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Creating Comedy

On Wednesday 2 October 2019, a number of St John’s performing arts pupils enjoyed an entertaining and energetic masterclass with West End and pantomime performer, Richard Gauntlett. 

Richard Gauntlett is one of the country’s most versatile performers working as a director, writer, comedian, actor and compère. His experience includes leading roles in West End shows such as Barnum, Beauty and the Beast and the Lion King. He writes and directs major pantomimes, has had spells in Doctor Who and makes regular appearances at The City Varieties in Leeds. He is also a member of The Grand Order of Water Rats which is the country’s leading charitable fraternity of comedians, actors and writers.

Pupils worked on one comedic scene from Richard’s script for Jack and the Beanstalk and performed their interpretations to their peers working on pace, naturalistic performance and the correct intention in their delivery, culminating in a well-timed quick fire rendition. In order to develop their team spirit and concentration, the group took part in several warm up activities including juggling and balloon modelling, all designed to remove inhibitions and promote concentration and focus. 

Director of Performing Arts, Mr White said: ‘The session was filled with laughter, enthusiasm and a fabulous spirit of positivity from the pupils and it was excellent to see them taking what can appear to be an easy theatrical style with the same care as if delivering more sombre material. To perform comedy well and gain the biggest laughs requires the utmost concentration and energy and it was fabulous to see the team spirit in the room working towards achieving this.’