Funny Business Training

ABOUT US

Map of Merseyside - The Comedy Trust
THE TEAM
OUR MISSION
To Create happier, healthier people through the power of laughter and comedy

The Comedy Trust was established in 2002 with the mission to create happier, healthier people through the power of laughter and comedy.


Our main aims include: 

- Encouraging participation and engagement in the arts for all
- Exploring the relationship between comedy, humour and health and wellbeing
- Nurturing talent and developing creativity, confidence and communication skills

- Making high quality art accessible to all regardless of gender, race, sexuality, age religious or political viewpoints

Throughout the year we work extensively throughout the Liverpool City Region and across the UK developing and delivering groundbreaking workshop programmes in the education sector, local communities, health settings and businesses alongside curating Liverpool's annual celebration of comedy and arts through the Liverpool Comedy Festival. We are also the brains behind the newly established Doddy Day. 

 

We believe laughter is an important part of our day to day life and should be harnessed to help us live happier, healthier lives. Studies suggest that laughter is a basic emotion that all humans share and understand, we celebrate this by using comedy to encourage the universal language of laughter in everything we do. We ensure each of our programmes are accessible and flexible designed to provide participants with a platform to improve their confidence, self-esteem, personal resilience and connections with others to ultimately help them feel happier and better about themselves. In addition to this, comedy has the power to help break down barriers in difficult situations or help with difficult to discuss topics such as mental health, we use the power of comedy to empower individuals to tackle these situations in a positive, light-hearted, alternative way.

The Comedy Trust is well respected throughout the UK for its’ groundbreaking work which employs the skills of professional arts practitioners and comedians with a background in promoting positive health and wellbeing to develop programmes that are accessible, creative, and in many instances, life changing.

Since 2002 over 15,000 people have taken part in one of our groundbreaking comedy programmes. 90% of participants tell us they’ve experienced an increase in confidence, communication skills or well-being.

 

Our main initiatives include:
Feeling Funny programme: Comedy programme designed to improve the mental wellbeing of participants through a range of comedy workshops, monthly clubs and drop in sessions. Sessions currently running include the Feeling Funny Youth programme designed for secondary years, Feeling Funny Mums for new mothers or mothers to be at risk of / living with poor mental health and Still Feeling Funny, a club designed for men struggling with mental health issues established from our men's Feeling Funny programme. 


Workplace Training: Workshop programmes and resources to support workplace wellbeing.

Liverpool Comedy Festival: Annual celebration of comedy and laughter in Liverpool

Previous clients include Barclays Bank, United Utilities, 02, schools and community groups across the UK, which has led to patrons John Bishop and Les Dennis to support our work.

For detailed information on our products you can check out our blog site where you can read Olivia’s inspirational story on how our programme led her from being bullied and receiving school counselling to gaining a  place at University, or Pete’s story of overcoming depression through comedy. Alternatively, click to listen to one of the BBC Radio 4 Extra documentaries we were the subject of.

THE TEAM
sam-avery.jpg

Sam Avery (He/Him)

Artistic Director

Sam Avery is a 13 year veteran of the comedy circuit and is passionate about helping individuals increase their confidence, communications skills and personal resilience. With over 11 years working at The Comedy Trust Sam is involved in powering and transforming all parts of the organisation.

sam-avery.jpg

Charlene Davies (She/Her)

Operations & Fundraising Manager

Charlene joined the team in 2015 on a three month industry placement as part of her Arts Management Degree at Liverpool's Institute for Performing Arts. Upon graduating she's started working for us on a full time basis as an Administrative Assistant. Since then her role has grown, initially being promoted to Project Manager of our youth work, to 2021 marking a new venture as she moves into her new role as Operations and Fundraising Manager of the charity. Charlene is passionate about harnessing alternative and creative practises as a life-changing and accessible platform to enhance mental wellbeing, improve people’s confidence and enable them to realise their true potential and self-worth.

sam-avery.jpg

Helen Holden (She/Her)

Project Manager

Helen is Project Manager for The Comedy Trust’s Feeling Funny project, which uses comedy and humour to address issues around mental health and well-being. Helen's background is in the arts and she previously worked at National Museums Liverpool for 12 years in education and community focused roles. She has undertaken training in counselling and teaching and is very passionate about using creative approaches to develop confidence and increase well-being.

