Rush on for a good belly laugh from Jesters

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 11/08/2011
Court Jesters
DEAN KOZANIC/The Press

CHEER UP: Court Jesters Scott Koorey, left, manager Kirsty Gillespie, Daniel Pengelly and Emma Brittenden, perfect their skills so they can meet a busy schedule.

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Christchurch businesses are sending in the clowns, turning to the Court Jesters to cheer up earthquake-weary staff.

The improvisation troupe has 26 corporate events booked for this month and next, compared with just five for the same months last year.

Christchurch accountancy firm Leech & Partners is one of the businesses that has employed the Jesters since the February quake.

The company was based in the Pyne Gould Corporation building. A director died, two staff were seriously injured and 11 were trapped in the building when it collapsed.

Director Chris Heffernan employed the Jesters to entertain staff during part of the company's annual conference.

"We had lots of very serious things to talk about, but they lightened the mood," he said.

"Bringing something light to the conference was very important to us. Something like the Jesters, where people had a belly laugh, lightened things a bit," Heffernan said.

Court Jesters manager Kirsty Gillespie said Christchurch workers needed a morale boost.

"A large number of people are contacting us and saying they just need a good get-together for the staff to lift morale. On top of the personal situation, there is the stress of your business not being as profitable as it was or there are redundancies," she said.

"There is nothing quite like going somewhere in good company and having a good belly laugh."

Arrow International southern director Tom Clisby booked the Jesters for his staff. The project management company's headquarters in Latimer Square was badly damaged and has been demolished, but no staff were hurt.

Clisby said staff had been working hard since the February quake on projects.

"We have been very busy and working very long and stressful hours with the earthquake work we have been involved in. We just wanted to relax and have a good night," he said.

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- The Press

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