We are aiming to start at least two new groups per season to continue to provide amazing performance opportunities for people who have done course with us, to grow new shows from scratch and to grow the improv scene in exciting new directions.
House team process
New Auditions announced at least once per season on this page and through twitter (@HooplaImpro) and facebook page (HooplaImpro) and facebook group (Hoopla Impro People).
Application over email.
Currently every other week on Saturday afternoons or Monday evenings.
Series of Thursday night Clubhouse shows and additional mini-shows.
Ongoing rehearsals and development.
Performing at our main weekend nights. Depending on the suitability of the show and availability at our main nights.
Festivals (TBC) and online videos (TBC) to bring the show to a wider audience.
Some of the House Shows we put on will be for a limited run, and some we put together we’ll aim to make an ongoing thing.
Directors for our House Shows come from our teaching team, but we may expand this to include other Directors next year.
How auditions work and how to do them
Improv auditions vary from show to show. Some of them have a group warm up at the start and some of them go straight into scenes. They all tend to mainly focus on improvised two person scenes from suggestion, as that’s the main thing most improv forms have in common. There are sometimes then some larger 3-4 people scenes or scenes or games specific to the show.
When you are on stage with someone at an audition you are not in competition with them. The job of an improviser is to make each other look good, and this is especially true for auditions. The basics of listen, agree, yes and are the best things to focus on in an audition and what we look for most. So being in competition with your scene partner in an audition is counter-productive.
Auditions may feel like a competition and they can feel like a difficult atmosphere because of that, but we are looking for improvisers who can see through all that and focus on supporting each other around them, helping others to relax and basically have a good time. This comes with practice so we recommend taking advantage of as many performing opportunities as possible and going to as many auditions as possible to build up experience.
At improv auditions it’s usually best to focus on the basics. Listening, agreement, yes and, who what where, building relationships. These things done well are always what we look for. Things to avoid are playing overly negative scenes or aggressive characters, as we’re looking for people who can lift the room.
You don’t have to be perfect. The show rehearsal process is where we make the show. So don’t worry about mistakes, just brush them off and get back on stage. In fact being able to laugh at mistakes is actually likely to get you into a team.
Auditions are also a great way to meet other people who are also interested in performing.
How we choose people from auditions
The director of the show is running the audition but in charge of selection. We also have an independent person to take notes and lead the selection process. This is so the selection is based on the audition only and there isn’t a bias from the director if they already know people as friends or from courses.
How well the cast know the director doesn’t come into selection as there is an independent person there who is responsible for making sure the audition is fair and based on what’s happened on the actual day.
If people want notes regards the audition they are welcome to request this afterwards. Due to volume of applications and limited resources we are unable to write up detailed notes for each person unless this is directly requested.
At most of the auditions we’ve found the selection breaks down as follows:
10% are very ready to be the in the show, they have a huge amount of previous experience, are very comfortable in the auditions and supporting everyone around them and helping everyone have a good time. Both the director and independent person think they are ready and they are automatically offered a place in a show.
80% could do the show, and have great improv skills, but for various reasons weren’t quite in the top 10%. Usually they just haven’t got the previous experience behind them to give them the full confidence and skills for an audition. But we’re still very keen to put as many as possible in the show as our aim at Hoopla is to give people the experience they need. This section is very difficult for us to select from. The director and independent person discuss each person, and any they both agree on are offered a place. If two people are equal then we will prioritise giving a place to someone who has done their training with Hoopla, as we need to make sure we are giving our students opportunities. Also if two people are equal regards improv experience and audition we will prioritise giving the place to people who help improve the diversity of the show.
This means there are often lots of people in the middle 80% who could have been in the show but we just didn’t have space for. This can be demoralising for them so we do encourage them to take advantage of other performing opportunities and try again next time.
10% don’t have any previous improv performing experience and aren’t ready to be in the show, usually due to heavy amounts of blocking or lack of listening in the audition. We still have a huge amount of respect for them and would welcome them back at future auditions once they have built up more experience through jams, classes or independent groups.
We also make sure we have a balanced diversity of genders and background across our House Teams, which we manage by having multiple places we advertise casting and independent people overseeing the process to ensure there isn’t subconscious bias when casting.
What to do if you don’t make an audition
Don’t give up.
It’s very rare for someone to make it into a show at their first ever improv audition. The more auditions you do the more you’ll learn and the more likely you are likely to get into a later show.
