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Teaching Guide

Guide on how to deal with difficult scenes in a supportive way.


This guide goes alongside our Code of Conduct for Teachers, so please also read that.


General steps to follow when supporting students:


If someone has a complaint or is worried about something it is important that they are listened too and that if necessary suitable actions are agreed upon and then followed up.


If anyone on a Hoopla course or event feels they are being discriminated against, harassed in anyway, physically harmed, or subject to any other unwanted behaviour these are steps teachers should take to support them:


1. If you need to stop a scene, stop a scene. The safety and support of our students is more important than the temporary existence of an impro scene.

2. Talk to the improviser on the course, and anyone else involved, if you feel safe and able to do so. This should be done in private without the rest of the course watching. The teacher can put the rest of the course on a break whenever they want, even if it’s mid scene, as the safety and support of the students is more important than a temporary improv scene.

3. Teacher to agree suitable follow up actions and ongoing support for student, or to escalate this to head of company or diversity officers if they do not feel able to do this.

4. The teacher to give information to the students about diversity officers and the head of the company, so the student can have an independent person to talk to and support them if they wish.

5. Teacher to talk to head of the company or diversity officers about the event to decide follow up actions and timetable.

6. Teacher, head of company or diversity officers to check in with student at agreed time to check follow up actions have been completed.


If in doubt the teacher should always ask advice from the director of the company or one of the diversity officers, teachers should be supported at all times and not feel like they have to deal with difficult situations alone.


If we think a student is a physical or sexual danger to the rest of the class, or if they carry out harassment or bullying of any kind, they may be asked to leave the course and all other Hoopla events. This will be the responsibility of company director, or diversity officer, so that the student facing teacher is not put in any danger.


We must also support and protect improvisers, teachers and audience members off-stage.


This also applies to before class, during class, after class, in breaks, in the pub after class, social media, shows and any other company event. It applies to the behaviour of improvisers, teachers, performers, corporate clients, audience members and venue staff.


Any inappropriate sexual contact, harassment, sexism, racism, homophobia, prejudice behaviour, bullying or physical violence may be addressed by the teacher there and then but only if they feel it is safe to do so.


The teacher can decide whether to address the incident there and then in front of everyone else, or to take a break and then chat to the student in private. In extreme circumstances the teacher also has the right to totally stop the workshop there and then and leave, as the safety of our teachers and students is more important than finishing the class. Also if it is a serious matter the police or security may be called.


If the teacher is addressing the behaviour they are to remind the student that our main job as improvisers is to support each other, and that they did not find that comment or behaviour supportive and that that further behaviour will not be allowed in the course. They will also give the student alternative more positive behaviours that they will encourage.


All events should be reported to the company director or a diversity officer for further action and the victim should also be listened to and given the chance to talk to diversity officer. Any reports from students regards unwanted behaviour or other concerns are to be treated seriously by the teacher and escalated to the diversity officer who will also talk to the student and plan the best course of action.


If the unwanted behaviour continues, or earlier if we think appropriate depending on case, the student will be removed from the course. The teacher will not have to be involved with removal from course, that is the responsibility of the admin team of the company.


Even if we risk losing individual reputation with the person we take action against, even if it turns out we were wrong, it is better that we do this than risk endangering other students and teachers. So if in doubt, we go on the side of taking action.


Setting the environment at start of courses and workshops:


At the start of courses and workshops teachers will have an efficient formalised way of setting the environment and expected behaviour, which they will be trained in at our diversity training. If any students are late or miss this chat they should be spoken to in the break.


Suggested text for this:


“We are encouraging spontaneity but we do this in a safe way and there are therefore some rules. The main rules are we don’t do anything physically dangerous or damaging, or sexually inappropriate, and always come from a place of love, support and respect for each other. Respect each other’s boundaries and look after each other. Please let me know if there is anything else I should be aware of. If at any point you are confused or worried about anything at all, please talk to me or one of our diversity officers.”


