Base at Belmont proves laughter the best medicine

Nadia Collins is holding comedy workshops at The Base @ Belmont. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au d465197
Nadia Collins is holding comedy workshops at The Base @ Belmont. Picture: Matt Jelonek www.communitypix.com.au d465197

Nadia Collins is holding comedy workshops at The Base @ Belmont. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au d465197

THE Base at Belmont proved laughter was the best medicine when it took a group of young people to a workshop with stand-up and improvisation comic Nadia Collins.

Youth worker Laura Dunlop said young people from across Perth gathered at YMCA WA Leederville HQ for the workshop over three days.

“We took down young people from our area where they met other people from different backgrounds, demographics, and those who have struggled to get out of their shell in front of their usual peers really got into it,” she said.

Collins began teaching classes in improvisation and comedy to supplement her life as a comedian in Melbourne.

“It was after I quit studying law when I was thinking ‘I’m gonna make it’,” she said.

At first she found teaching strange because as the youngest child and not a natural leader she would put on a persona that she knew what she was doing.

“I realised I do know what I’m talking about: it’s good to trust my instincts,” she said.

She was amazed by the young people in the workshop and said it those who had been classified as at risk were the ones who responded best.

“They come from so many different backgrounds, with different things going on and communicate in their own way; when we were just playing around in a workshop where you can’t fail, they relaxed and opened up and suddenly it was super fun,” she said.

Collins did six months study at the Ecole Philippe Gaulier, a prestigious clown school near Paris, under its namesake.

“Every day he tells you how much he hates you, wants you to die, you’re fat, you’re ugly,” she said.

The insults were couched in humour and were his way of breaking a performer’s ego.

He bestowed on her the clown persona of the Virgin Mary, which she has used in her solo act at Fringe World, which debuted at the Brisbane Hotel on February 9.

Collins said people mistakenly thought comedy was about being clever.

“It’s about an honest expression of innocence and letting go of those defences to let the inner child, the inner idiot out