University of Kent's comedy module celebrates its 10th anniversary

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The Independent Culture

Much has been made, and rightly so, of the prevalence of stand-ups on our screens, airwaves and stages. However, while the phenomenon seems recent the 10th anniversary of the trail-blazing stand-up comedy module of the University of Kent's Drama and Theatre Studies course reminds us that the popularisation of the art form has some history behind it, and suggests that even the post, post-alternative era is all grown-up now.

The course is run by Dr Oliver Double, former stand up and author of key comedy texts Stand Up!: On Being a Comedian and Getting the Joke: the Art of Stand Up Comedy. "The course works by putting the students in front of real live audiences as often as possible," explains Double. "Just 10 days in they do their first show to a crowd of over 200 people. They perform all over, and students have done gigs as far afield as Canada and California. By finding out how to get laughs, they learn a lot about themselves and life in general."

The anniversary will be marked by a series of workshops and performances, including a guest spot from stellar stand-up Ross Noble. Meanwhile, course alumni, many of whom will also be performing, include the stand-ups Jimmy McGhieand Tiernan Douieb, members of the improv group The Noise Next Door, and Caitlin Storey of popular Shakespearian troupe The Pantaloons.

Tiernan Douieb, the man behind the popular Fat Tuesday comedy night in London and creator of the Twitter Comedy Club, is now an Edinburgh Fringe regular and is in no doubt of the impact the course had upon him: "The comedy course at Kent taught me a lot of important skills, including ways to be more yourself by projecting the comedy you want to say on stage and not what you feel pressured to."

10 Monkeys Comedy Festival, University of Kent, Canterbury ( www.10monkeys.co.uk/festival) to 21 May

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