Minutes from the Laughter Olympics - Manchester
June 2012–07–22 by Betty Abugheida
The Ha Ha project culminated in a week long laughter olympics held in
A senior participant from France, who had attended the mobilities in
Germany, England and France attended and represented France during the
two day olympics event.
The days prior to the olympics consisted of workshops held in a
variety of community spaces
The build up to the actual laughter run off included speakers on the
importance of laughter, films on laughter by noted experts, reports
from various trained laughter specialists from various regions of
England, etc. Approximately 40 people attended this event, mainly from
England but with representatives from Paris and Frankfurt.
During the actual laughter contest, contestents were asked to draw
directive cards indicating the type of laughter they were to portray.
A German psychologist acted as judge and the French representative
served as the laughter police person who indicated when to start and
Approximately one hundred people from the broader community plus the
regular particapants were present and actively participated.
A rather large contingent of mentally and physically impaired persons
were present and participated with great enthusiasm. Those who were
able went on stage and those in wheel chairs cheered them on. They
certainly benefited by augmenting their self confidence and social
competence. Several of these participants won prizes and the
psychologist gave the cheerleaders in wheelchairs ribbons and medals.
The effect of this was heart warming.
The French delegate spent time with two English delegates over lunch
and breakfast in their homes and profiting from a guest room in a
senior facility where one of them lives which was a beneficial
experience because the French delegate is trying to establish a
bilingual senior residence in Paris and this gave her a chance to
directly witness how a facility of this type operates in Manchester.