If you don’t make a show the best thing to do is make the most of all the other performing opportunities out there. Go to jams, form your own group and basically just do as much improv on stage as you can. When people apply for shows we have huge respect for people who’ve previously started their own shows or been to lots of jams. We also have space and support for people who have formed their own groups.
We don’t forget people who audition with us. In fact quite the opposite. We have a huge amount of respect for people who put themselves forwards for auditions and keep them on a list for future opportunities.
We also have a huge respect for people who audition for multiple shows. This shows a commitment and will power that we want to work with. We recently offered a place to someone in a show who had just missed out at three previous auditions. When a place in a show opened up she was top of the list.
Going to auditions gets you known as someone who is brave and interested in performing, so even if you don’t get into that particular show it’s still a good way to meet like-minded people.
Hoopla itself started from not getting into an audition. Before Hoopla we were doing improv for fun at workshops but nobody wanted us in their shows. We tried auditions but couldn’t get in. So we started our own regular practice session, formed our own group and 14 years later we’re the UK’s biggest improv company. Badaboom badabing.
So if you don’t get in it doesn’t mean do less, it means do more. Go big.
Castings (new castings coming soon)
THE ALL SINGING SPARKLY MUSICAL SHORT-FORM SHOW! (CASTING COMPLETE)
We’re forming a team for an ongoing musical short- form show! There will be improvised scenes into song, mini-musicals, rap battles, improvised mini-operas, improvised choirs, and lots of musical improv games classic and new. Most of all you will gradually be developing a really fun show for a mainstream audience.
We’re looking for both improvisers AND musicians.
Hoopla will cover rehearsal room hire, teacher fees, marketing costs and fully support the show with lots of performance slots and promo at our venue. So this is a great opportunity to rehearse and perform regularly as part of a committed team.
The show is directed by Phil Lunn who has been running our musical improv course for years, performs internationally in his solo musical improv show Phil Lunn Is… and has previously been musical director of both News Revue and Music Box and more.
Who we are looking for
Improvisers with experience of improvised singing. Please don’t apply if you don’t have previous improvised singing experience or are not confident singing on stage in front of an audience. If you don’t have experience of improvised singing it might be better to look at our musical improv course instead.
We are also looking for musicians who Phil could train up in improvised music to support the show. The idea is to build up a great team of improvisers, singers and musicians working together as one team to create a great new show.
There is a choice of 2 audition dates:
Monday 10th September 2018, 7pm
Monday 17th September 2018, 7pm
Auditions will be held at The Kobi Nazrul Centre, 30 Hanbury Street, London, E1 6QR (Liverpool Street tube).
All rehearsals are 7pm – 9pm at The Kobi Nazrul Centre, 30 Hanbury Street, London, E1 6QR (Liverp0ol Street tube).
You will need to be able to attend at least 5 of the 6 rehearsals and first rehearsal is essential. People not at rehearsals won’t be able to do the shows directly after the missed rehearsal. Cast members who regularly miss rehearsals or are late will be asked to leave the group, so please only apply if you can be reliable for rehearsals.
Monday 1st October 2018
Monday 15th October 2018
Monday 29th October 2018
Monday 12th November 2018
Monday 26th November 2018
Monday 10th December 2018
You will be part of our new weekly Thursday night of the new house teams we are developing. We’ve already started two new teams this year and will be developing more over the rest of this season. We’ll start with short shows so you can build up experience gradually, and then gradually build up to longer shows over the season.
You don’t have to be able to make all shows, as we will have a large enough cast to cover these shows.
Thursday 4th October 2018
Thursday 11th October 2018
Thursday 18th October
Thursday 15th November
Thursday 22nd November
Thursday 29th November
Thursday 6th December
Thursday 13th December
Saturday 15th December
If the shows have worked out and we have a regularly rehearsing committed team we will potentially extend the show with fortnightly rehearsals and shows ongoing after Christmas.
The shows are free to the audience so this run is unpaid so is to be done for fun and experience only. Hoopla will cover rehearsal room hire, teaching fees and marketing costs so there shouldn’t be any cost to the performers.
To Apply for Audition:
Application deadline is by 10pm Thursday 6th September 2018.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with:
– Your name.
– Your email address and telephone number.
– 1-2 paragraphs of your improv, singing, musical or acting training.
– 1-2 paragraphs of your improv performing experience.
– Your preferred audition date.
– Acting CV (if you have one).
– Spotlight or Casting Call Pro link (if you have one).