Replacing unsupportive behaviour with supportive behaviour


When teaching if possible it is good to give an example of the alternative behaviour you want to encourage, and give the student a chance to practice that behaviour. We are constantly enabling people to replace their unsupportive behaviour with supportive, and we do that in a patient and supportive way.


For instance the following scene:


Character A: Would you like a cup of tea?

Character B: Go and fuck yourself.


This scene could continue, with the actors exploring why Character B is so grumpy. Or we could use it as a chance to coach the actor playing Character B to make more positive choices at the start of a scene.


But rather than saying “don’t’ be negative” we give them the alternative behaviour we want, for instance “be as warm and positive and interested in what the other person gives you as possible”.


The scene now becomes:


Character A: Would you like a cup of tea?

Character B: Yes please! Wow, dahjeeling, my favourite! This reminds me of when we travelled around India together.

Character A: Those were the days.


Whenever possible we teach the positive action (do) rather than just the negative (don’t).


Physical & Sexual Boundaries


Although there is touch and general physicality in improv workshops students are not allowed to touch any area of the body that would be considered a sexual area, erogenous zone or would be covered if wearing a swimming costume.


There is also no other sexual harassment, physical harming, violence, or other dangerous physical touch allowed.


Any other physical boundaries for a student should be discussed with the teacher and these physical boundaries respected throughout the class.


During workshops we should immediately stop scenes before any of the following happen, as the safety and support of students is more important than the temporary existence of an improv scene:


- Hitting.

- Slapping.

- Punching

- Kicking.

- Pinching

- Jumping on someone’s back.

- Dragging someone across the floor.

- Kissing.

- Sexual acts.

- Groping.

- Grabbing.

- Carrying someone in a dangerous manner.


Basically anything that is physically or sexually harmful.


If one of these events accidentally happen, or we think it is about to happen, the scene should be stopped. Always prioritise the safety and support of students over the temporary existence of an impro scene. We then remind everyone, in a calm way, of our boundaries in a public workshop. Depending on the incident the teacher then may carry out the general steps to supporting students as outlined above.


If we think one of the above are deliberately happening we should stop the scene and class straight away and immediately talk to those involved if we feel it is safe to do so. If there is a big problem we reserve the right to stop the whole workshop, as the safety of our students is more important than improv.


People being deliberately violent or sexually aggressive or harassing on or off stage will probably be made to leave the course and possibly all future Hoopla events. So in those circumstances the event and details should be immediately escalated to the director of Hoopla or a diversity officer.


In some classes the group may suggest they would be happy with some of the above, but as it is still a public workshop we must still stick to these boundaries to safeguard quieter members of the group.


Anything dangerous in the story or scene should actually be done in a safe way physically. For instance an exploding speed boat chase can be done in slow motion.


In public workshop the following and similar are allowed, as long as everyone in the room is comfortable:


- Hugging.

- Embracing.

- Hand holding.

- Carrying safely.

- Touching of non sexual areas in a non sexual way.

- Slow motion safe versions of action sequences.


On-stage intimacy shouldn’t be carried over to off-stage


Sometimes students, especially beginners, accidentally think that on-stage intimacy means something off-stage. For instance two improvisers are in a love story on-stage in character with real feelings involved, but then one accidentally thinks that this applies off-stage and that they may have a relationship. Another example two improvisers are in an arguments on-stage in character but then off-stage there is still tension between them.


If a teacher feels like this is happening they should have a quiet private chat to the improvisers, explaining the boundary and gap between on-stage behaviour and off-stage behaviour.


This may also involve a chat to the whole course, about the fact that we can use real emotions in the moment on-stage but that this intimacy is not carried off-stage with us.


Yes And is less important than safety, integrity and emotional honesty.


We should teach that Yes And isn’t always blind agreement to just go along with whatever the other person says, especially if what they offer is physically dangerous, sexually degrading or inappropriate. Instead we should side-coach or replay those scenes and coach the improvisers to play more real to those offers and respond with integrity, honesty and emotional intelligence, while also coaching the other person to give more supportive offers..


For instance in the following scene set in an office break room:


Colleague A: Oh hi, you work in accounts don’t you?

