This assembly for secondary schools discusses the charity event Red Nose Day. It uses dialogue to present and evaluate the work of Comic Relief. The script may be adapted to take account of any planned school involvement
A leader and two readers – the first reader is enthusiastic about Red Nose Day, while the second has doubts.
Reader 1: (Enthusiastic) Good morning everybody! There’s not long to go now. Make sure you’ve all got one of these![Puts on a red nose]
Reader 2: Hold on, hold on. What do you think you are doing?
Reader 1: I’m reminding everybody about Red Nose Day. It’s going to be great fun. Better than ever! Everybody who is anybody will be into Red Nose Day! Sporting Heroes! TV Personalities! So it’s time to get with it! Jump onto the bandwagon! Go with the flow! Be part of the gang!
Reader 2: (sounding bored) And when is this supposed to happen?
Reader 1: Red Nose Day is on Friday March 13th this year, and our school is going to [have a non-uniform day….? Explain.]
Reader 2: We’re not there yet. There’s another [X] days to go… Just take that nose off for a minute will you?
Reader 1: [Takes off the nose] If you insist. But why?
Reader 2: I’m taking a break from Red Nose day this year.
Reader 1: You want to miss all the fun?
Reader 2: No. I just want to make my own fun. I don’t need sporting heroes to tell me what to do. And I think that that Red Nose day is well past its sell by date
Reader 1: Oh no, it’s not!
Reader 2: Oh yes, it is!
Reader 1: Oh no, it’s not!
Leader: (intervening) That’s enough, you two…
Reader 1: But s/he ‘s a spoilsport! I’m trying to get everyone ready for Red Nose Day and s/he keeps trying to put them off…
Leader: If you’re so keen on Red Nose Day, let’s see what you know about it. When did it start?
Reader 1: A long time ago. In 1985.
Leader: Correct, and how did it start?
Reader 1: Back in the 1984 there was a terrible famine in Ethiopia. People saw it on television and wanted to help. Then Sir Bob Geldof organised the great Live Aid Concert – and soon after that the charity Comic Relief was set up.
Leader: And who set it up?
Reader 1: Comic Relief was founded by a comedy scriptwriter Richard Curtis and launched on Noel Edmonds’s Late, Late Breakfast Show on Christmas Day 1985. They got the Red Nose idea [show Red Nose] from the red noses worn by clowns. The plan was to raise money by being funny. And Red Nose Day has been getting bigger and better ever since. Just think of all the great songs that come out, year after year!
Leader: Tell us about them. What was the first?
Reader 1: The first Comic Relief charity single was released in April 1986. Cliff Richard and the cast of The Young Ones sang ’Living Doll’.
Leader: I can see that you’ve been doing your homework. And which song was launched in, say, 1987?
Reader 1: ‘Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree.’
Leader: Right again. And in 1997?
Reader 1: ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ with the Spice Girls.
Leader: And let’s try 2005?
Reader 1: ‘This is the way to Amarillo’. [To Reader 2] Like I keep telling you. Red Nose Day’s a great idea, so why don’t you put this nose on?
Reader 2: (Still doubtful) I don’t mind people having a laugh to raise money for good causes. But why let somebody else decide how to spend it? Do you really think that a bunch of comedians know what to do with other people’s money?
Leader: That’s a good question. [To Reader 1] What’s the answer?
Reader 1: The comedians help to raise the money, but they don’t get to spend it. Comic relief has a Board of Trustees, and they take advice from experts who make sure that the money isn’t wasted. They also stick to the ‘Golden Pound Principle’, which means that every single pound that you raise is spent on charitable projects.
Reader 2: How on earth can they do that? Who pays for the salaries and the office and the website?
Reader 1: That’s all covered by ‘corporate sponsors’ – big companies who chip in – or from interest on money in the bank. So you see, Red Nose Day really does make a difference.
Reader 2: Go on. Convince me. Tell me where the money goes.
Reader 1: Let’s start with Africa. Liberia is a country which has been torn apart by civil war. Most people over there don’t have TV but they do listen to the radio. And sometimes their local radio has made matters worse by spreading hatred and rumours. So now Comic Relief is backing local radio stations that help young people to talk to each other, to be truthful and friendly share accurate news. They get training in script writing and broadcasting too. That costs £123,765 and I reckon it’s worth every penny. Isn’t that worth wearing a red nose for day? [Offers the Red Nose]
Reader 2: I’m sure Africa needs lots help, but charity begins at home. How about helping people in this country too?
Reader 1: Quite right. Comic Relief plays at home as well as away. It’s trying to do something about binge drinking in north Glasgow, where too many young people have got drunk and ended up in court. Just listen to this: (reads) ‘The Ruchill Youth Project aims to reduce under-age drinking by giving young people thedence to help them not to feel pressurised into drinking and to challenge the perception of alcohol being fun and acceptable.’ They’ve got a grant of £99,538. to last 3 years.
Leader: That sounds good. [To Reader 2] Are you convinced?
Reader 2: Give me that Red Nose. I may put it on later. Wait and see.
Leader: And here at school we are planning to…[Discussion may follow]
Leader: Red Nose Day is a time to ‘do something funny for money’. And that’s fine, because most people like a good laugh. And that includes those of us who give the money , and those who get it as well.
People who are poor often enjoy a bit of ’comic relief’. It helps them to face up to their troubles. But there’s nothing really funny about feeling hungry, or falling ill when you can’t afford a doctor.
So now let’s spend a moment thinking quietly about Red Nose Day − or if you like, praying; because, for people who believe in God, praying IS a special way of thinking – sending good thoughts to God and getting good ideas from God.
And, so praying or thinking, let’s join our good wishes together.[Pause]
Reader 1: Let’s make Red Nose Day a big success – on television and all over the country, with plenty of good ideas and lots of laughs.
Reader 2: And lots of money raised – and plenty of goodwill to go with it.[Pause]
Reader 1: Let‘s say a big ‘thank you’ to the celebrities who help to raise money for Comic Relief, and to the Trustees of Comic Relief, and all the work they do in sharing out the money.
Reader 2: Let’s wish health and happiness to everyone who gets help from the money that comes from people being funny.[Pause]
Reader 1: And may our laughter never be nasty.
Reader 2: But always be filled with love.
Leader: Filled with love
This e-bulletin issue was first published in March 2009
About the author: John Coutts has worked as secondary school principal in Nigeria, taught RE in Scotland, and has been involved in teaching and teacher training at the University of Greenwich. He has written and presented many scripts for the BBC and other broadcasters, and currently works as a freelance writer, poet and performer.