Hoopla!

Hoopla Impro Newsletter


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Hoopla are opening the doors to more improvisers and more groups than ever!


Please write to HooplaShows@gmail.com.

(Please note our new email address for show enquiries)


Hoopla are open to everyone and welcome all styles of improv. Hoopla are the founders of the UK’s first ever Improv Comedy Club with a fun variety of improv shows every week. From September Hoopla are taking over the upstairs at The Miller in London Bridge and will have more performing opportunities than ever for improv groups.


We support all styles of improv and have a variety of styles of improv each night including short-form games, scenes, long-form, narrative, clown, improvised plays, improvised films and improv musicals.


We are open to everyone and support everyone from beginner improvisers and new performers to experienced professional groups. We are constantly working to improve the diversity of the improv scene.


We aim to build an ongoing community of improvisers, audience and volunteers to continue to help make improv awesome.


Hoopla also put on additional events like improv networking, jams and socials to help grow the flourishing UK improv community.


Hoopla also aim to provide safe and supportive events and socials where people new to London can join a community and make new friends.


We are now putting on more shows and events than ever and are looking for shows, producers, directors and volunteers to join our team.


What we’re looking for in general


Fun. Supports the whole night and improv scene.


We’re looking for groups that care passionately about the improv scene and want to work with us to help, support and promote both their own shows and other people’s shows and Hoopla and the improv community in general.


We’re being very ambitious with the number of shows we will put on this season and next so we’re looking to form a larger team of groups, improvisers, producers, hosts and volunteers that want to support each other.


Artistically we are looking to represent all styles of improv; short-form, long-form, narrative, musical and more are all welcome.


Most of all we’re looking for groups that are fun and care about giving the audience a good time. Especially the audience that are new to improv; we care about our audience and are looking for groups that want to give great first time improv experiences to new audiences.


What we’re looking for day by day


Saturday Night Main Shows. 8pm or 9pm. 30 - 40 minutes:

- Well known groups that are already established.

- Groups that regularly bring in a mainstream audience.

- Groups that can help extensively on marketing and promoting.

- Groups that have a great show.

- Previous examples at Hoopla include Showstoppers, Austentatious, Mischief Theatre, Glenda J Collective, Grand Theft Impro.


Saturday Night Mini Shows. 8pm or 9pm. 5 - 15 minutes:

- For groups that have a great show but haven’t performed much at weekends yet and don’t necessarily have a big audience base.

- For promising groups to gradually build up wider audience exposure.

- Random fun things for a weekend audience!


Saturday Night Early Spots. 6:30pm. 5 - 15 minutes:

- A free improv community show before our main show.

- A place for new groups to build up experience in front of each other and a smaller crowd.

- A chance for us to see new groups and support them into the wider improv scene.

- The new home for our Launch Pad and Hoopla Formations Shows.


Saturday Night Late Night. 10pm - Late:

- Producers who want to put on something suitable for a late night audience that brings different improv groups together.


Friday Night Main Shows. 8pm or 9pm. 30 - 40 minutes:

- Similar to Saturday shows but able to cope with a sometimes slightly more boisterous crowd.

- Well known groups that are already established.

- Groups that regularly bring in a mainstream audience.

- Groups that can help extensively on marketing and promoting.

- Groups that have a great show.

- Examples at Hoopla include The Playground, Glitch Cabaret, Guest Speaker.


Friday Night Mini Shows. 8pm or 9pm. 5 - 15 minutes:

- For groups that have a great show but haven’t performed much at weekends yet and don’t necessarily have a big audience base.

- For promising groups to gradually build up wider audience exposure.

- Random fun things for a weekend audience!


Thursday Night Main Shows. 8pm or 9pm. 30 minutes:

- We’re treating Thursday as a mainstream show now and are looking for acts suitable for a wider audience.

- A great opportunity for groups to perform longer sets.

- Groups performing the 30 minute set will need a clear idea of how they will help bring in an audience.


Thursday Night Mini Shows. 8pm or 9pm. 5 - 15 minutes:

- High energy fun things!

- If you want to put together a short thing that’s fun for the audience, this is a good spot.


Thursday Night Whole Night. 8pm - 10pm:

- We’re looking for Producers who want to take over occasional one-off nights on Thursdays or Wednesdays.

- Previous successful examples include the Zeal Festival as part of Pride, and the One Show that united solo improvisers into one show.

- We’re looking for strong themes that unite different improvisers and different improv groups together and strengthen the improv community.