Colleague B: That’s right.

Colleague A: I think you’re really attractive, would you like to have sex?

Colleague B: Yes And!


Should instead be played as (with side coaching or re-playing with help from teacher):


Colleague A: Oh hi, you work in accounts don’t you?

Colleague B: That’s right.

Colleague A: I think you’re really attractive, would you like to have sex?

Colleague B: What? No, of course not. That’s really inappropriate.


And then explore the consequences of those actions and the ongoing story of the scene.


If the actor playing Colleague A in the above scene then feels bad or embarrassed then we can side-coach them into using these emotions in the scene, as the character would also be feeling these feelings. We give permission to our students to be vulnerable, and support them in those emotional situations. For instance:


Colleague A: Oh hi, you work in accounts don’t you?

Colleague B: That’s right.

Colleague A: I think you’re really attractive, would you like to have sex?

Colleague B: What? No, of course not. That’s really inappropriate.

Colleague A: Oh, shit, errr, I feel shitty.

Colleague B: You should.

Colleague A: I don’t know why I said that.


What we’re now “Yes Anding” is the underlying emotion of the scene and the difficult conversation, not the face value initial offer of “let’s have sex”.


Constant rolling emotional honesty, also known as playing at the top of your intelligence, playing at the top of your emotional intelligence, being obvious and playing it real, is often more important than face value yes and. Emotional honesty enables us to deal with difficult offers there and then, in the scene, in character.


To do this our teachers need to patiently side-coach or replay these moments in these scenes, to find a more beautiful and emotionally honest scene where the actors feel supported. So they should stay calm and patient when dealing with these difficult moments, while also ensuring the physical and sexual safety of the actors.


Yes And is less important than safety, integrity and emotional honesty. Scenes can be stopped and side-coached through difficult moments, as the safety and support of our students is more important than the temporary existences of an improv scene.


Coaching to give inspiring offers, and how to deal with degrading offers.


Students should be coached to give offers that inspire their scene partner, and scenes can be side-coached or replayed when the opposite happens. Also students can be coached in how to turn a negative offer into something inspiring.


Just because everyone is going to Yes And is not an excuse to give degrading offers, and we can coach these type of scenes to give the student a more positive replacement behaviour.


When teaching these scenes, as they come up, the teacher should stay patient and calm so nobody feels they have done anything “wrong”.


Example scenes:


Character A: Here’s a shit sandwich.

Character B: Thanks! Yum yum yum yum.


In this scene it could be replayed so that Character A gives something more inspiring that the other person would actually wants, for example:


Character A: Here’s a lobster tail sandwich.

Character B: Wow, thanks, that’s the most expensive thing on the menu, and I love lobster. You’re really spoiling me taking me to the best restaurant in the harbour.


We can also coach Character B in how to cope with degrading offers. In the first example they blindly Yes Anded but the scene could be played with more emotional honesty/top of intelligence to result in:


Character A: Here’s a shit sandwich.

Character B: What? You’ve put shit in a sandwich? Why would you do that to me, that’s disgusting?


In this case they haven’t blocked that there is a shit sandwich, and we can now explore why it was done.


We can also coach them into how to turn the degrading offer into something beautiful, an example of making the other person look good:


Character A: Here’s a shit sandwich.

Character B: Well, the bread is good, that’s great bread. But I have to say that the shit filling, although I admire your experimentation, is not going to get you into Leith’s Cooking School.

Character A: I thought it was a statement, the bread is so good the filling doesn’t matter.

Character B: You’re a maverick, I like that, that’s why I became your cookery mentor in the first place.


Nobody in the audience wants to see someone eat a shit sandwich (or carry out a similarly degrading offer). They might think they do, but they don’t, and that scene is over pretty quickly. So when a degrading/controlling offer pops up we can replay with a more positive offer or side-coach to find something more beautiful.


Playing Unpleasant Characters


In all scenes and games students are playing a character. Sometimes the story, scene or offer will lead to an unpleasant character that differs in point of view and behaviour from the student’s own views. This is allowed in our courses and with the help of the teacher the students can explore this character in a safe way on stage.


