Manchester mental health comedy night aims to break stigma with laughs aplenty

Aussie comic Ro Campbell will be showcasing his brand of cheeky – and slightly dark – humour at a mental health comedy night which is taking Manchester by storm.

Barking Tales, a unique comedy night with the focus very much on mental health, is the brainchild of Harriet Dyer.

It’s a night for sufferers of mental health issues to feel comfortable in discussing the topic openly, with supporters of those affected also welcome to the events.

Dyer said: “From the feedback the night’s got I think people benefit. The majority of the audience suffer with mental health issues themselves and I remember on the first night someone tweeted after saying, ‘Finally, a place where we can be ourselves for a couple of hours’, which is lovely.”

Dyer hopes the comedy night, which takes place at Joshua Brooks on the first Wednesday of every month, will grow in Manchester and eventually expand to other cities in the UK.

She said: “A bunch of regulars come and more and more people seem to be hearing about it so that’s good – I’m hoping it builds and builds and more and more well known acts will come on.”

On whether it is difficult for the comedians to write comedy about mental health Dyer said: “It’s often about sharing things that they haven’t been able to do at other gigs and trying to find some material in that.

“The audiences know what they’re getting and I think for everyone involved it’s often quite cathartic.”

The profits from the events go to Manchester Mind, which also aims to challenge stereotypes surrounding mental health.

Dyer said: “I think a lot of these charities are doing great work and are often really underfunded. I want to be able to give to other charities too like Moodswings Manchester who have been great to me.”

“I’m well aware that in the scheme of things this is all very small but if more people openly talk about mental health, people that have mental health issues won’t feel as alienated.”

This month’s event is at Joshua Brooks on Wednesday October 7 at 7:30pm. Tickets are available here.

For more information follow Barking Tales on Twitter.

Main image courtesy of Ro Campbell, via YouTube, with thanks.

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