It takes a village to raise an improv club

Hi everyone,

We usually write these sort of blogs at the end of the year but we just thought why not now. We’re just in a natural break between teaching seasons and want to take the time to say thanks to everyone involved with Hoopla. If we miss you don’t worry you’ll be in the end of year one!

From Steve:

It’s been such a full on year so far, in a good way, and what has stuck me most of all is how many amazing people are now involved with Hoopla and improv in general.

So, how many people does it take have an improv club?

Maybe 2 or more improvisers. But there are loads of shows happening each night, almost every night of the week. So that’s 100s of improvisers of differing levels of experience working together, coming up with crazy schemes, rehearsing, being brave and putting things on that go into the unknown. It’s a lot of work forming and growing an improv show so thank you.

Thank you to all our amazing groups. The regular weekend acts like The Maydays, The RH Experience, The Playground, Dreamweaver, Project2, Grand Theft Impro, Actor’s Nightmare, Guest Speaker, Glitch, Beings, Music Box and so many more. You’re all pushing the frontiers of improv and creating things that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago.

And thank you to all our newer acts performing at our Pre-Parties and Thursday Night Clubhouse. Your energy and enthusiasm lift my spirits and inspires me to do more and to make opportunities for new improvisers. There are new groups popping up now like Buffet that are putting on shows already that used to take us years and years to even get close to.

And thank you to our lovely house teams and coaches. This has inspired us to put on even more next year as it is so great watching a group of people come together as a team and create strong ever lasting friendships and a joyriding spirit of adventure to create great things.

And thank you to our amazing jam captains Ed Fargher, Catherine Haslam and more. They are now putting on a jam every single Wednesday and thank you jammers for coming along to support that. I know it can feel nerve wracking setting foot on stage with people you have only just met so well done for taking that step.

And thank you to everyone running their own shows – Nu Z Land, Ladyprov, The Committee, Zeal, the Monday night club and more. You’ve brought so much great new energy and fun into what we do so thank you.

Thank you to everyone pushing improv in new directions. Mike and Liam for pitching the most amazing new ideas at our Hoopla improv Marathon, Project2 for pioneering a new use of technology with improv, The Nursery for inspiring 100s of people into new shows.

So, how many people does it take have an improv club? 100s of improvisers.

But hang on, how are they going to put on that show if there is nobody to put on the lights, introduce them on, do the sound, welcome people in and manage the night?

So thank you to our amazing team of front of house volunteers, managers, technicians and hosts. Helice did an amazing job of managing our nights and looking after acts and audience night after night, and we wish her well now she has gone back to University. New front of house manager Joe Cazalet-Smith is doing an amazing job as our new front of house manager, being professional and friendly and welcoming all at the same time. Jules Miller-Bakewell, Tom Bacon and more are providing tech support in their spare time that is so professional and making shows look more glamourous than improv ever thought possible. Monica Gaga, Mandeep Sandhu, Sean McInerney and more are doing a fabulous job of hosting and bringing people together into the warm happy bubble of improv.

And massive THANK YOU to our front of house volunteers. Without you there is no way we would put on so many nights. So thank you for helping out and supporting the improv scene.

So, how many people does it take have an improv club? 100s of improvisers + 30 or so front of house volunteers, technicians, hosts and more.

But where is this improv show going to happen, in the middle of a field?

Luckily, we have a stage and a roof! And fantastic venue staff that look after us, help promote shows and support what we do. Thank you to Jen, Charles, Ross, Jess and everyone at The Miller for supporting us over the years and for being open to crazy schemes like opening non-stop for three days and more. And thank you to Jon Monkhouse for rebuilding our stage and lights and making it awesome.

So, how many people does it take have an improv club? 100s of improvisers + 30 front of house + 15 venue staff.

But who is watching this show?

Without an audience we’d basically just be doing a workshop to ourselves. So thank to EVERYONE that has come out to watch improv at Hoopla over the years. Our first show was in Balham to some work mates of mine that I kind of dragged there because it was my birthday, we didn’t know what we were doing but we loved it. I never imagined back then that people like Paul Merton, Josie Lawrence, Suki Webster, The Showstoppers, Stephen Frost and more would all come and perform at Hoopla.

