LGBTQ+ SPECIAL

We’re excited to announce that our 27th February match is an LGBT History Month special featuring players from across the CSz Worldwide family. UK players will be captaining teams will LGBTQ+ identifying players from CSz Chicago, CSz Indianapolis, CSz Philadelphia and CSz New York.

Never seen a ComedySportz match before? Two teams will be competing for your laughs with improvised gags and games inspired by your suggestions. Who wins? YOU decide!

As with all of our online matches, the show will be free to watch (link below). However, where we would normally ask those who can afford to do so to make a donation to help support our players, for this show will be asking audiences to donate to local charities The Proud Trust and Rainbow Noir.

The Proud Trust is a life saving and life enhancing organisation that helps LGBT+ young people empower themselves, to make a positive change for themselves, and their communities.

Rainbow Noir is a volunteer led social, peer support and community action group, which celebrates and platforms people of colour who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer and/or Intersex.

We know that the ongoing coronavirus situation means that not everyone is in a position to make a donation. This is why we have kept the show free to watch so that anyone can enjoy the show as we celebrate our LGBTQ+ players.

If you’ve ever taken a class in improv, chances are you’ve heard the phrase “Yes, And” which places acceptance of others at the heart of everything we do. In improvisation we share our ideas to communicate, collaborate and grow our scenes and games – and it’s how we like to approach life offstage as well. Our newest player Ben Hodge wanted to share a little something of his own journey into improv and saying “Yes, And…”

Hi! I’m Ben and I have been a part of CSZ Manchester since summer of 2020. I guess it’s also good to mention for this article that I am a gay, transgender man. I came out as trans when I was 16 and started testosterone at 17. I came out as a gay man at 18 and had my top surgery at 19. There was one thing that got me past the low points and the waiting times and the constant questions around my identity, and that was comedy.

I think that comedy has a lot of power when looking at identity, it has helped me to educate audiences and show them that people like me exist and we can thrive when given a safe and understanding space to do so. Joining ComedySportz, I felt that I had found that space, and that my identity wasn’t up for question or debate, as long as I ‘yes, and…’ then everything would be good!

Ben Hodge

It’s hard coming into a new space when people don’t necessarily know your past, and when talking to some members about my identity, they have been so respectable and eager to listen to what it means to be me. And I am grateful for them for taking the time to listen and understand who I am, and I think it has probably helped me put more trust into our relationship as improvisors. I even took part in an LGBT match at the online ComedySportz World Championship, where I played with all LGBT-identified players and got to interact with people who had been in this community a lot longer than me and had worked hard to make ComedySportz as inclusive as possible. It was truly a wonderful experience and I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of something so great!

I think that improvisation offers such a safe space for the LGBT community as people don’t care who you are as long as you make them laugh or create a good scene. There is so much room in improv to explore and express different parts of yourself that you never really have to ‘out’ yourself if that is something you don’t want to do. I’m currently organising an improv session for my LGBT+ support group from back home, as they invited me back as an ex-service user to talk about my identity and how comedy has supported my activism and my growth. Improv has offered me so much in supporting my own exploration of identity and expression that I think it’s something that the LGBT community should embrace and join in!

If you are reading this and you are an LGBT person currently struggling to find where you belong or you’re currently exploring what it means to be you, just know that you are not alone and there are so many safe spaces for you to do that exploration. There are several organisations in the north west as well as around the UK that offer support for LGBT people and they will always welcome you with open arms. Or come and watch one of our shows, and know that you belong and we are always happy to have you involved!

Ben’s documentary about his transition “1 Year” won the 2020 Into Film award for Best Documentary. Despite the COVID venue closures meaning Ben has only ever played online shows with us, he has quickly become an audience favourite and we are delighted to have him be part of the ComedySportz Manchester family.

You can catch Ben in our LGBT special match on Saturday 27th February. The stream will go live at 6.45pm GMT with the fun kicking off at 7pm GMT. Watch live at the link below!

 

All Upcoming Shows

About The Proud Trust

About Rainbow Noir

Festive Fun with ComedySportz this week!

Looking for laughs this week? Need a show that is going to keep the whole family entertained? We’ve got free shows and jams to keep you entertained with festive fun and games during this Christmas week!

free family friendly festive fun with comedysportz

Family Friendly Improv Shows 23rd & 26th December

Bored of the same old repeats on TV during the holiday season? We have two shows this week to keep you entertained with gags and games aplenty! Subscribe today and never miss a match.

Free Improv Jam 22nd December

improvised festive fun with comedysportz

Want to get involved in the festive fun? We’re hosting an evening of free improv and party games open to all levels of experience. Take part as much as you like or just pop along for a laugh. Join the jam here.

If you’re looking for some improv games to play at home with family this Christmas we have pages from our book available for free here. All of our events are free but if you would like to donate or join in our winter merch campaign then follow this link.