The characters that the student plays on stage do not always reflect their own beliefs, however there are a number of safety nets that we include in this document to keep the stage safe.


The person playing the unpleasant character should be coached to play with full emotional honesty. For instance if they feel bad about what they are saying or doing this should be in the scene. The other people in the scene also respond at the top of their emotional intelligence with ongoing emotional honesty. Then as the unpleasant view pops up it can be discussed in character in the scene and may become the point of the scene. Even if this stops it being comedy that’s allowed, and those serious moments are actually encouraged as they add variety and depth to a show.


After these type of scenes the person who played the unpleasant character and others in the scene should be supported and listened too, and everyone reminded that on stage we are playing a character who may have a different point of view from our normal selves.


We may also coach them into scenes where they are encouraged to make more positive and loving choices, so that aggression or negativity on stage doesn’t become a prop for the actor to hide their own vulnerability behind.


We do sometimes need bad guys or points of view different from our own to tell a story. For instance Schindler’s List without Nazis wouldn’t be a story.


However if someone always or often plays sexist, racist, homophobic or otherwise offensive characters then there may be a problem. This can happen for many reasons. They should be first coached by the teacher to play more vulnerable and loving characters on stage, as sometimes being aggressive on stage is a defence mechanism. If that doesn’t work they can also be spoken to in private, but only if the teacher feels safe to do so. The teacher may then escalate it to the head of company or a diversity officer.


This is part of the supportive teaching process: to encourage the exploration and spontaneity of the student playing any character, but then over the course to gradually coach the student into playing different characters away from their defaults and into a more loving and generous emotional space.


This is one of the most difficult parts of teaching improv, encouraging character work while also keeping it safe for people. In reality it is different on a case by case basis, which is why ongoing training for our teachers is essential and also we encourage our teachers or students to talk to the director of Hoopla or any of our diversity officers at any time if they are confused about things.


Ways to side coach the above type of characters


The following scene set in a stag-do:


Character A: Yeah, let’s get pissed!

Character B: YeaaHHHHH, SHOOOTTSS!

Character C: Shots Shots shots!

They down shots

Character A: Let’s fuck some prostitutes!

Character B: YeAHHHHH!!

They do joke simulated sex


The actors may not release but the above scene could be hugely offensive to the rest of the cast and audience, especially people in the audience who may have been victims of sexual assault. So we can keep the characters as a character choice with a point of view, but the teacher can side coach the scene so that it is played at the top of emotional intelligence instead:


Character A: Yeah, let’s get pissed!

Character B: YeaaHHHHH, SHOOOTTSS!

Character C: Shots Shots shots!

They down shots

Character A: Let’s fuck some prostitutes!

Character B: YeAHHHHH!!

Character C: What? We can’t do that.

Character A: Why not? It’s a stag do mate.

Character B: Yeah, lighten up.

Character C: Lighten up? Look these women aren’t an object, they are real people.

Character A: Shut up you prick.

Character C: Don’t tell me to shut up. You are so fucking small minded. I can’t believe the way you’re acting. I want to have fun but raping someone isn’t fun. You should be ashamed of yourself ok?


Sometimes this type of scene can become confusing for beginners as it looks like a block, but we’re actually Yes-Anding the reality of the scene still even if the Character C is saying no. The reality of the scene is that two people on a stag do are behaving like two dimensional idiots with no morality, and the other character is realising that the prostitutes mentioned are real people and wants to stop it. This scene can then continue exploring those themes, with support from the teacher.


After this scene it could then be discussed and the actors supported. We can ask the actors how they felt during the scene. If they had an emotion that wasn’t expressed they can be encouraged to do that in the next scene they were in.


For instance:


Teacher: You were playing Character A in that scene, how did you feel during the scene?

Actor: At first I thought it was really fun and I was just caught up in it, but when the other actor said that stuff I felt really embarrassed, angry with him and stupid.

Teacher: You felt really embarrassed, angry with him and stupid.

Actor: Yes.