We don’t have the budget of The Soho Theatre or the marketing reach of The National Theatre so what gives us such a lovely audience week after week is that people come back. I love hosting our shows and looking out into the room and recognising so many people. So thanks for coming along and thanks for coming back. At some point you may have been new to improv but fancied watching something new, so thank you for that!

So, how many people does it take have an improv club? 100s of improvisers + 30 front of house + 15 venue staff + 1000s of audience members.

But how do people hear about these shows?

Thank you to Angela Pollard for promoting our shows so well and doing such an amazing job, and to all of our teaching team and all of our performers for spreading word and being proud to put on new things. And thank you to friends like Max, James, Chris, Katy, Maria, Liam and more who constantly help out and advise and listen to me when we are working out what to do. And thank you to our web team for making us all swish and modern at last.

And thank you again to Angela for doing such a great job of booking in such amazing things and communicating with so many groups in such a great way.

So, how many people does it take have an improv club? 100s of improvisers + 30 front of house + 15 venue staff + 1000s of audience members + 5 promoters and bookers.

But how did these improvisers doing these shows learn what to do in the first place?

Thanks to all of our improv teachers and students! I find it so inspiring running our beginners’ courses and watch people go from fear of the stage into improvising entire multi scene stories from nothing. And when they go on to form groups and perform on our stage it really is amazing. Every single person doing a workshop with us brings something different that inspires us every day.

So, how many people does it take have an improv club? 100s of improvisers + 30 front of house + 15 venue staff + 1000s of audience members + 5 promoters and bookers + 20 teachers + 1000s of students.

So I reckon it takes over 4000 people to have an improv club. That’s the size of a village, quite a big village. In fact according to google that’s the size of a town.

It takes a town to run an improv club. And thank you everyone for being involved!

Yes I know I will have left lots of people of this list, sorry if I have, you’ll be featured in the Christmas highlights of the year!

From Angela:

I would love to send out a BIG THANK YOU to those who help Hoopla!!

To our Tech and Front of house volunteers!!  We literally couldn’t run our nights without your help.  Special thanks to tech Jules who has tech almost all our weekend shows for the last two seasons, your skills are of a west end professional and we are so grateful you give up so much of your time.   Special thanks to Hoopla squad members: Maggie, Amanda, Claudia, Ines, Leanna, Vanessa, Mairi, Juwel, Alistar Becky, Tom, Nick, Holly, James, David, Sarah and Benjamin! (I hope I haven’t missed anyone…)

Thank you to our Jam captains Ed Fargher and Catherine Haslam who have been running Hoopla improv jams on Wednesday nights out of their sheer love of improv! And Izzi who kindly steps in when we need cover!

Thank you to our Hoopla Hosts, Sean McInerney who had turn Thursdays into a super fun Improv Clubhouse. Monica our weekend host who’s presents guarantees it will be an awesome night for all!  Mandeep, Katherine O’Conor, Bryn, Ed, Unai, Katherine, Liam, Holly, Juwel and Leanna thank you for hosting Hoopla nights over the last year, as like Monica, your presents also garenntees an awesome night!!

Thank you to all our acts who have taken part in our Pre-Parties! Launchpads! Wednesday takeovers! Improv Clubhouse! Fridays & Saturday shows and late-night shows and newset night Hoopla Mondays Comedy Club!!

There wouldn’t be shows without you!! As a performer myself I know much time & money that goes into creating an improv acts and we truly appreciate your efforts x

Our Wednesday audience numbers have been growing and growing and that’s THANKS to the producers of NU Z LAND, ZEAL, LADYPROV and THE COMMITTEE!  Always bring amazing acts to Hoopla audiences x

Some of our Friday nights also have takeovers which are always AMAZING!  Thank you RH Experience for RH & Friends, Maria Peters & Lauren Shearing for the Playground and Grand Theft Impro for GTI & Enemies!!

Our newest night ‘Hoopla Mondays Comedy Club’ is run by some fabulous human beings who have created a wonderful stand-up night! They bring together, newbies, up and coming & established stand-up acts into a night of joy! Thank you to Darius, Aidan, Jane, Janene Lin and Daniel Cady for making this happen!

Thank to Jen, Ross and all the staff at The Miller, for making it possible for Hoopla to run so many nights! And agreeing to let us do all our crazy ideas! Like the Improv Marathon! The Miller’s team rock our world!

 

There’s so many people involved with Hoopla and UK improv now so thank you everyone!

 

 

 

 

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