- Producers should also have a good understanding of how to promote their show and bring in an audience.


Wednesday Night Main Shows. 8pm or 9pm. 30 minutes:

- Wednesdays we’re trying to have lots of different groups involved, but still very suitable for a wider mainstream audience so we are always showing the best improv we can.

- A great opportunity for groups to perform longer sets.

- Groups performing the 30 minute set will still need a clear idea of how they will help bring in an audience.


Wednesday Night Mini Shows. 8pm or 9pm. 5 - 15 minutes:

- High energy fun things!

- If you want to put together a short thing that’s fun for the audience, this is a good spot.


Wednesday Whole Night. 8pm - 10pm:

- We’re looking for Producers who want to take over occasional one-off nights on Thursdays or Wednesdays.

- Previous successful examples include the Zeal Festival as part of Pride, and the One Show that united solo improvisers into one show.

- We’re looking for strong themes that unite different improvisers and different improv groups together and strengthen the improv community.

- Producers should also have a good understanding of how to promote their show and bring in an audience.


Monday and Tuesday are already booked up with different promoters that will now also be appearing as part of Hoopla’s line up.


Other people and groups we’re looking to work with


General Improv Groups: See breakdown of days above.


Producers: We’re looking for Producers who want to take over occasional one-off nights on Thursdays or Wednesdays. Previous successful examples include the Zeal Festival as part of Pride, and the One Show that united solo improvisers into one show. We’re looking for strong themes that unite different improvisers and different improv groups together and strengthen the improv community. Producers should also have a good understanding of how to promote their show and bring in an audience.


Directors: If you want to put together a new show please get in touch and we can discuss how to work with you. We are able to provide help with things like casting, auditions, finding rehearsal rooms and then putting on the final show.


Launch Pads Groups: 10-15 minute spots for groups to try out new things.


Hoopla Formations Groups: A regular night for groups that have formed in Hoopla courses so they get all the performance experience they need.


Jams: Shows that bring together improvisers for one night only. Details for those coming soon.


Volunteers: With more shows we’re also looking for more volunteers to help with front of house, ticket sales and sound and lights. It’s by building up such a great team of volunteers that we were able to take on more shows in the first place. Please get in touch if you’d like to help out! We’re going to provide more training for volunteers, put together socials and also offer free improv workshops and shows.


Hosts: We’re looking for people with hosting experience to help host and run nights.


Money Things


30% of box office from each night, of at least £50, goes to Hoopla Impro. This pays for:

- An employed Production Assistant.

- Advertising costs.

- Print costs.

- General overheads.

- Work involved in general press listings, marketing and promotion of shows.

- Ticket processing.


The remainder of box office is split between the performing groups depending on how long their slot length is.


Dates


Until 31st August 2017: We are accepting show submissions for the Autumn 2017 season.


5th September 2017: We aim to have written back to everyone with details of any show slots we can offer for Autumn 2017 season.


Monday 4th September 2017 - Saturday 16th December 2017: Hoopla Autumn season with shows every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.


How to Apply


- Your Name.

- Contact Details.

- What opportunities you are interested in.

- Details of your group including name, description and cast members.

- Anything else you think might be helpful.


Please write to HooplaShows@gmail.com.

(Please note our new email address for show enquiries)




Other Performance Opportunities with Hoopla


Launch Pads

These are our free nights where lots of groups perform mini 15 minute versions of shows. It's the place for new shows, new formats and new improvisers to experiment and build up performance experience. It is marketed so that the audience are aware that it is new things, and it is free entry. If you want to perform there contact us with what your show is and we should have a space, it’s pre-bookable only.

>> More details.


Improv Comedy Club

Friday and Saturday nights are our main shows, where we showcase some of the best improv in the UK. We aim to book established shows that are suitable for a mainstream weekend comedy audience. Previously we’ve had acts like Paul Merton, Austentatious, Showstoppers, The Mischief Theatre, The Maydays, The RH Experience and more.

>> More details.


Impro 5-a-side

An action-packed improv knockout tournament where 6 teams plus special guests battle it out for improv supremacy.

>> More details.


Impro Jams

These are open for all impro jams where anyone (solo or with others) can turn up and perform. They are a bit like an open mic night for improv.

>> More details.


Improv Courses

Our Performance Improv Course, Long-Form Improv Course and Advanced Improv Courses all have shows at the end are designed to get people performing. We continue to support improvisers after they have finished courses, and are always available to help.

