and imaginative – making something out of nothing. Great working with you both.”
Sonia Gardner – Team Manager, Adult Social Care Services, LB Haringey

“Capital Age Festival engaged Silver Comedy to work with ten older volunteer participants from across London to produce comedy sketch podcasts, recorded in front of a live audience at City Hall, London as part of Capital Age Festival: The Winter Gathering 2010. This was a highly successful project and the performance received rapturous applause from a very enthusiastic audience. The quality of training was outstanding and extremely professional. We therefore had no hesitation in re-engaging Silver Comedy to undertake further work for our annual summer event along the south bank of the Thames river.”
Paul Margrave, Artistic & Operational Director, Capital Age Festival

“Very impressed – genuine, caring, respectful and sensitive.”
Stella – Service User, Haringey

“Working with a like minded group on a common enterprise, sparking off ideas between you, the delight in developing your own comic ideas within a disciplined framework, the value of the group’s response to and suggestions for the improvement of your work, the pleasure of performing, the shared laughter in the group and the personal reward of making others laugh, all under the inspired and facilitating teaching of Chris Head. “The play’s the thing…” In essence that’s what the course was – extended play, back to all the fun and exuberance of childhood. Not a workshop but a playshop, a ten week playdate with playmates.”
Boris – Silver Comedy sketch writing course participant, Capital Age Festival

“I am really impressed with the way they interacted with our client group in a very non-patronising and non-judgemental way.”
Joyce Levy – Day Service Officer, Adult Social Care Services, LB Haringey

Press

Forum Comedy

About

Forum Comedy is our unique way of using interactive comedy to bring about positive organisational change. Collaborating with the client, our highly experienced facilitators identify real life issues in your organisation — and with your client group — that you wish to address.

Our bespoke approach allows organisations to engage, consult or train their staff, customers or service users in highly entertaining ways by using comedy, through professional comedians and trainers, to act out those real life experiences.

It provides people with a language to look at, discuss and understand issues that could otherwise be too difficult or too heated for them to consider effectively.

Serious and even controversial matters can be explored using satirical comedy to bring people together and avert any potential conflict. Our approach can also enhance learning opportunities.

We cover all types of topics, including customer care, communication, leadership, management, service delivery, restructuring, equality, diversity, disability, team building, conflict resolution, effective meetings and effective listening skills.

Forum Comedy is suitable for specific events and training sessions as well as for more extensive programmes. If an organisation wishes to share best practice more broadly, or would like to create a valuable staff training resource, filmed productions can also be undertaken on request.

Our methods are suited to all types of organisations – large PLCs, public bodies and charities, and we have worked with all types of people – highly skilled professionals, community groups, young and old.

Forum Comedy’s approach achieves levels of communication, discussion, insight and enjoyment that simply don’t arise from traditional meetings, training or even role-play type sessions.

Process

The Forum Comedy process includes a performance and a discussion session. The facilitator invites the participants to create fictionalised, extreme versions of their organisation, or of the particular behaviour or characteristics under consideration, based around best and worst case experiences and scenarios.

Our hand-picked professional comedians then improvise selected scenes that satirise and spoof the chosen situations.

The group responds with big laughs of recognition, but in a safely distanced way as the improvised scenarios are always fictionalised and exaggerated.

This enables a very engaged, focused and productive discussion on the real issues that can increase people’s understanding of the topics being considered.

Insights are gleaned and ways forward identified as participants can reflect together on their reactions to the scenes in a safe and distanced way.

Everyone leaves feeling like his or her issues have been aired and that everybody has been heard, while enjoying a good laugh. This certainly contributes towards establishing best practice.

Who we are

Forum Comedy began life following a commission Silver Comedy was awarded to undertake a consultation event for East London NHS Foundation Trust. We were invited to develop a consultation exercise that was able to actively involve vulnerable service users within a non-threatening environment. Our newly devised approach to consultation – Forum Comedy – as it later became known, used Silver Comedy Associate Comedians to act out other people’s real life experiences of service provision. This approach was so successful that we decided to expand our work in this area, offering Forum Comedy to a broader client group including all types of organisations and people of all ages.

Silver Comedy Enterprises Ltd is a social enterprise. Its three Company Directors are Managing Director George Baddeley, producer, director and comedy trainer Chris Head and professional comedian and compere Barry Ferns.

Silver Comedy also uses a network of professional stand up comedians and experienced comedy facilitators to undertake this work. Here are the details of some of our regular Silver Comedy Associates who undertake our Forum Comedy work:

Gareth Berliner
Mr Cee
Kevin Dewsbury
Pam Ford
Kate Smurthwaite

Forum Comedy has been developed by Silver Comedy Enterprises Ltd. Silver Comedy has a strong track record in innovative interactive comedy including extensive experience in improvisation and role-play. Our successful methods have been mainly developed while working with older and vulnerable people and we have now extended this approach to all age groups through Forum Comedy.

Clients

Forum Comedy clients include:

East London NHS Foundation Trust – mental health team event and filmed production/DVD

HQN Limited  – showcase performance for AGM

Riverside Group – residents’ event; management team event; LGBT conference

Thurrock Council  – residents’ event

“Consultation exercises can suck the life out of people – Silver Comedy came to our AGM to do a Forum Comedy session and were a breath of fresh air – highly recommended – they use top comics and brief them thoroughly.”
Alastair MacIntosh, Chief Executive of HQN

“After a day of quite serious discussions, Forum Comedy was a wonderful way of pulling the themes together in a light hearted and exaggerated manner, whilst helping emphasise the seriousness of the points raised. It ensured the day finished on a high and left delegates leaving the event with a real buzz.”
Peter Donegan, Resident Involvement Strategy Manager, Riverside Housing Group

Contact

Silver Comedy

For all enquiries about Silver Comedy contact info@silvercomedy.co.uk

Forum Comedy

For all enquiries about Forum Comedy contact forumcomedy@silvercomedy.co.uk