Teacher: Great. All those feelings are welcome in the scene and they are probably what a character in that situation would feel. Feel free to say those feelings in the scene and use it in the scene.


We might then return to the scene:


Character C: Don’t tell me to shut up. You are so fucking small minded. I can’t believe the way you’re acting. I want to have fun but raping someone isn’t fun. You should be ashamed of yourself ok?

Character A (crying): Fuck you, ok, ok, just fuck off.

Character C: Ok mate.

Character A (siting with head in hands): I’m sorry mate. You’re right, this isn’t me. I don’t know why I’m doing this. I just feel like this is what I’m meant to do on a stag do.

Character C: It’s your stag do though, there is no “meant” to do, you do what you want to do. What do you want to do?

Character A (laughing through tears): Eat a pizza.

Character C: Eat a pizza?

Character A: Yeah! I’m not even into drinking anymore. I can’t believe I said that stuff about prostitutes I’m sorry that’s not me. This just feels like I’m supposed to behave like this, you know? But it’s not me.


Sexist, Racist, Homophobic and other prejudice language on stage


If a student has a habit of using sexist, racist, homophobic or other prejudice language on stage then the teacher is to side coach them into different language they could use and also how to play more positively.


The teacher is also to remind them in a relaxed patient and positive way that our job on stage is to support each other, and to discuss how we could do this.


The first time this happens side coaching and maybe another scene is advised. This gives the chance for the student to learn new behaviour in a safe and supportive place.


If it is a repeating problem, after side coaching and direction and exercises, then it may be reflective evidence of underlying prejudice with the student. In this case the teacher should escalate it to the diversity officer and the student may be removed from the course. The teacher will not have to be involved with removal from course as we aim to put the safety of teachers and students ahead of the creativity and profit of the company, so that is the responsibility of the admin team of the company. If in doubt, please don’t hesitate to contact the diversity officer.


Any reports from students regards prejudiced comments or other concerns are to be treated seriously by the teacher and escalated immediately to the diversity officer who will also talk to the student and plan the best course of action.


Playing characters with prejudiced viewpoints (sexist, racist , homophobic etc)


This is an exception to the above section.


We don’t encourage playing characters with prejudiced viewpoints simply to get laughs, especially if the laughs are the expense of the victimised group.


However it is occasionally necessary to play a character with prejudiced viewpoints to explore a certain theme and story, and this is ok as long as it is the artistic choice of the group, and the scene is to be treated with full emotional intelligence and the themes and moral implications of those viewpoints fully explored in the ongoing story in an intelligent manner.


The film Schindler’s List couldn’t exist without actors playing Nazis, but the message of the film isn’t “Nazis are funny” instead it’s that one person’s actions can save lives even when standing up to an overwhelming oppressive State. Improv scenes can also explore themes with intelligence and morality, as long as the cast support each other and deal with the theme intelligently.


For example an actor might been endowed as a prejudiced character by another improviser. Or the audience suggestion suggests the exploration of a prejudiced character and the emotional impact of those views. Or the scene or story in general could explore a theme of a certain prejudice and its emotional impacts, for instance inspired by a real life experience expressed in the monologue in the opening of a long-form.


So in a nutshell: don’t play prejudiced characters just to get cheap laughs or to defend your own vulnerability on stage, but you may play them if it’s part of an overall story that is dealt with intelligently to explore those issues fully. This is probably outside the realms of our Beginners courses though, where we are best to avoid these scenes/characters altogether. It’s only for our more advanced courses and performers.


However if someone always or often plays sexist, racist, homophobic or otherwise offensive characters then there may be a problem. This can happen for many reasons. They should be first coached by the diretor to play more vulnerable and loving characters on stage, as sometimes being aggressive on stage is a defence mechanism. If that doesn’t work they can also be spoken to in private, but only if the director feels safe to do so. You may also escalate this to the head of company or a diversity officer. The person or group may be asked to leave the venue, and not booked again,  if we feel that they are using the medium of impro to practice dangerous or offensive behaviours or to force prejudiced views.


