Comedy courses, drag and cabaret workshops, directing, script editing and more!
Take a look at our courses and the other ways you can work with us.
Our Stand Up course, for beginners and emerging acts, starts in April . . . If you missed that, don't worry, there's more!
How about our BRAND NEW Drag King course, "A Course For Kings" starting in June? Or our July Alternative Drag & Cabaret course?
Stand Up Courses for Beginners and Emerging Comics
Whether you’re a total beginner, with little or no experience, or a new comic, with a few gigs under your belt, this course for you. Over the weeks, you’ll learn how to generate material, hone your comedic persona and write a 3.5 minute set, for a showcase in the final week. For 18+ yrs.
Group workshop sessions, for new and established comics. Come along on a weekly basis, or drop in from time to time, for continued feedback on your material and performance style. These workshops are a great way to meet your peers, as your progress in the comedy industry and build a support network, whilst working on your craft.
Ideal for newbies or more experienced Stand Ups, who want feedback on material or performance techniques, help developing a set or full length show, advice on the industry or just general support! Sessions can be online, or in person.
Alternative Drag and Cabaret Courses
Do you like your cabaret with a side order of strangeness? Your drag with a sprinkling of the unexpected? Then step into the dark, strange and avant-garde world of alternative cabaret, with Molly Beth Morossa. You may be a total beginner, have just a few gigs under your belt, or are a seasoned cabaret artist looking to shake things up and get a new angle on your work. Either way, this course will guide you through developing and honing your drag and cabaret practise, whilst creating a 3.5 minute set, for a showcase in the final week. For 18+ yrs.
A Course For Kings
Strap in lads, this year is - yet again - The Year Of The King. So come and explore gender in performance, take up space, draw on a beard and learn how to be whatever your version of a drag king is, with Len Blanco. This course will take you through different approaches to creating material for a 3-5 minute act, build your confidence and performance skills, and help you develop your personal drag aesthetic, for a showcase in the final week. Along the way you'll be part of a mini community of people on the same journey. For 18+ yrs.
If you’re writing a longer set, or working on a full length show for a tour or festivals, a director can help facilitate your vision. Sessions can be tailored to meet your exact requirements, but can include the entire process, from devising and dramaturgy, through to technical rehearsals, previews and opening night.
Comedy Courses for 13-17 year olds
For anyone under 18, comedy can be a great way to unleash creativity and build confidence. Our courses are in stand up, or mixed comedy genres, including sketch, musical and character comedy and improv. The courses coincide with term times and school holidays.
Corporate Comedy Workshops
A series of workshops designed to cover your company’s specific needs, from team bonding and presenting skills, to exploring equality and inclusion through shared comedy experiences.
If any of these float your boat, take a look at the further details, register your interest or find out how to book here.
Above Your Nerve is a Theatre Company specialising in comedy and new writing.
We are dedicated to finding and nurturing emerging voices. If you have any questions, please get in touch!
I'm Gemma Leader, a London based comedy facilitator, director and performer. I've been teaching stand up at Soho Theatre, since 2012. If you'd like to know more about me, or our other facilitators and what we do, click below.
"I would recommend AYN to anyone who has ever wondered if they have it in them to perform stand-up comedy. Of all the things I’ve been taught or learnt, nothing has been clearer or as bang on the money as all the things Gemma advised and taught in the lessons. I literally felt my technique improving weekly and felt like I was in safe hands throughout, so thanks so much to Gemma, for being SO good at their job, as well as being so reassuring and encouraging! I’ve also formed a network with other AYN graduates after the course, which is more than I could have expected or imagined. Truly was a joy and a journey!"
"You need to do this course! If you’ve always wanted to have a go at stand up, or even if you’ve never given it a second thought. I was terrified taking the leap but I’m so thankful I did. Gemma and the group made me feel totally at ease from the beginning and comfortable enough to write my own comedy set, week by week. Everyone is so supportive and you feel safe and encouraged at every opportunity. I genuinely can’t believe how professional and slick our final showcase was! I’m now a fully fledged AYN junkie and I’ve been crying in the corner ever since the course ended, wondering what I’m supposed to do with my life now…”
Gemma is a fantastic tutor, she knows her stuff and teaches the building blocks any budding comic will need, but far more importantly she creates collaborative, supportive and positive environments which allow you to be the most creative version of yourself. On the writing, when you hit that comedy cul de sac (and everybody does) Gemma is professionally funny and can help you navigate back out. Overall the workshops will elevate and positively challenge your writing and performance so that you end up with a wonderful set, that’s true to you.”
"Molly is an excellent facilitator. She held the space really well, giving us time to check in and out and holding boundaries well which made me feel very safe, comfortable and respected. We were provided plenty of inspiration early on and throughout the course, whether watching clips or meeting Len for a Q&A session, which was really useful. The reassurance that our acts could be low budget and still be impressive, this felt like a really inclusive aspect of the course. I also liked the way in which the course was framed to teach us about what it was like to be a jobbing cabaret performer and gave us skills we could apply in the real world.”
"I have been wanting to do a stand up comedy course for a long time. So when this opportunity came in I had high hopes. Gemma's course was beyond my expectations. Each week, focusing on a different side of this particular skill and making writing a set less scary, Gemma is always available for everyone and made a safe space for all of us to be as creative and funny as we possibly could. We all became friends, who want to gig together and I'm a firm believer Gemma created that.”
"Firstly, a huge THANK YOU to Molly and Gemma! You have both encouraged me so much throughout the course, to live my authentic self at all times, and for that I can’t thank you enough. Above Your Nerve creates such a wonderful inclusive, diverse, and queer safe space where you can bear it all, and I think that came well and truly into fruition at the showcase. Every week there was a clear plan of what we would be doing, and plenty of opportunity to thrive and create in a safe queer space. There was a wonderful mix of theory, review and practical exercises and sessions. Some particular highlights were the guest appearance from King Len Blenco, and the dress run and feedback.”
"Gemma is such a great teacher. She gave really specific, tailored feedback and advice to each and every one of us in the group, on our writing and delivery. I had a bit of a crisis in confidence part way through the course and she was hugely encouraging and I'm so glad to have stuck with it. She helped me find the funny in what I was writing and then gave me the confidence to actually perform it. What's more, it was really good fun."
"Gemma is not only a comic genius, but an amazing teacher. She explains comedy well, she is very responsive when sending her material to review, and also she's just a really genuinely lovely person - she really wants you to do well."
“Gemma deserves more than these two sentences on a web page for you to fully appreciate who you’re working with. If you’ve got as far as reading this and you’re considering learning from Gemma then go on, do it. Gemma will help you explore your creativity with honesty, if you are new to this world then she’ll be kind and best of all you’ll laugh along the way"
“Working with Gemma during the 8 weeks was inspiring and that’s what you need in the room for comedy…someone that inspires great ideas and pushes you to find more in yourself and in your jokes. Plus she’s a good laugh.”
"Gemma has been so helpful to my stand-up writing. It is such a bizarre industry, but doing the sessions with Gemma and hearing her feedback really has given me the tools and tricks necessary to structure my stand-up sets and given me more confidence in my joke writing. Her feedback has always been so detailed, honest, and constructive. And also she is a lovely person and so easy to chat to!"
Maybe you're a beginner and want a safe space to try stand up or cabaret and drag for the first time. Maybe you've been gigging for a while and are looking to build on your techniques and skills. You might be a stand up working on your first full length show and want some support and feedback. Check out our FAQs to see how Above Your Nerve can help you!
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