Barcoo shire in Western Queensland is home to approximately 340 people living over a vast area of 61,974 sq km. It is one of the many local councils in Queensland affected by drought.
Distance, time and drought conditions can limit opportunities to attend and participate in community events in Barcoo, impacting on the wellbeing of individuals as well as the overall community. Attempts to provide opportunities to socialise such as afternoon teas are often attended by women with few men attending.
With this in mind, the Windorah Development Board hosted a free-event, which would also attract male residents, to lift community spirits and promote healthy socialisation in the community. The Board secured comedy entertainer Mandy Nolan to travel to Windorah to conduct a comedy workshop, Dry Humour – Breaking the drought with laughter, and a stand-up comedy show.
The three-hour workshop and event were well received and the evening stand-up comedy show attracted over 100 attendees. Dinner was also provided on the night by the Rotary Club of Longreach followed by a dance.
Tourists who were staying in the area attended and audience members travelled from Jundah (97.6km from Windorah) and Quilpie (246.5km from Windorah) to take part in the show.
$4270 – Regional Arts Development Fund
The whole of shire was able to get involved in the “Laughter in the Outback” workshop. The opportunity for men especially, in these drought times was very well received. It gave everyone the chance to have a night of comedic relief and forget about the tough times for a few hours.
The writing workshop [allowed] them [participants] to express feelings and ideas that otherwise may have been bottled up and become unhealthy.
The Laughter in the Outback project has been considered a success in providing an outlet for locals facing challenges due to isolation and the drought.
The Windorah Development Board had the following advice for others regarding undertaking similar project:
“Just get out there and put on a show for the whole community to help with depression and alleviate stress.”
A pdf version of this case study (PDF) (407.39 KB) is available.