>> More details.


Night Tube

We are also starting occasional late night sessions after our main shows (after 10pm) on some Saturdays, with space for groups to try out new show.

>> More details.


Improv Festivals

We host a couple of improv festivals a year with more performance opportunities and events than our normal nights.

>> More details.


Casting Calls

We occassionally post casting calls for our new shows on this website and also through Twitter (@HooplaImpro) and Facebook (HooplaImpro).

>> More details.


Improv Networking Events

We host networking events once per season where improvisers can meet groups and other improvisers and see if they can form teams.

>> More details.


Performance Opportunities with other Groups


The following are other popular nights for improvisers to get involved with performing. Although the improv scene in London is rapidly growing it's still small enough that you can meet everyone pretty quickly. By going along to nights at The Miller with Hoopla, The Nursery, C3Something, Duck Duck Goose and more you can get performing quite often and get to know everyone.


Most of the nights below should pop up on google, let us know if we've missed anything or if you can’t find their details on google.


The Miller: All of Hoopla’s shows are based at The Miller and outside of Hoopla’s nights there are other improv shows there most nights of the week. It’s also a good place to go for a drink as there are usually a bunch of friendly improvisers hanging around.


The Nursery: This is a great theatre, who we also work closely with, that puts on loads of improv shows and events. They are also great at developing new improv shows, sometimes with open auditions.


C3Something: They host loads of great shows, jams and events and are incredibly encouraging to the growing improv scene.


Duck Duck Goose: It's on every Monday night. There are always at least 2 acts (sometimes new groups, sometimes experienced, famous troupes) and multiple chances for the audience to get up and jam together too. https://www.facebook.com/DuckDuckG


Genre Claude Van Damme: They have a jam and guest groups every Sunday night at the Horse & Stables in Waterloo.


The Slapdash Festival: This is awesome. An annual improv festival, co-produced by The Nursery Theatre and C3Something. Open to international acts.


Love Explosion: Remy from Imprology runs regular nights that are open to guest performs, with a very cool and open to all format.


City Impro & Friends: Recently started, great group of people, and looking for groups to join their nights. www.cityimpro.com


Giggle Loop: Great new group running regular nights with space for guest groups and jams.


RH & Friends: Monthly show with slots for guest groups.


Glitch: They run a monthly Glitch Cabaret with improv and alternative comedy acts.


The Playground: Monthly show with guest groups and jam.


ImproFest UK: A week long improv festival run by Sprout Ideas.


Sam Rhodes Comedy Explosion: A mix of stand ups, sketch and improv, open to guest groups.


Post Script: Post Script are happy to guest new groups at their night- Star of Kings, last Wednesday of every month.


Magic Mad Hat: Monthly and due to be weekly nights run by our friend LadyG with space for guest groups and jams.


The Parentheticals: They run a monthly night called Bracket Racket that is open to guest groups.


Also check out www.thecrunchyfrogcollective.com as that lists lots of nights.


Let us know if we've missed anything.


Improv Friendly Venues


These venues host lots of shows by different improv groups, and would be a good places to have a look at if you want to run your own regular night or one-off show:


The Miller, London Bridge

The Nursery

The Camden Head (both of them)

The Islington, Angel

The Comedy Pub

The Soho Theatre

The Leicester Square Theatre

The Etc Theatre Camden

The Hen and Chickens

The Old Red Lion

The Pleasance

The Kings Head

The Cockpit Theatre

The Dog Star

The Horse & Stables

The Udderbelly Festival


Improv Festivals

 

There are loads of improv festivals now in London and around the UK and rest of the world, there’s a list here.


Stand Up Nights


Some stand-up nights have improv on too, it can be helpful to add variety to the night. It's useful to have different lengths of shows available if approaching a stand-up night promoter, and also have an idea of what kind of show works at the night. Here’s some to have a look at:

 

Angel Comedy

Downstairs at the Kings Head

Comedy Cafe New Act Night

Cavendish Arms -Comedy Virgins


Street Improv

 

We've just started doing street theatre, lots of good opportunities with this. We’ll put up some more details soon or get in touch if you’d like to find out what is happening.


Running Your Own Night

 

From Hoopla Steve:


“I'm surprised more people don't do this one, as when I started out it was the normal thing. Find a room above a pub, or rent a small theatre, invite some people along, badaboom badabing.

 

Running your own night means you get to perform when you want on your terms to your audience, and learn loads. It's awesome.

