Course helps young comics find their voice

Harriet Moir (left) gives encouragement as Sammy McCormick, 17,  takes a turn behind the mic...
Harriet Moir (left) gives encouragement as Sammy McCormick, 17, takes a turn behind the mic.PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
The next generation of comedy talent will be nurtured as part of the  Dunedin Fringe Festival.  Simon Henderson reports.

Dunedin comedian Harriet Moir is running a course during the Dunedin Fringe Festival called Stand Up, Stand Out: Teen Comedy School Showcase.

It will give youth aged 13 to 17 the chance to find their comic voice.

Ms Moir said there had been a ‘‘massive’’ amount of growth in the comedy scene in Dunedin and across the country in the past few years.

‘‘It is emerging as a scene and as a legitimate performing art - something that you can make a career out of, or some part of a career out of.’’

As a mother of teenagers, she felt it was important to engage the next generation of comedians.

‘‘We’ve done all this beautiful work to create an amazing scene, but we need the new voices coming through.’’

The short intensive course will give those interested in stand-up a chance to get a feel for what it is like.

It will be comprised of three 90-minute workshops, two focused on creating content and writing, and one looking at delivery and stagecraft.

Melbourne comedians Sweeney Preston and Ethan Cavanagh and Celebrity Treasure Island winner and Dunedin comedian James Mustapic will contribute to the workshops.

Mr Mustapic will also MC a showcase where the budding comics will get a chance to try out their material in front of an audience at Te Whare o Rukutia at 4pm on Saturday, March 23.

‘‘Hopefully, the aim is that they will all have something like a three to four-minute set that they can perform to an audience,’’ Ms Moir said.

Each participant will have the chance to have one-on-one coaching sessions with visiting comics, such as David Correos, Donna Brookbanks and Taylor Ruddle.

High school pupil Sammy McCormick said she was considering applying.

She has a background in performing arts, and has always enjoyed comedy.

‘‘I think it’s very impressive to be able to capture an audience with comedy and be entertaining.’’

Also considering applying is Charlie Milne, 15.

He played the part of Tom Collins in Logan Park High School’s production of Rent last year and has also performed at the Playhouse Theatre.

As the ‘‘funny friend’’ he found the things he said often made people laugh.

‘‘So I would probably take a lot of inspiration from that.’’

The course has eight positions available and is free thanks to funding and support from the Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust, Walsh & Beck and Events on Stafford.

• Applications are open until February 29 by emailing