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Workshop Descriptions

Check out the workshops that we had available at The 2021 Laughter Symposium! 

Participants built their own Symposium Journeys by choosing which workshops & roundtables they were most inspired by. 

The Symposium was a great success! 

Mark your calendars for the next Laughter Symposium, 

taking place in Camrose, Alberta in January 2022!


Keynote Presentation with Stephen Robinson

Tuesday, January 26th 5:30 - 6:30 PM MST

Registration BY DONATION

From building a robot that can bake a cake, to solving a rubiks cube while skydiving, Stephen Robinson has spent the past five years documenting the process of learning over 130 skills on his Youtube channel “Stephen Robinson” and TV show “How to Learn Anything”.

Throughout this experience he has discovered the secret sauce that makes learning just about anything effective and enjoyable. What’s the key? Be bad at stuff, fail lots and keep going.

By the end of this workshop, the audience will leave fired up and ready to tackle that skill, business or personal challenge they have been putting off for years.


with Chantal Yardley

The intention of this workshop is to get everyone warm and comfortable working on Zoom. Through a variety of games and activities we will get ready for whatever other sessions are going to throw at you!


with Fanny Rire

In Mumbai (India), Dr Kataria and his wife Madhuri created techniques mixing warm-up, stretching, breathing and playful exercises to stim​ulate laughter; giving way to the birth of Laughter Yoga® (Hasya Yoga), which means "laughing without reason".

How does a session run?

A few minutes of warm-up, then playful laughter exercises, laughter meditation, a few minutes of relaxation, and finally a discussion about your feelings during the session.

Be careful. This practice cannot substitute a medical consultation in case of physical, mental or psychological disease. So don’t hesitate to consult your doctor if needed.

The concept is non-political, non-religious, non-racial, non-threatening and non-competitive. You are there to reconnect with your childhood heart and take advantage of the benefits of laughter.


with Chantal Yardley

It can be hard to get moving or even know how to move for Zoom scenes and auditions, this session will examine entrances and gestures, hopefully getting to mini scenes as well.


with Murray Farnell

So, you want to cook up a character voice, but don't know where to find a good recipe? Chef Murray has you covered!

With a few simple ingredients, a little bit of experimenting, and a whole lot of play, we'll get you cooking in no time! You'll come away from the class with a blank recipe card you can use to cook up tons of tasty character voices, or add new flavours to characters you already have.

The best part? No dishes to wash!

HOW TO HIT THE FUNNY BONE: Comedic Theatrical Fight Techniques

with Janine Waddell

Join Fight Director Janine Waddell in an exploration of what makes slapstick comedy tick. From the basics of the physical punchline to the timing of intricate comedic fight scenes, we will break down what makes funny fights work and what could potentially trip up an attempt at makin' 'em laugh. Pies in the face, ladders to the back of the head and a good old banana peel fall will come along for the ruckus filled ride.


with Tanya Perez

What happens when you tap into the child within and play as boldly as you can? Let's find out! We will dive into childhood games that empower and awaken your kid mind. In this workshop, we'll explore our Identity with ensemble building, strengthen our Intentions with curiosity and gleefully create an Impact that may ripple beyond our imagination.

*Playground games will be played. Character role-playing and ensemble building be made. Come as you are and be prepared to move even if your space is small. Here is your invitation to play!


with Bruce Hunter

Work with improv aficionado Bruce Hunter on everything from the basics to more advanced (and fun) activities.

Whether improv inspires or terrifies, this workshop will arm you with an arsenal of ways to engage and create. 


with Erica May-Wood

How to adapt what you do (be ready for just about anything) based on the needs and settings of different communities. Explore the power of collective creation for healing and empowerment.

When we go into different community settings, we often don’t fully know what we will be getting into, and that’s how our participants feel as well. As a group we will actively explore ways to adapt a series of arts activities for different groups/settings while keeping it safe and fun (low stakes, high gain). Erica May-Wood will talk about her work in rehab hospitals, homeless shelters, schools and care hospitals with participants of various ages, experiences and abilities.  She’ll share challenging stories and victories large and small, in the work that has impacted her not only as an artist, but as a human.


with Don't Not Talk to Strangers

Ever wanted to do sketch comedy? Have a troupe but don't know where to start? Already doing sketch and want to broaden your horizons? Have you called your grandparents recently? Are we asking too many questions? Okay, we'll stop.

