Raising life saving funds through laughter

The team at Harmless are so grateful for the support of Jack, who will be fundraising for us. Jack is hosting a comedy night in Leeds in honor of the tragic death of his friend Ciera. Please take a moment to read the blog below, written by Jack.

Link to event: https://www.facebook.com/events/378058449292414/

Details:
The Pit, 9 Merrion Street, Leeds, LS1 6PQ
23rd November 19:30-23:30

I met Ciera at 11 years old when we first started high school. I remember thinking at this age she was kind of odd but funny and unbelievably intelligent. We grew closer over the following year when I started to question my sexuality and didn’t feel comfortable in a group of all boys. We formed a strong group of friends, we always thought of ourselves as the outsiders. We were a smart group, with artsy types and high achievers. Ciera encompassed everything that made our group special; she had brains, she could play multiple instruments, she could sing, she was interested in literature, film, videogames, science and was just a generally the loveliest human being.

But Ciera – like so many – had mental health problems. I’m not exactly sure when they started, but I don’t remember a time when she wasn’t on some sort of anti-depressant. She also self-harmed throughout school. She had ups and downs but sadly in the summer of last year Ciera was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Harrogate and it was here she entered a war with herself, a war she wouldn’t overcome.

On November 17th 2016 I received the news that Ciera had taken her own life.

It took me months to pull myself together after this news, Ciera was like a sister to me. I miss her so much I often can’t think about it too hard as It just upsets me. But one thing that sticks with me that she always tried get me to do, was follow up on my creative influences. A month before she passed away we met up and chatting about everything from our families to our beautiful cats and one thing I said I wanted to attempt was stand-up comedy. To some this might have sounded like it came from nowhere, but I wrote comedy screenplays in university and received acclaim from everyone. However, trying to get short films and televisions from the page to screen is a near impossible task. So I floated the idea of stand-up to fill the void of a creative outlet and Ciera told me to just do it! Well you know what Ciera, I bloody did!

 I had my first gig following a comedy course through Laugh at Leeds in August. It didn’t go great but the bits that did gave me the taste for it. Dissatisfied with the lack of open mic nights in Leeds for newcomers I set up my own night at my former place of employment The Pit in Leeds City Centre. The Pit were a little reluctant to try it as it had never been tried before in the company. However, they said if I managed to get around 30 people in the audience I could make it a monthly event. We got almost double that for the first night, despite awful lighting and sound issues.

So here we are almost exactly a year since we lost my dear friend and The Pit Comedy Club will return on Thursday 23rd November. Though it’s still a night with free entry for new comedians and established acts trying new material; I will be trying to raise funds for the charity Harmless, the charity picked by Ciera’s family on her funeral. I think there’s something quite poetic about raising money for a charity dedicated to helping those that self-harm with fun and laughter. I wish Ciera could be here to laugh obnoxiously along with us, she wasn’t one for being the centre of attention but I think she would be happy that her tragic passing might go towards helping others going through what she went through. I hope people in Leeds will absolutely pack out The Pit on the 23rd November, so we can raise loads of money.

 I will be compering as my Drag Queen alter ego Laura Cruise and we have some keen and brilliant acts that will entertain the masses and help us deliver the best Pit Comedy Club we have had so far.

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