Sexist or Racist Endowing/Casting Offers


If a student has a habit of repeatedly casting/endowing others as degrading or sexist or racist roles the teacher is to side coach them into giving the other person roles they would actually want to play.


This goes back to the improv cores of making each other look good and supporting each other, and giving offers that the other person would want to do.


The first time this happens the teacher is to simply give them another scene, with the one direction to give more inspiring casting/endowing offers, and is then to support the students when they achieve this. This is to be done in a calm way by the teacher without losing patience, as it is a negative behaviour that we are training out of someone in a controlled manner by giving them a replacement behaviour in a safe environment.


There are also exercises that train people to give each other fun characters that support each other, please ask diversity officer about or head of company. The teacher can also speak to the diversity officer to discuss further training.


If it is a repeating problem, after side coaching and direction and exercises, then it may be reflective evidence of underlying prejudice with the student. In this case the teacher should escalate it to the diversity officer.


We will also coach the strengthening of offers that can be done by the improviser receiving the casting/endowment offer, to avoid ongoing gender or other stereotypes. For instance the casting of someone as “Mother” or “Wife” doesn’t necessarily have to put them in a lower status position, as there is a lot more to “Mother” or “Wife” than the 2D stereotype and both roles can be very strong.


For instance:


Character A: “My lovely wife please come in here”

Character B: “Yes dear, just coming, your dinner is ready”


Could be side-coached to:


Character A: “My lovely wife please come in here”

Character B (enters holding medal): “Oh wow, I love it! A welcome home meal, that’s so kind of you! You know winning gold in Olympic rowing was great, thank you for all your support.”


Teachers can side-coach and replace scenes to encourage improvisers to give each positive offers, and to turn negative situations and offers into positive ones:


- Marriages can be happy and supportive.

- Mothers can also be trained ninjas.

- “Wife” or “Husband” are initial labels and don’t limit the actor from exploring full emotional depth and possibilities of that character.


“In Character” and “In Scene” Simulated Sexual Contact and Stage Kissing


For example a love story that builds up to a kiss. Or a story about people on a date about to have sex.


As we are teaching public workshops we can’t allow stage kissing or simulated sex, even if the class and actors on stage seem to think it is ok we have to be on the safe side.


So in scenes that are building up to a kiss we will stop the scene before the kiss.


In scenes that are building up to sex we cut the scene before the sex, or cut to after the sex. Either way we don’t do any simulated sexual acts on stage in public workshops.


If the stage kiss or simulated sexual contact happens before we have cut the scene and stepped in we stop the scene immediately and explain that we can’t have stage kisses, real kisses or simulated sex in our public workshops. We do this patiently and calmly.


If it looks like someone is a problem with this, and has a habit of attempting to bring scenes to simulated sexual contact then the teacher should escalate this to the diversity officer and the person may be removed from the course.


Actual Sexual Contact, Inappropriate or Dangerous Physical Contact on Stage


For example forced kissing on stage, groping, grabbing, pulling, hitting, slapping or other.


First of all, attempt to stop the scene before this happens. If in doubt, stop the scene. The safety and well being of our students is more important than the temporary existence of an improv scene, so if in doubt stop the scene. Then flag up that you were concerned about what was about to happen, and calmly remind students that we are not allowed to have that behaviour.


If an inappropriate touch happens, for instance kiss, groping, grabbing, pulling, slapping, hitting or similar then stop the scene immediately. The safety and well being of our students is more important than the temporary existence of an improv scene, so if in doubt stop the scene. Discuss this moment with the group right there and then, in a calm and professional manner, that we are there to support each other and that that particular physical or sexual action is not allowed in improv.


In private discuss the event with the victim of the incident and give them the option of talking to our diversity officer.


In the case of the following reasons given by offending students:


“But I was playing the bad guy, and the bad guy would have hit him in that case”

“But we were playing on a date, and it felt right to kiss and hold each other that way”


In those kind of cases we calmly remind the student that the physical and sexual safety of people in the group is more important than the reality of the character and scene.