sam-avery.jpg

Cameron Jones (He/Him)

Community Outreach Practitioner & Project Manager of Feeling Funny Youth St Helens

Cameron first started stand up comedy at the age of 14 when he attended The Comedy Trust's Feeling Funny Course to help improve his confidence at school. Since then he has performed in venues across the North West and was runner up at the comedy store's King Gong at the age of 18. Since then he has achieved a BA Hon's Degree in Acting and and most recently an MA in Filmmaking from Sheffield Hallam University. He is interested in stories that are developed from real people and real experience. His sessions focus on using humour to combat difficult moments in life in an attempt to build resilience and spark important conversation... Have a laugh and make people think, that’s the plan!

sam-avery.jpg

Jessikha Ellison (She/Her)

Community Outreach Practitioner

Community Arts Practitioner (also known as ‘Miss Giggles’) has worked with The Comedy Trust in a freelance practitioner role since 2010. Since graduating from LIPA in 2009, as well as entertaining in her family run business 'Miss and Mrs Giggles', Jessikha has worked for BBC Shakespeare Schools Festival, MTV and the Variety Club of Great Britain. We first met Jess in 2002 when she took part in our Stand Out comedy programme whilst in secondary school.

sam-avery.jpg

Vannessa Park (She/Her)

Community Outreach Practitioner

Vannessa is an actress and freelance practitioner who graduated with a degree in drama in 2015. Upon graduating she joined Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre Community and Education team. Throughout her time at the theatre she's gained over five years experience facilitating workshops for young people and helped to develop and organise annual main stage shows. She has performed in three tours of the production of Terriers nationwide in schools, prisons, community venues and PRU's. She is most passionate about helping young people engage in the arts, whether it be to perform, work in the industry or just to simply have a good time in turn helping them improve confidence and wellbeing.

sam-avery.jpg

Brendan Riley (He/Him)

Comedy Course for Beginners Practitioner

Brendan is one of the most sought after acts for the Jongleurs and Highlight chains of comedy clubs. He is a popular headline act and compere who can perform up to 40 minute sets as well as solo theatre shows. He regularly hosts a range of our comedy workshops include our Comedy Course for Beginners, our Mental Health programmes and our external comedy workshops

sam-avery.jpg

Paul Betney (He/Him)

Community Outreach Practitioner

Paul Betney is a qualified therapeutic counsellor that has over 15 years of experience performing stand up comedy. He has performed at venues in Japan and across the US as well as here in the UK. Living with Parkinson's Disease gives him a very special insight into how comedy can be used to help build confidence and improve mental health and well being. 

sam-avery.jpg

Zain Salim (He/Him)

Community Outreach Practitioner

Zain is an actor, movement director and arts practitioner with experience working in the community for over 10 years alongside Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre and Positive Impact. Zain is extremely passionate about engaging young people within the arts which is prevalent in his years of experience in youth work. His current roles include staring in Terriers, a professional touring play that raises awareness of gun and gang crime amongst secondary years and movement director for Boisterous Theatre Company, Liverpool's BAME theatre company.

sam-avery.jpg

Kate Tracey (She/Her)

Community Outreach Practitioner

Katie is a writer and comedian who has been performing for the last 9 years. She was runner up in the Funny Women Awards competition in 2012. Kate works alongside The Comedy Trust to deliver our Feeling Funny Mums programme and has noted it has been one of her best experiences. 

sam-avery.jpg

Rachel Coogan (She/Her)

Community Outreach Practitioner

COMING SOON

sam-avery.jpg

Rob Thomas (He/Him)

Community Outreach Practitioner

COMING SOON

sam-avery.jpg

Rosie Wilkinson

Community Outreach Practitioner

COMING SOON 

sam-avery.jpg

Sarah Jones

Community Outreach Practitioner

Sarah is a youth arts facilitator, occasional actor and former stand-up comic based in Liverpool. Currently working with local organisations such as The Comedy Trust and Collective Encounters, Sarah is deeply passionate about using her experience and love for the arts to engage young people with their creativity and talents, enabling them to transform their mental health and self-esteem. Having graduated with a BA in Theatre Arts at Middlesex University in 2013, Sarah is currently studying for an MA in Theatre at the Guildford School of Acting.