Don't Not Talk to Strangers sketch comedy troupe is here to share the steps we took from small beginnings in cramped bars and basement studios, to sold-out Fringe runs and full houses on international stages. Join us for a conversation about how we write, create, and perform sketches and all that happens behind the scenes. You will have a never-before-seen sneak peek at the inner workings of DNTTS, including our collective working philosophy, company structure, and ensemble-building strategies. We will share lessons learned, as well as tips and tricks of the trade that you can take into your own sketch comedy endeavours!


with Dario Solina

Humanitarian clowning, love intelligence and radical care.

Caring is a bidirectional practice. As a humanitarian clown you walk towards suffering, you do it with twinkling eyes, your heart full of joy and excitement, your whole body in wonder. You have learned to embrace your vulnerability as a pivotal step towards embracing others'. For 12 years and in many countries, together with Patch Adams and the School for Designing a Society, Dario has been walking towards suffering with joy. Join him in exploring how your vulnerability will make you an invulnerable care activist.


with Bruce Hunter & Erica May-Wood

RealSpace Theatre: working with the environment and with locals to create live theatre.

Find out how these practitioners engage multiple levels of community – from audiences, performers, students to local businesses – and experience, first hand, how any environment can inspire a real-time, site-specific, audience-engaged show.

Part workshop, part talk, learn what it’s like to develop a real-time, real-space, real-comedy show while (hopefully) having a lot of fun. 


with Renee Manners

What is Spamedy?

Spamedy is a combination of real life grit explained in the best way possible, through humour. Laughter really is the best medicine. So my mission here is to show you how, to recognize grief, how to deal with those uncomfortable feelings that so many of us avoid... through a fun, silly, meaningful way. We're also going to learn how to destress and self love for free in your own home.

The desired outcome is that you come away from this experience a little more aware, a little more refreshed and recharged and a little more enlightened! Let's throw in some sore cheeks and Abs for good measure! Nothing makes you feel quite like you do when you laugh so hard no noise comes out!

So lets give it a whirl! Shall we?! See you soon!


Navigating Humour Amongst Cultural Differences

with Mladen Obradovic

You want to be amusing but not offensive? You want to respect the differences but still feel the freedom to recognize them? You want to laugh with people, not at them? Differences are what makes us unique, and laughter is what unites us. But that laughter needs to be earned and must only come from the place of informed sincerity, understanding and solidarity. Challenge your preconceived notions, test your ability to be sensitive to others and hear about foreign perspectives. What does the term “foreign” mean to you? Hey- you can’t burn down bridges you didn’t build yet! So, let’s take that first step towards understanding each other, together. 


with Bob Beddow

Gear up for this great workshop with Bob Beddow, comedian extraordinaire! Participants will be given guidance on how to create a great stand-up comedy set, including how to pick topics, structure jokes, and how to appropriately use wordplay. Discuss how to read and connect with different audiences, and how to hone in on your own personal delivery style. By the end of this workshop you should have some solid starting points for building your very own set of jokes.


Panel with C4C Int'l Members

Comedy for Communities International is a group with creativity in their DNA, taking steps to make the art of comedy a bigger part of more people’s lives. With Comedy for Communities, we are discovering together how to make sure that our work in finding the funny is realized, sustained, and endures.

Join Hunter Gates, Vicki Stiles, and Jenn Townsend as they discuss the vision and mission of Comedy for Communities, inviting participants to share their stories and to find a place in this International relief organization that appreciates what the arts might mean for us all, how dependent we are on arts and how integral they are to the spirit. 


with Bob Beddow

It's a comedy show! Get ready for Bob's humorous spin on his stories retold...


Roundtable discussion with Workshop Leaders

What Happens When you Leave? How do you leave behind more than a memory?

Hear from symposium presenters about their experiences and thoughts on this challenging topic.

A panel discussion will be followed by breakout groups that participants can travel across to further explore possibilities from the perspective of all delegates. 

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