Performance Opportunities with Hoopla
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-
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. All profits from shows are divided equally between performing groups and volunteers on the night.
If you’re interested please contact us with name of show, description of show, and any helpful supporting information like images and reviews.
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.
Our Performance Improv Course, Long-
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.
We host a couple of improv festivals a year with more performance opportunities and events than our normal nights.
We occassionally post casting calls for our new shows on this website and also through Twitter (@HooplaImpro) and Facebook (HooplaImpro).
We host networking events once per season where improvisers can meet groups and other improvisers and see if they can form teams.
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-
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.
The Free Association: Long-
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-
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-
The Miller, London Bridge
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 Kings Head
The Cockpit Theatre
The Dog Star
The Horse & Stables
The Udderbelly Festival
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
Downstairs at the Kings Head
Comedy Cafe New Act Night
Cavendish Arms -
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?
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'.
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-
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,