Last year Mike Shulver, Principal Teaching Fellow at Warwick Business School, joined a stand-up comedy course run by the West Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham. He had the idea that learning about various performance arts would help him in teaching. He signed up for courses in stand-up, and also improvisational comedy (improv), during the summer of 2012.
Mike did his first stand-up gig in July of last year, and now performs every month in pubs around the west midlands:
I've always told jokes to liven up my classes, but they were rarely about the subject I was teaching. When I joined James Cook's stand-up comedy course I had in mind a series of 5 to 10 minute sets to begin each of my lectures in Service Operations Management.
My first performance was in front of 60 people and I got plenty of laughs, so I think it was OK. I've since done the set with my students and they really like it. So with that affirmation I'm working through the remaining 10 lectures on my module!
The improv is more difficult to assess. I think stand-up has many parallels with teaching; both are about telling stories in an engaging and memorable way. Both (if you take them seriously) involve intense preparation and rehearsal."
If you're interested in finding out about how stand-up comedy might be used in your work, this course is being arranged and managed by WBS Create.
The tutor is James Cook, a successful touring stand-up comedian. The course is about writing as well as performing. It is very much hands-on, not a passive experience - you will work hard, and quickly.
The dates are:
- Wednesday 19 June 2013 - all day
- Wednesday 26 June 2013 - all day
- Thursday 27 June 2013 - 4-7pm for a performance
There will also be a de-brief of about 2 hours in the week commencing 1 July - exact time yet to be arranged.
There is no cost involved, but you must attend the two days in full.
You need not perform if it makes you too nervous, but it would be a shame not to do so. No previous experience is necessary, just an open mind and a sense of humour. The number of places is limited, so we will set up a waiting list in case demand exceeds supply.
If you wish to attend the course please contact Laura Edwards in WBS Create Laura dot Edwards at warwick dot ac dot uk. If you have any questions about what the course is like, ask Mike Shulver M dot J dot Shulver at warwick dot ac dot uk.