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Olivia's time on our Stand Out programme..

Stand Out - June 2010

My name is Olivia Bell, I’m from Bootle, Liverpool and I’m a Stand Out graduate. I’m currently working abroad in Barcelona as part of my degree at Durham University and honestly, I can say that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for The Comedy Trust.

When I was 14 I was being bullied in school; I had no confidence and my grades were dropping. I was encouraged by a department called The P.O.D (pupil outreach department) to take part in The Comedy Trust’s Stand Out course. At first the thought of getting up on stage in front of people terrified me and to be honest I used excuse after excuse to not take part. Finally I gave in and went to the first session, but I was still an hour late. But still, Sam Avery and Stacey Lavery who ran the course welcomed everyone with open arms. It was such a great feeling knowing you belonged to a group that encouraged you to do one of the most petrifying things which is get on stage and pray that someone laughs at your jokes. Once you’ve done that you feel like you can take on the world.

Through the Stand Out course I learnt the simplest but probably some of the most important skills which was how to present myself in conversation and in a room. I learnt how to manipulate language in order to get that big laugh everyone wants. I gained skills in presentation which have benefited me ever since, from class presentations to job interviews. But most of all I got my confidence back; I learnt it wasn’t the worst thing in the world if someone laughs at you, in fact it can be one of the best feelings.

I’ve made so many friends while taking part in the Stand Out course. I made friends with people in my school from different years who normally, I would never have had the chance to speak to before. Luckily I was chosen to take part in the Stand Out Young Comedian of the Year 2010 and even there I made some great friends who I’m still friends with today. After graduating from Stand Out I’ve taken every opportunity given to me to work with the Comedy Trust again. I’ve taken part in a heritage project, learning about Liverpool’s strong comedy heritage, as well as making my own comedy short films with First Take.

Being part of the Comedy Trust has honestly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s really shaped me as a person and has opened a passion for writing and performing comedy that I never knew I had. For anyone who is thinking of taking part in the Stand Out course, or any course that is offered to them by the Comedy Trust all I can say is, what do you have to lose? Go have fun while being funny.


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