Stand Up To Stigma is a new and exciting community project that aims to challenge and address some of the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with poor mental health.
The project is being delivered by The Comedy Trust in partnership with three primary organisations in the St.Helens area: Addaction, St.Helens Mind and St.Helens Council. We are aiming also to recruit willing volunteers who have lived experience of mental health problems to help us develop and deliver the Stand Up To Stigma project by becoming part of a project steering group.
On Tuesday, the first of 4 initial performances took place at Parr library, St Helens with performances at 1 and 2 pm. Sam Avery, a professional stand up comedian, compered the shows with his easy-going smooth style, getting everyone in a good mood and setting a great baseline for the forthcoming acts.
Set in the adult portion of the library and with a good audience of 15, David, a member of staff, opened with tales from his holidays with his mates ‘The Nogger Dogs’.
Some really hilarious stories soon had the audience in raptures followed by Paul, telling anicdotes of his experience in libraries, ‘Have you any books on camoflage?’ he asks the librarian, ‘thousands’ she says, ‘but we cant find them’ !!!!. Finally, OCD sufferer Craig spoke with great humour about his condition with brilliant poise and comedic timing.
A great afternoon, repeated 2 days later in Haydock, with tremendous feedback from the audience.
One member told me : ‘its great isnt it that these people daily battle against various mental issues yet they have the bottle to stand up infront of us all … in a library .. and perform that funny material, its so refreshing’.
Craig, participant, stand up performer and OCD sufferer, wrote and told me : ‘ Gary, I have gained some confidence, as it was something I never thought I could do. It has been an interesting and light-hearted project. Fun with serious elements to it but hopefully sent a message out as it was the main goal in the end. ‘