Moving into real-life improv from online

Our improv classes and shows are back in real-life at venues across London from late May and June.

Many people this past year have taken up online improv and we salute you brave digital pioneers! Hoopla’s online impro is here to stay and if you would like to also move into doing impro in real-life we’ve put together this handy blog to help!

Am I at a disadvantage having started out with improv online?

No. In fact quite the opposite! Our real-life courses and shows have been on hold pretty much for a year now. So real-life impro is going to be new to everyone and we will all be getting used to it again. That includes all of our students, teachers and performers. In fact each course, at all levels, is going to start with a session just on getting used to improvising in real-life.

So if you’ve been doing online improvising you are actually ahead of the game!

What are the differences and similarities between online improv and real-life improv?

Good question! Back in March 2020 online impro was seen as a temporary replacement for real-life, but since then online impro has grown into being its own art form that is here to stay.

Things like listening, dialogue, yes and, being honest and voice are all very similar between online and real-life workshops. In fact many of the exercises for those topics are exactly the same.

The biggest difference is going to be the physical world, with more space for more movement and play. But that’s going to be new for everyone after lockdown, and getting used to that is going to be a big part of life in general that hopefully improv can help with.

Similarly we think there will be a big difference in the emotional connection of scenes. Online is very face to face so it’s been surprising how much emotional connection is possible, and with real-life we expect we will have increased (and welcome) feelings on stage as we make real eye contact and pick up greater body language. This may feel odd at first, but again we think this will be part of general life changes after lockdowns and hopefully something improv is helpful with.

Then as we go on we’ll be able to play with more shows formats and games that we can’t do online, play more with space, play with characters and create new improv together.

How will Hoopla help us get used to improvising in real-life?

By getting it into gradually and in a supportive way! This is going to feel different to everybody, including our teachers, so we’ll get into it through playful games and give you space to try things out. We’re not going to rush anybody, and that’s true for all levels, and will check in with you on a regular basis.

At the start of each course, at all levels, we’ll be running a session just on getting back into real-life improv or doing it for the first time.

This has been a tough year and we think play is a great way to start recovering from that!

Will online courses and drop-ins continue at Hoopla?

Yes online courses and drop-ins are here to stay at Hoopla and will be here even after the pandemic is long gone (that day will come). It gives people a chance to do improv no matter where they are in the world and brings people together from all backgrounds from all over the world, and we love it, so we’re going to be doing it forever more in addition to all of our real-life things.

Can I move an existing online booking to a real-life booking or vise versa?

Yes we are always happy to be flexible so just let us know ([email protected]) and we will move that over at no extra charge.

Why do you call it real-life when online also happens in real-life?

Don’t know! Couldn’t think of anything else! Any better terms win a bottle of fizz!

What level course should I do?

I’ve done an online taster day or a couple of online drop-ins, what real-life course should I do?

It would be best to start with our 8 week Beginners Improv Course. This is our most popular course and the best place to start with real-life improv. The topics and themes you covered in our online taster day or online drop-in will be great practice and compliment the real-life course.

I’ve done the online beginners course (Level 1), what real-life course should I do?

A couple of options really. You would be able to start our Level 2 Performance Course in real-life. This is an 8 week course with a show at the end at our theatre. Many of the people booking on this course have come direct from our online beginners course, so you wouldn’t be alone, and everyone else on them have had a booking postponed from months ago so have had quite a long break from real-life improv. We’ll be getting back into things very gradually so it hopefully shouldn’t feel like too big a leap. Real-life improv is going to feel very new to everyone this summer!

Alternatively you are also welcome to repeat our Beginners Course but in real-life. It will have many of the same exercises as the online version, plus some new games, and will be a more gradual and easier way into real-life improv.

If you start on one level and want to change just let us know ([email protected]) and we will move you over at no extra charge. We are always happy to be flexible.

I’ve done the online intermediate (Level 2) course, what real-life course should I do?

Either Level 2 or Level 3 in real-life.

Level 2 is lots of short-form games and shorter scenes, loads of fun, and the show at the end at our improv theatre in front of a live audience is a great experience. That’s a fun low stress way to get into improv in real-life if you’ve already done our Level 2 online. It’s longer than the online course too so you’ll have lots of time to get used to things.

You can also hop straight into the Level 3 course in real-life if you prefer. This course focuses on lots of improvised scene-work and relationships in improv. It is probably the most different course from our online courses, with loads of different exercises that we couldn’t transfer to online, so would a full immersion into real-world improv!

Again whatever you think would be most fun for you we are happy with, and please get in touch ([email protected]) if you would like to chat more.

I’ve done one or more advanced online courses, but nothing in real-life, what real-life courses should I do?

Good question!

Ideally it would be best to start with our Level 3 Scenes Course in real-life as there is loads more to real-life improv that we couldn’t transfer to online, and the Level 3 Scenes course gives the best immersion in real-life improvised scene-work.

However if you would prefer you can also start with one of our Level 4 or Advanced Courses too.

Whatever feels the most fun, pursue that.

And as before you are also welcome to change bookings if you feel you are on the wrong level, we want what is best for you.


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