Sunday, September 27, 2015
They say laughter is the best medicine. In the case of Bart Sumner, this is probably true. Sumner’s, a professional actor/screenwriter/teacher is the creator and founder of Healing Improv, a non-profit that provides no-cost Comedy Improv Grief Workshops for those struggling with grief.
The workshops are designed to bring a fun and healing experience to individuals or group organizations. Through the use of comedy improv games and exercises, they will help break down emotional barriers, increase communication with others, and shine a light on the fact that even in the darkest times, there is a light forward to a life of joy and hope.
Sumner started this group after his 10-year-old son David died in 2009 during a football practice. He says it kept his emotions open and flowing and taught him that laughing and enjoying life, even in the midst of tragedy, was not only acceptable, but it was downright necessary.
“It allowed me to flex the emotional muscles, making it easier to direct the sadness into constructive grieving,” he said. “It didn’t stop my tears; in fact, they flowed more freely, but that is the goal. Grief is not something you can beat or avoid, it is a necessary process that you must go through and emerge from ready to move forward with life.”
He adds that learning to laugh again, surrounded by others who have suffered a similar loss, keeps the emotions open, allowing you to recognize your emotions and channel them into the healing we all need. Much like tears and sadness, laughter is an uncontrollable reflex emotion that comes whether you want it to or not.
No-Cost Adult Comedy Improv Grief Workshops are two hours long, as are youth and family workshops, sharing personal stories and them playing improve games designed to open up emotional channels and laugh in a safe sharing environment full of new friends that understand what you are experiencing. The next one is Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015. Call 818-784-2007 for more information.
Sumners also recently delivered the closing Keynote speech at the Bereaved Parents USA National Gathering in July as well as other workshops around the country for different grief organizations. He is the author of “Healing Improv: A Journey Through Grief To Laughter,” which chronicles his personal grief journey among other things.
“This workshop made me cry, laugh and helped me begin to understand. Sumner takes you down the rabbit hole with him, but throws you the rope of hope and laughter to pull yourself out,” said Steven Green comedy/author/acting instructor.
“We strive to give people a chance to break free from stifling grief with others who understand, through laughter, energy and love. If you or someone you know needs this in their lives, we welcome you with open arms. It saved me. It can do the same for you,” said Sumner.