School of Comedy is a comedy club with a difference. It may be based in a small theatre above a pub but, unlike its many counterparts, there are no audience-baiting MCs or grizzled circuit veterans here. Rather, this is a club in which children are the stars.

School of Comedy is an after-school group, led by drama teachers Laura Lawson and Tara Carr, based at Turnham Green’s Tabard Theatre, that enables youngsters to learn the art of comedy as they are taught to create sketches and stand-up routines in which they play adult characters.

Lawson brought School of Comedy to the Tabard three years ago after starting it at the Harrodian School, in Barnes, where she was teaching at the time.

“I was part of a comedy double-act and I loved it but the rejection was so incred-ible,” she says.

“I then fell into teaching by accident. It was an epiphany when I had the idea of children doing comedy.

“I saw that kids had a massive passion for mimicking adults and comedy sketches they see on TV but there wasn’t really a place for them to do it. We felt it was inspiring to watch kids playing adults and doing comedy and we wanted to give them a platform do it in a professional environment.”

At present two different groups of youngsters, aged from six to 15, meet once a week at the Tabard and the school is flourishing, having been given its own TV series, School of Comedy, which began on E4 last week.

Despite this success and exposure, Lawson and Carr are both dedicated to maintaining the club’s home-grown ethos.

“We have never really publicised the school because we don’t want it to be a commercial thing and we never want too many classes so that Laura and I couldn’t lead them,” says Carr.

“We want to run every class with every child. There is something very family-orientated about it.”

The TV show features some risqué material from the older teenagers but, while the children are encouraged to let their imaginations run riot in class, the sessions are tightly monitored.

“It is inherent in children to be naughty, particularly the ones who come here,” says Lawson. “It is about encouraging them but making sure they stick within boundaries.”

At the end of each course, the groups perform a show at the Tabard and Lawson says the parents who come enjoy themselves almost as much as the children.

“Parents always love it,” says Carr. “Not all of the participants are ‘drama kids’. You get a lot of boys who wouldn’t necessarily be into drama but they love the comedy and so parents get to see their children in a different light.”

Lawson adds: “I want to make sure every child doing comedy here has the most amazing experience.

“We attract the sort of child who may not be the most confident girl or the boy who is the best at football but they are quirky and there is something special there.”