Laughing Allowed! — The Slapstick World of Neighbourhood Activism

laughing allowed performance

In the fall of 2014, Building Resilient Neighbourhoods’ Rob Wipond and Michelle Colussi teamed up with theatre director Will Weigler and a group of citizens from Victoria West and other neighbourhoods to create and perform the comedic theatrical show, “Laughing Allowed! The Slapstick World of Neighbourhood Activism.” The idea was to playfully explore what we do and don’t like about getting involved in our local communities, and to use physical comedy as a different way of beginning discussions about some of those issues. The creation process, show and post-show discussion provided lots of fun and lots of learnings — and we’re pleased to be able to provide videos of the event thanks to Red Willow Video Productions. Please feel welcome to embed or download and copy any of the videos to show anywhere you like to provoke any kind of discussions — or just to provoke some laughs! We have also produced a free handbook for developing a similar kind of show in your own neighbourhood — click here to get a copy of Laughing Allowed! – A How-to Guide for Making a Physical Comedy Show to Build Neighbourhood Resilience.

Laughing Allowed! The Slapstick World of Neighbourhood Activism (Full show)

Watch the whole 40-minute show! Or watch selected scenes from the show in the videos below. (The full show cannot currently be downloaded or embedded, but the vignettes can be.)


Jack warmly welcomes everyone to sing and play some “Songs about My Neighbourhood.”

Someone out there has an idea you haven’t thought of yet

Fred, Jena and Stephen try to figure out what those mysterious little red balls are for.

The local gossip, part 1

Katrina and Janet’s chin puppets don’t mean to gossip, but we all know who they’re talking about…

Where is everyone?

Jackie hopes to keep her fellow volunteers engaged, and then waits for some promised help from Rayna.

The local gossip, part 2

Katrina and Janet’s chin puppets remember how the neighbourhood used to be…

First time at the meeting

New group member Judith has a difficult time following the line of discussion between Kristl, Rayna, Anke and Steve.

They’re here, but they’re not here…

Kristl and Steve can’t seem to stay focused on Rob’s meeting agenda overview that’s captivating Judith, Rayna and Anke.

I really want to be there, but come on!

Jena really, really, really wants to attend to Rob’s meeting agenda overview that’s captivating Rayna, Anke, Steve and Kristl.

E-mail trails

A short email from Anke takes on a life of its own when passing between Jack, Judith, Fred and Stephen.

I feel like I don’t have a voice

Katrina expresses what it feels like to not have a voice.

When worlds collide

Rob and Anke try to reach agreement on the optimal agenda. (Spoiler alert: The final item on the agenda that Rob and Anke fight over cannot be seen in the last shot, but it is “Resolve Conflicts”.)

The local gossip, part 3

Katrina and Janet’s chin puppets warn about what the neighbourhood is coming to…

More fun than you think

Neither Kristl nor Michelle want to “work.” But maybe they don’t have to…

Could I borrow a cup of Sugar

The whole cast gets a little help from their friends.

Doing the Impossible

Jackie and Rayna declare that working with everyone else is simply impossible. But then the whole casts declares that together we can do the impossible! Right?

Laughing Allowed! Credits

Director & Stage Director
Will Weigler

Project Co-facilitators
Will Weigler & Michelle Colussi & Rob Wipond

Created and performed by
Katrina Brown
Michelle Colussi
Elaine Cross
Rayna Graham
Janet Gray
Steve Gray
Fred Jamin
Stephen Lewis
Jackie MacDonald
Jena Mailloux
Jack Meredith
Judith Scott
Anke van Leeuwen
Kristl Vickson
Rob Wipond

Other contributors to the script creation process
Heather Chatwin
Matt Christie
Simon Graham
Diana Nielsen
Nedjo Rogers

Script Editors
Will Weigler & Rob Wipond

Prop construction
Katrina Brown & Will Weigler

Marketing intern
Jena Mailloux

Laughing Allowed! occurred as part of a broader collaborative engagement project in Greater Victoria led by Building Resilient Neighborhoods, in conjunction with the Community Social Planning Council and Transition Victoria. Laughing Allowed! was created with additional support from the Capital Regional District and Vancouver Foundation.

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