The World's First Ever Laughter Festival will take place this June in Manchester.
“Laughter is a mood altering substance which is legal and free,” says Robin Graham, Festival director. “We can laugh ourselves happier, healthier, less stressed, more sociable, and build stronger communities.”
The UK Laugher Festival will be taking place the week of 17th-24th June in venues around Manchester and beyond.
"We tend to focus a lot on humour, but laughter is the real prize," said co-organizer and Laughologist Albert Nerenberg. "There really is a new approach to laugher out there, where people can learn to turn it on at well. In a group that can be quite hilarious and entertaining."
The festival will also feature the UK Laughing Championships where 10 of the most contagious laughers in the UK will compete in a series of laughter feats, tested by their contagiousness on an audience. Laughter contests are a trend which began last year in Canada, and have now spread to over a dozen countries including Japan and Austria.
To compete contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The festival will include participatory workshops, seminars and events around Manchester.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. This is The Olaughics (It’s funnier than the Olympics).
2. This is for our Community: This is a not for profit festival, volunteer led, community based, but run by professional laughter consultants and a community interest company.
3. UK and World First: First ever week dedicated to therapeutic laughter (not comedy).
4. National new bi-annual Festival and legacy: Something special, every time there is a winter or summer Olympics. We will build on what we achieve this year.
5. Inspiration: The Olympics, The Big Society, and the government’s Happiness agenda.
6. Laughter Benefits: Scientific research shows laughter improves our health, increases our happiness, and lowers our stress hormones – so also helps with reducing stress and anger management, and tackles depression. It is a major tool in wellbeing and health.
7. Community benefits: Laughter breaks down social barriers, is a universal language we can all share, and so builds communities (and good for post-riot Manchester). Key laughter professionals around the world are promoting laughter as a Tool for Peace.
8. Organisers and international involvement: Albert Nerenberg (Canadian Film maker), Matthias Roos (German psychologist), Michael Stretch (Austria based laughter leader) and Robin Graham (Manchester based laughter facilitator) are all part of the organising team.
9. Partners (local and UK): The Faith Network for Manchester, The Comedy Store Manchester, Wythenshawe Hospital, The Triangle and Cafeblend, Trafford Carers Centre, Art Of Living Foundation, Body Positive North West, Laughter Network and other people and organisations.
10. Patrons: Dr Madan Kataria, inventor of Laughter Yoga, World Laughter Master Belachew Girma from Ethiopia, and artist Jessica Taylor, founder of the charity Share A Star.
11. Emails and letters of support: From His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Hazel Blears MP, and His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Every week can be a laughter week. But with the Olympic Games in London in 2012, here is an opportunity to have a laughter games in the UK and a cultural program to explore the benefits both individually and for the community from using laughter therapeutically. Our aims include:
1. Strengthening communities and building bridges through communities and faiths coming together to celebrate with joyful laughter.
- Showing people how we can reduce tension and stress and improve our health and happiness;
- Particularly for young people, laughing across primary schools to build a more harmonious future;
- Benefitting everyone through educating on the benefits of laughter.
2. Having as many people aware of the laughter benefits as possible.
3. Make Manchester (or Greater Manchester) a Laughter City by holding the first UK National Laughter Festival and Championships here, and creating a bi-annual event to celebrate laughter and Manchester.
1. The first ever UK National Laughter Championships: This will be amazing – for competitors and audience. Our winner may go in to the world laughter championships later in the year! Sponsor the event and you can have your name on the trophy!
2. Laughter World Record: We will set a record for a Laughter Relay at Cafeblend at The Triangle on midsummers day.
3. The Laughter Conference: This is also UK National Carers week and National Refugee Week. The Comedy Store Manchester will host a conference aimed at carers, the public and professionals. We can learn laughter techniques to help our lives.
4. Interfaith events: We will bring people of different faiths and community groups together to laugh together joyfully.
5. Free public laughter workshops: In Piccadilly Gardens.
6. Wythenshaw Hospital laughs: Sessions in the hospital, and a day to focus on hospitals and health on 18th June.
7. Schools laugh: Sessions in a primary school in Chorlton, a secondary school in Rochdale, and a SCHOOLS PACK to be launched so ALL primary schools can have their own laughter activity. Schools day 19th June.
8. Businesses laugh: We are offering a free one hour laughter for business session: businesses apply and one will be selected for our Offices and Organisations day on 20th June.