Popular Fylde funnyman Tom Bright is launching the country’s first dedicated Comedy School.
Currently hosting the latest edition of Blackpool summer season show Legends, he is opening the Tom Bright Comedy School in Thornton Little Theatre from Saturday July 16.
Initially there will be two age groups – 13 to 16 years old and 17 upwards – and both are being previewed at an open night being held at the theatre next Monday.
“It started off by accident,” said Tom, who lives in Lytham and has been a familiar face on the Fylde comedy circuit since his days in the Viva show at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. “I was talking about pantomime, comedy and comedy acting with someone and I realised that whilst there are plenty of courses teaching acting there is no one teaching the comedy element. I realised the demand is there for people to do comedy drama and I realised there was a lot offer showing what I have learnt over the years.”
Tom, who has worked with many of the country’s top comedy names including six years with Russ Abbot’s Madhouse team and writing the Tiswas television theme, said people were often unprepared as to what makes a good comedy actor.
“It’s the words that make things funny but more importantly it’s the way those words are delivered,” he says. “On paper a lot of the Two Ronnies material wouldn’t have worked for anyone else – Ronnie Barker was a serious actor saying funny words he’d worked on perfecting. Likewise with Morecambe and Wise, what looked so relaxed and ad-libbed on television had all been worked out perfectly in rehearsals – they never ad-libbed on live television.”
He says he wants his courses to prepare people for everything.
“It’s one thing standing on a stage performing but quite another to be surrounded by cameras and a tv crew,” he said. “People don’t have to be naturally funny to make a script work but likewise a naturally funny script won’t work unless it’s approached in a certain way.”
Jokingly he adds: “Most people think if they’re not funny they can’t do it but it’s not bothered me for the last 40 years.”
His course will cover all aspects of comedy – including mime and stand up, circus clowning and sketches.
He says the course finally came together a couple of months ago.
“I’ve been really busy but suddenly the time seemed right and now I’m really excited about it,” he said. “I like the challenge of doing new things and I feel that it’s a good way of showing people a few short cuts and giving them the confidence they might be lacking.
“It’s a bit like playing snooker. There’s no point in doing it wrong for 10 years when there’s a chance of getting it right from the start and giving yourself an advantage over everyone else.”
He said the nearest he could find to his school was in London but it didn’t cover all aspects of comedy.
“I know I can bring a professional touch to the thing and show the students the difference between that and an amateur approach,” he says.
The course also coincides with the re-publication of his book Comedy: It’s No Laughing Matter which is available through Amazon. at £7.99
For more about Tom Bright’s Comedy School go to www.tombrightcomedyschool.com and for more about the July 11 Open Night ring (01253) 858529.