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Sustainable and inclusive communities creating their own social, economic and environmental futures.

Community Social Planning Council

Research | Insights | Solutions

Laughing Allowed! The Slapstick World of Neighbourhood Activism

Mary Katharine Ross's picture
21 October 2014 - 3:10pm -- Mary Katharine Ross

It’s great when neighbours unite and work hard to make their community better, but sometimes there are bumps in the road to getting there.

Laughing Allowed! is a physical comedy show about the bumps.

A dozen people who shared both an interest in their neighbourhood and a quirky sense of humour came together with a question: Could they turn their experiences of the ups and downs of neighbourhood leadership, activism and volunteering into physical comedy sketches?

“We wanted a different way of talking about the tension between the ideal of achieving a strong and socially cohesive neighbourhood, and the sometimes messy reality,” explains local theatre director Will Weigler. “Physical comedy gives us a totally fresh way of understanding ourselves and for communicating with others.”

Laughing Allowed! is part of a broader collaborative engagement project in Greater Victoria being led by Building Resilient Neighborhoods, a partnership of the Community Social Planning Council and Transition Victoria. Over the past two years, Building Resilient Neighbourhoods has held workshops in Victoria, Saanich and Esquimalt about creating social, cultural, economic and environmental resiliency through neighbourhood-based, citizen-led actions, and has piloted Resilient Streets and a collaborative table of local stakeholders in Victoria West.

The participants in the Laughing Allowed! theatre project came with a mix of backgrounds in community involvement, and were trained over six weeks in theatre and physical comedy techniques. They developed and wrote the entire show together based on their own experiences participating in – and sometimes avoiding participating in – neighbourhood leadership, activism and volunteering. “The best comedy is not about making fun of people; it’s about creatively revealing unmistakable truths about situations in comic ways,” says Weigler. “That’s what we’ve done and the results, I think, are hilarious. As they say, ‘it’s funny because it’s true.’” 

Laughing Allowed! –The Slapstick World of Neighbourhood Activism will take place for one performance only at 7:30 pm on November 8th at High Point Church, 949 Fullerton Avenue. Admission is by donation. After the show there will be a chance for a conversation between the performers and audience. Laughing Allowed! is supported by the CRD IDEA grant program.


What: Laughing Allowed! —The Slapstick World of Neighbourhood Activism

When/Where: November 8th 7:30 pm at High Point Church, 949 Fullerton Avenue in Victoria West


Event Date: 
Saturday, November 8, 2014 - 7:30pm