 

When I started performing (with Edgar Fernando, Rakesh Mistry and Joel Butler and more) the best thing we did was say we would perform our show once a month for a year no matter what. We booked The Bedford in Balham and religiously rehearsed every week and performed every month.

 

Some of the shows were terrible, with me hiding under a table afterwards until everyone left (true), and some were awesome. We had a rule that we made it fun for the audience, we chatted to them all afterwards, played good music, and made it fun. By the end of the year we'd moved into the bigger room at The Bedford and were playing to 150, it was awesome!

 

Running your own night and putting your own show is when you really learn and find who you are as a performer.

 

London is blessed with spaces to perform, so find a space you like and book it in, develop an awesome show, promote it, perform it, repeat. I'd also recommend booking in an awesome guest act each time too, as it keeps it different for returning audience.”


Promoting Your Show


To come to your show people have to know about it in advance, and they have to want to come, and then they need to have a reminder.

 

Here are some other tips:

 

Why would anybody want to come and see your show?

Ask yourself this question. If you don't know the answer you haven't thought about the audience, so why should they think about you? Answers to this question could be: it's really funny, it's new, it's exciting, it's a party, it's good, it's got a fun guest, they like the genre, they've heard good things.

 

What is your show?

What is it? What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Yes I know it's improvised, but there are loads of different types of improvised. How would you describe your show in one line, title and image?

 

Audience Shoes

Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience member, from when they first hear about the show, decide to go, travel to it, arrive, see it, leave. What was that experience like and how can you make it better?

 

Who are the audience?

Who do you want coming to your show? What do they expect? What do they want? What do they need?

 

Three Months, 1 Month, 1 Week, 1 Day, Day

For lots of people to see a show they need to hear about it in different ways (flyers, posters, web, fbook, email twitter, word of mouth etc) at least 3 months before, 1 month before, 1 week before, day before, then on the day.

 

There's nothing wrong with friends and family as audience

This is a great start, what a positive thing to do in life, get together to entertain friends and family. And it's a great beginning. Friends who like the show lead to Friends of Friends and then Friends of Friends of Friends, which is otherwise known as 'The Public'.

 

Work

Promoting shows is hard work. If you don't do anything there won't be anybody there, because they don't know about it. If you do lots, there will be more people there. It takes ages listing shows with press and all the listings websites, up to you if you do it. Nobody said that being a successful performer is easy.

 

Make a quality show

This is the best marketing tool out there. So many people (me included) spend ages getting a website, facebook group, twitter, logo and then barely rehearse and the show is not great. Better off spending that time making an awesome show, that's the best marketing you can have. If your show is amazing people will hear about it eventually, and more people will come.

 

Every audience is important

You've just started out, just about to go on stage, and realise that only 5 people are in the audience. Don't be disappointed that only 5 people turned up, be over the moon that 5 real life humans have come to watch. Give them the best show ever. Those 5 people tell 10 people at work the next day about what a great night they had and your audience has gone up to 55 over night. It's the same show for them anyway, and actually they get a better view. Make it special for them.


Workshops are the start not the end

 

Our courses are designed to kick start people into performing and inspire them to do more. End of course shows could be the start of your improv and performing, not the end of it.

 

Don't ask for permission


As Mark Beltzman (great improv teacher from USA) said, don't give your creative energy away to anyone. Don't rely on teachers, directors, producers, agents, promoters. Don't wait. Don't ask for permission to do what you want to do. Just do it. Now.

 

Dump the Fear

 

Sometimes we're in fear about being shit as an improviser, but the main thing that makes us shit as a performer is if we're in fear. It's like a self-referencing cell error in Microsoft Excel. The only solution is to dump the fear.

 

Accelerate Your Rate of Failure

 

This is very Keith Johnstone, and something we live by. If you're going to fail when learning something new, and you are, then fail sooner and faster. It doesn't mean be deliberately shit. It means try your best, create beautiful things, but when failure happens you learn from it and get back into it faster.

 

Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers says it takes 10,000 hours to master something. Matthew Syed in his book Bounce agrees and also says that talent is a myth and what is needed is practice with feedback.

 

Want to do a show? Say that you're going to do a 1000 over your life. It takes the pressure of the 3rd one, it's part of learning.

 

Learn, practice, do, fail, learn, repeat. Accelerate your failure. If you're going to be a performing improviser, do more, now.


Lots of love,


Hoopla


Where to Perform Improv in London