Performing at Hoopla

Performance Opportunities

People from Hoopla courses receive amazing performing opportunities during and after courses with a great venue, a welcoming community, multiple nights to perform, house team casting opportunities and ongoing support and progression for new groups.

People from Hoopla courses have gone on to perform with lots of great groups across the UK improv scene including The Playground, Music Box, Bumper Blyton, Oxford Imps, The Maydays, The Committee, Dreamweaver Quartet, Do Not Adjust Your Stage, Impromptu Shakespeare Company, Actors Nightmare and more.

We run the UK’s first ever Improv Comedy Club and every Thursday evening and early Saturday evening is dedicated to new up and coming groups that have formed in our courses, giving them space to build up stage time and develop new shows. We also have jams every Wednesday evening that are open to anyone to come and perform at.

We want to give our students as many performance opportunities as possible so every season we also run open auditions to cast our new shows for that season. We announce details of these over our facebook and twitter and form at least two new shows every season.

Hoopla support improvisers, even months or years after they’ve done a course with us, and we constantly strive to give them the performing opportunities and support they need. We even have a dedicated Producer (Angela Pollard) who is there to support you with performance opportunities whenever you need it.

We have a large welcoming community of improvisers, and it would be great to have you be part of it.

 

Everyone welcome

Hoopla are open to everyone and welcome all styles of improv.

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

We support everyone from beginner improvisers to experienced professional groups by trying to find the best place for each group and the right audience.

We have a full-time Producer (Angela Pollard) who books shows, promotes shows, makes sure we have a diverse line up, and provides ongoing support to all of our groups and performers.

We are constantly working to improve the diversity of the improv scene by actively seeking out and encouraging improvisers from different backgrounds and helping them form groups and regular nights. Many of our nights are also free or low price to help make improv accessible to all.

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.

Improv for everyone!

 

Day by Day

Mondays, 8pm – 10pm: Free Comedy Club

Our free weekly comedy club with a mix of stand-up comedy, character comedy and some sketch comedy. Graduates from our stand up comedy course regularly perform here and also help run it, and it is also open to outside bookings.

Tuesdays, 8pm – 10pm

This is a variety of events run by The Miller (the venue we are in partnership with).

Wednesdays, 7pm – 8pm: Free Jam

This is a free weekly jam, open to anyone to turn up and perform. You just have to get there before 7pm and then can perform in a variety of games and scenes with other improvisers. This is a great place to build up performing experience. There’s a host there to help run the evening and you can stay afterwards for free to watch the later shows.

Wednesdays, 8pm – 10pm: Shows that improve the diversity of the UK improv scene

For instance Nu Z Land that celebrates black & asian comedians and improvisers, The Foreign Office that gets helps connect different nationalities together, Ladyprov and Word of Muff that puts on all female shows, Zeal as part of London Pride and The Committee that connect together the best of improv, sketch and stand up. We generally keep these shows free to help make improv available to everyone. Groups that develop at these nights we also invite into our main weekend shows as space opens up.

These nights are run by other groups who do the booking, but if interested get in touch and we can introduce you.

Thursdays, 8pm – 10pm: The Clubhouse

Hoopla house teams and groups that have formed from Hoopla courses. This is where we put on all the new shows we’re producing as a weekly night, plus some guest groups and a headline act. There are at least four groups performing each night, with a different line up each week. As these groups build up experience they will gradually move into our main slots on our weekend shows. In addition to the new shows we are producing we also bring in a selection of guest groups to keep variety on the night and help improvisers from different groups make connections.

Slot lengths are 15 minutes in general and sometimes a bit longer for a headline act that is likely to bring in a larger audience.

Fridays, 8pm – 10pm: The best improv possible

At our main weekend shows we strive to put on the best improv possible for a mainstream crowd who want a great weekend night out. We aim to put on a mix of different improv styles with short-form, long-form, narrative, musical and more are all welcome. Most of all shows should be lively, entertaining and fun and suitable for our lovely weekend audience in a big party of improv. These shows are heavily promoted by our Producer including mainstream press. These groups will already be established on the improv circuit and bring in an audience.

Slot lengths for groups are 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 45 minutes depending on experience and ability to bring in an audience. Headline acts do 30 minutes – 45 minutes and the 15 minute slots are for fun lively ideas that get the party started.

Saturdays, 6pm – 7:30pm: Pre-party

This is where we put on groups that have formed from Hoopla courses that are building up experience and developing their show. We’re available to help groups and give feedback if requested, to help them develop shows. Shows that really take off here we gradually transfer over to Thursday nights as space arises. This spot doesn’t appear on our website or in press listings so that the audience stays smaller and supportive of newer groups and experimental ideas. We tend to book groups of 3 people or more instead of solo or twoprov so that we are giving more opportunities to more people.

Slot lengths are 10-15 minutes depending on size of group.

