I run an improv company in London (Hoopla Impro). I don’t really understand politics and I don’t understand fully what’s happening in our country at the moment. Usually I ban politics chats from Hoopla, even during general elections, but today I really want to send a message out to our international improv friends.
I voted to remain in the EU, along with most other improvisers I know.
Our workshops in London are really international, in fact it’s one of my biggest thrills from working with Hoopla. Only last week I taught a workshop with 4 English people, 2 French people, 1 German, 1 Polish person, 3 Americans and 1 New Zealander. That’s quite normal for us here, London is a hugely international place and it’s a huge joy for us to have so many different people playing together.
In fact it’s so normal here that we might even take it for granted, but today has made me realise how beautiful it really is that people from different cultures and backgrounds can play together in such a positive way using the international language of impro.
One of our big values in Hoopla and something we are really proud to do is it provide a community and fun place for people who are new to London. With workshops, shows and events we’ve always wanted Hoopla to be a place where newcomers are welcomed into London and can meet new friends.
I was lucky enough to grow up in London and wanted to extend the friendship I found through drama clubs at school into my adult life, and was lucky enough to have old school friends and a network to help me do that.
Beyond Hoopla the wider London and UK improv scene is also extremely friendly with the rest of Europe and finds great inspiration from the European improv scene. Many of the groups that perform at our venue now regularly tour around European improv festivals, and Jules at The Nursery has done an amazing job with a regular international improv festival (Slapdash) that has built greater links to the rest of Europe.
I recently taught in Belgium and various other places around the rest of Europe and always felt supported and welcomed, and I loved sharing laughs with people from different countries.
1. We love having an international mix of people in our workshops. We’re keen to encourage more of this. We already have a professional translator and also an English as a foreign language teacher on our staff of improv teachers, and if there is anything else we can do to help please let me know.
2. We want to welcome more people into the London improv scene. People new to London you will always be warmly welcomed into the impro scene, it’s the reason we exist as a company. We want to connect people together and have fun together.
3. To extend love to the rest of Europe after this ridiculous referendum result we’d like to ask European improv groups to get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’re interested in doing any of the following:
– Performing at our venue.
– Running workshops.
– Coming along and doing workshops and swapping skills.
We as a company don’t receive any arts council or government funding but I’m really keen to make this happen and I think we can. Our venue isn’t massive (70 seats) but we give 100% of profits from shows directly to the performing groups. We can also set up workshops for visiting groups to teach when they are here to help cover their travelling costs, as we have a great community of improvisers keen to learn new skills. We can also help visiting groups find accommodation in London.
I’d be especially interested in making contact with European groups who are experts in teaching:
– Commedia dell’Arte
– Physical Improv
So Europe, whatever our politics says, we want to work with you, we want to play with you, we want to connect with you. The referendum result today has made me wake up and want to fight for that even more.
As politics goes one way I want to encourage the impro scene to go the other. I want more connection with Europe not less. I would like international groups coming to London and performing with us and other impro venues, running workshops, swapping skills, making friends.
“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people” – Victor Borge