Also inform the diversity officer of what happened and discuss a course of action, in all circumstances.


Racism and Sexism and other Prejudices on Stand Up course


Please note all the other categories listed also apply to the stand up course. This section is an addition specifically for our stand up course.


During stand up courses the teacher should try to train students in new directions away from being sexist or racist or similar on stage. Some students may complain about “political correctness gone mad” but they can leave, it’s not the kind of stand up we’re trying to encourage.


The advantage of teaching stand up is that we are teaching them to be funny, so if the workshops audience aren’t laughing we can point out that the material is not funny and that they should therefore try something else.


Overall we are teaching comedy and not a political or social manifesto, so if it’s not funny (overly sexist or racist material will tend not to be funny) we introduce other themes and inspirations for them to explore.


Any concerns should be addressed to the diversity officer to discuss further action, including possible removal from the course if a student insists on being overly sexist, racist or offensive.


Cheap jokes vs. Emotional Depth


Whenever possible students should be coached into playing scenes with emotional depth and exploring relationship and the emotional truth of the given situation in the scene, as opposed to cheap jokes at the expense of the reality of the scene.


Students should be especially coached away from jokes that are destructive to the reality of the scene, are making fun of the ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation of another cast member, or are in any other way destructive to the supportive environment of our workshops.


Rather than just “telling people off” for cheap jokes we should coach them into the alternatives and let them practice this.


Ignoring Actors


Sometimes improvisers ignore the offers of the other actors, accidentally or deliberately, especially if they are a different gender from them or they perceive them as lower status. When this happens in workshops this should be patiently and calmly pointed out and the scene replayed with the improviser encouraged to listen and show greater interest in the other person’s offers and to use them in the scene, to encourage people to collaborate together.


Scene content and themes we can’t do


Hoopla’s improv training is primarily aimed at beginners and therefore certain scenes we can’t do in our courses. These include scenes that depict rape, physical abuse, racism, sexual abuse, sexism, racism, hombophobia, domestic abuse or extreme violence, even if the actors are actually playing it in a safe way. This is because we are aimed at beginners and those scenes are outside the scope of our courses. Performing groups and other improv theatres may choose to intelligently explore those themes, but it is outside the scope of our public courses.


If those scenes start to happen we will patiently and calmly coach to a new scene.


Playing Different Nationalities & Accents


Students can play different nationalities & accents in workshops as a healthy part of exploring character. However playing accents of a different ethnic origin, especially of a different colour, can be perceived as racist to an audience, so the teacher should make a judgement on a scene by scene basis and sometimes subtly steer performers away from certain accents.


The joke/game of the scene shouldn’t be “look at this funny sounding foreign person”. If playing someone of a different ethnic background the character should be played at top of intelligence and with respect.


Playing Different Genders


Students can play different genders in scenes including male, female, transgender and others. The teacher should coach them into playing this at the top of the intelligence and with respect to that character, empathising with the character rather than playing it to mock or laugh at them.


Playing Different Sexual Orientations


Students can play different sexual orientations in scenes including heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and more. The teacher should coach them into playing this at the top of the intelligence and with respect to that character, empathising with the character rather than playing it to mock or laugh at them.


Breaking Cliques in Courses


We’re aiming for everyone of any background to be able to improvise and perform together. People of different genders, nationalities, ages, sexual orientations, physical abilities, nationalities, ages and ethnicity can all improvise and play together as one. To help this it’s helpful if the teacher has an eye on cliques popping up in the course, and where possible encourages people to socialise together and work together across the whole team.


Hoopla teachers should also have a read through of the following:


>> Code of Conduct for Students on Courses


>> Code of Conduct for Performers


>> Code of Conduct for Teachers


>> Diversity and Accessibility Policy.



This document is open to feedback:


Our Code of Conduct & Diversity Policies come from recent consultation with various improvisers, performers, students and diversity officers.


We also received advice and information from other theatre companies, organisation and unions.


We are now at the stage of receiving public feedback, and we’d appreciate your thoughts. If there is anything you would like to add or change please us at hooplaimpro@gmail.com.