Saturdays, 8pm – 10pm: The best improv possible

At our main weekend shows we strive to put on the best improv possible for a mainstream crowd who want a great weekend night out. We aim to put on a mix of different improv styles with short-form, long-form, narrative, musical and more are all welcome. Most of all shows should be lively, entertaining and fun and suitable for our lovely weekend audience in a big party of improv. These shows are heavily promoted by our Producer including mainstream press. These groups will already be established on the improv circuit and bring in an audience.

Slot lengths for groups are 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 45 minutes depending on experience and ability to bring in an audience. Headline acts do 30 minutes – 45 minutes and the 15 minute slots are for fun lively ideas that get the party started.

Sundays, all day: REST!

We don’t currently do shows on Sundays as our venue is closed, apart from the occasional end of course show.

We also sometimes put on additional late night shows.

We sometimes have to move weekly shows around a bit to make way for end of course shows when they come up.  

 

Other opportunities

We also run The Hoopla Improv Marathon once a year in September with shows back to back night and day over an entire weekend. This is a great place to put on wilder ideas and get them up in front of an audience of improv fans.

We’re going to be running more improv festivals over the year with different themes.

We may be also starting an annual Edinburgh Fringe show that showcases the best groups to come out of our nights and to help them find a wider audience.

We’re also currently developing our filming department too so we can professionally film live shows at weekends and help groups find a wider online audience, and to also film sketches with groups to help them progress to being professional writers, actors, improvisers and comedians. If you’d like to help with filming please do get in touch as we need help with that at the moment.

 

Progression for an improviser

Hoopla courses

End of course shows

Jams to build up experience on stage (Wednesdays, 7pm)

Auditions for house shows OR forming own group

Performing at Hoopla Pre-Party as show develops (Saturdays 6pm)

Performing in Hoopla Clubhouse regularly to build audience and show further (Thursdays 8pm)

Performing at our Main Shows (Weekends)
Group showcased via online film channels (in development)
Group showcased at festivals (in development)
Please note that progression from one step to another does depend on suitability of show and space available at our main shows. In reality most performing improvisers are in more than one show and are constantly developing new shows and trying out new things.

 

What we look for in a group when progressing them to our main shows

  • Puts on a fun & lively show that is suitable for a mainstream weekend audience.
  • Puts on a show that is suitable for everyone, not just other improvisers (although it should be suitable for them too).
  • Brings in an audience (although we also will support great shows that don’t have their own audience yet if they are a high standard).
  • Able to help out with promoting of their show and Hoopla shows in general.
  • Able to work as part of a team with our front of house staff, hosts, other groups and volunteers.
  • Groups that are open to feedback from us so we can help shape the show to make it suitable for bigger audiences.
  • Groups that want to help support and grow the improv community as a whole.
  • Groups that are regularly rehearsing together and improving things step by step.
  • Groups that do the show they are booked in to do, for instance no major changes in cast size.
  • We’re supportive of all improv styles: short-form, long-form, narrative, musical etc are all welcome. However styles that don’t work so well in our venue are solo improv and slower or quieter two-prov.
  • Other adhoc values we look out for include excitement, movement, playfulness, fun, physical, story, adventure, character, action and spontaneity. We tend to focus more on exciting comedic, story or musical improv than slower quieter improv.
  • 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.

 

How to apply to perform

Jams

For jams you don’t have to apply you just turn up on the night, everyone welcome.

House Teams

Application process, audition details and casting calls for our House Teams are at our casting calls page.

Shows including Pre-Party, Main Shows and Thursday Guest Slots

Please email Angela Pollard at hooplashows@gmail.com with the following:

  • What type of night your show would be suitable for.
  • Name of group.
  • Description of group (written from point of view of audience so it sells the show).
  • Cast list of who is in the group.
  • How long the show is and alternative times it could do.
  • Any reviews or press you have about the show.
  • Any images you have for the show.
  • Any social media or web links you have for the show.

We do try really hard to fit everyone in but due to limited space and a large number of groups we can’t guarantee a spot for everyone, and there may be a waiting list until we have a space.

We try to write back as soon as we can but due to the high number of applications we do sometimes fall behind or lose track. If you have applied for a show and haven’t heard from us for a couple of weeks please do write again. We do like to regularly catch up with groups and keep on top of what’s happening in the improv scene so please email us every now and then.

 

Other people we’re looking to work with

Producers:

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

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.

Jam Captains and Volunteers:

We run a jam every Wednesday evening at 7pm and it would be great to have some more people to join the team to help host and run it.

Volunteers:

With more shows we’re also looking for more volunteers to help with front of house, ticket sales and sound and lights. Please get in touch if you’d like to help out.

 

Money Things

We never charge groups to hire the venue and never ask groups to pay a guarantee. This creates a space to perform that is open and accessible to everyone. People performing at Hoopla can put on a show without any financial burden whatsoever.

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

  • An employed Production Assistant to coordinate bookings and run promotions and press for our nights.
  • An employed Front of House Manager to run box office and sound and lights for our nights.
  • 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.

This doesn’t cover our costs of running the venue so our shows are also heavily subsidised by our classes.

 

Contact Us

Angela Pollard, Producer, hooplashows@gmail.com

 

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