Don’t forget it’s still not too late to sign up to our 2021 courses in Improv or Stand-Up comedy. Book now – a space on one of our courses is a great gift for a friend… or for yourself!

All Upcoming Shows

100th Online Show This Weekend!

It’s a very special online ComedySportz match this Saturday as we hit a landmark 100 online shows. There will be gags, games and 100 laughs guaranteed as our teams go for comedy gold!

Don't miss ComedySportz 100th online comedy show

Don’t miss the show this Saturday 5th December at 7pm GMT. Watch the show live – and for free – here.

Thank you for supporting livestream comedy. Don’t miss out on our winter T-Shirt campaign. Subscribe to our youtube channel and never miss a show – you can also watch all of our previous online shows as well as full live shows and clips we recorded pre-lockdown.

 

SHOWS UPDATE

Well, we think it’s safe to say any of our remaining plans for live shows in 2020 haven’t exactly gone as we’d hoped. We’re rescheduling our dates at Lock 91 and our show at Chorley Theatre for a tentative January 2021 – we’ll have confirmation on those in time for our next newsletter. Waterside Arts, our regular venue, is remaining closed until April 2021 but we will be back!
online comedy shows
So what does that mean for the rest of the year? We’ll be continuing online with weekly shows (ComedySportz: Wednesdays and Saturdays 7pm GMT) and online improv Drop-Ins will return from 7th November. We’re also planning more festive fun and special shows for all ages this winter. Be sure to follow our social media for regular updates!
Thanks to everyone who booked tickets for our return to live shows. You will either have received a refund already or may be offered the opportunity to transfer tickets to our new dates when they’re confirmed for next year.
Drops-In Improv workshops every Saturday
Thank you for your continued support this year. It’s been a difficult one for all of us and we’re immensely grateful for your support. We’ll still be here to keep you entertained throughout this second lockdown and beyond with more all action, all improvised competitive comedy for all ages!

ComedySportz Lockdown Update July 2020

The world may slowly be re-opening but theatres and venues remain closed to performances. We have started making tentative plans for after the summer but even if we do get to the point where we can perform live again we need to do so responsibly – safety for our players and audience members should always come first. Until then the show will still go online.

Watch online comedy and learn improv and stand up with ComedySportz

WORKSHOPS

We will continue to provide Digital Drop-Ins throughout July. We have recently conducted feedback on our classes and have been delighted with the response. We’ve taken on your feedback and will be filling the next few weeks with the content you’ve asked for – the schedule will go live later this week.

We’re also delighted to announce that we are finally ready to deliver an online Foundation Improv course! This fun and friendly six week course will commence Thursday 23rd July 2020 and we can’t wait! Whether you’re looking to start performing improv comedy, want to improve your listening and communication skills or just want to meet new people in a fun and friendly online environment then this course is for you. Adapted from our regular courses and tailored to online training, these Foundation Improv online workshops will help you learn new skills that can applied on stage and off.

Also, we’re running another of our increasingly popular online Stand-Up Comedy courses commencing Monday 13th July 2020. This exciting online comedy course will look at ways of crafting great gags, exploring joke structure, and developing storytelling techniques to hone your comedic voice. There will be weekly writing exercises as well as regular, friendly feedback on your material and performance. This course is ideal for anyone stuck at home looking for laughs and wanting to try their hand at something new.

SHOWS

With more people returning to work and more opportunities to get out of the house we are resting our Friday Fun Time Lunch Time shows for July. However we will still be doing our Witty Wednesday and Super Saturday shows every week at 7pm BST. For a full schedule visit our shows page.

This week players would have been making their way to ComedySportz World Championship in Houston, Texas. We’re excited however that there will now be an online championship and we’ll have more details soon!

Beyond July we have some very exciting events lined up. 2020 would have been our biggest Edinburgh Fringe yet and we’re delighted to be teaming up again with Laughing Horse for their online festival in August. Full dates will be online soon.

If you’re reading this and looking for family friendly entertainment for your online festival please don’t hesitate to get in touch today!

VIDEOS

We have a brand new video page on the website with a few favourite clips and even full shows from our rewatch series. Perfect if you’d like a reminder of what things used to be like when we could all laugh in the same room together!

THANK YOU

We’ve been immensely proud of how our players have responded to the ongoing situation and incredibly grateful for your continued support during this time. We’re committed to keeping our online shows free but have been very grateful for your donations so far.

Recently, we asked you to give those donations instead to Black Lives Matter, The Proud Trust and Rainbow Noir as well as making contributions ourselves.  We’re making plans for more shows supporting charitable causes in the coming weeks and months. We already have some in mind but please get in touch if you know of organisations you think we can bring some awareness to and hopefully raise a little money for.

 

We hope it’s not too long until we can all be together again but until then stay safe and keep on laughing!