I’m on a bit of a break from teaching and performing until September now, and I woke up with these happy memories of the year so far and thought I’d share:
DANGER: DRAMA LUVVIE ALERT!!!
End of Course Shows
These are actually my favourite shows ever, it’s so exciting seeing people performing improv for the first time and it’s always amazing seeing them blow the roof off The Miller! It was great having Steve Tanner and Jon Keene in a performance course, two old school friends of mine who actually named Hoopla years ago accidentally on camping trip to Devon. Also it was great having Hannah from Theatre Delicatessen and Nomad Studio doing a course, it’s a classic case of Theatre Deli bonding people together and helping people learn from each other.
Anthony Atamanuik, The Nursery, C3Something
I was lucky enough to do some workshops with Anthony Atamanuik (Death by Roo Roo, UCB). He’d always been a performer I’d love watching (here he is in a monoscene, https://youtu.be/eyeFemMm9s0) so it was really inspiring to be taught by him too. His workshops felt totally in synch with what I want to do in improv, and it really woke me up to how funny and exciting improv can be.
Many thanks to C3Something and The Nursery and Slapdash Festival for getting him and so many other great people over. In London we are in the amazing position of having people from all over the world coming to teach us and perform, it’s becoming a melting pot of improv and the improv casserole it is creating tastes delicious.
Hoopla Summer Festival
We tried out our first ever summer festival of improv with around 25 shows over two days. I enjoyed it so much I actually can’t wait to do it again, probably for few more days next summer and maybe a smaller winter version too. I have the greatest respect for Little Sebastian, who did the last act of the first night and even though it was really late and many of the audience had gone to catch last tubes they were totally professional, upbeat and put on a great show. Also LadyG who performed solo and yet was totally committed to big emotions in scenes and combined clowning and improv really well, she also made me laugh loudly from the sound booth. Also Excursions ending the second night with Ella screaming from the back and then transforming the noise into the most beautiful song that has ever happened. Also also also so many fun acts and lovely volunteers and thanks everyone! Oh gosh I’m turning into a luvvie. Sod it, nothing wrong with that, I’m a luvvie.
I love our audience, we really do have the best audience ever. People who watched ever show at our festival, we salute you! People waiting to get on front row for RH and Friends. People volunteering to be in games off the cuff. People putting up with the sound of the kitchen next door during a quiet scene on stage. It’s great that we now have an improv audience, oh my gosh that’s lovely, and we want to keep booking in fun and interesting things for people to see and participate in.
It took me bloody ages to pluck up the courage to perform in an improv show, and then ages again to do my second one. So it’s amazing to see improvisers who are new to the scene be so supportive and so committed right from the start, there’s a real spirit of anything is possible right now and new people are bring new energy that is inspiring everyone.
I love having more teachers with us now, being able to catch up after workshops and swap notes and exercises has been really fun and made it clearer what we are doing and why. The moment I’m lacking motivation or energy I talk to one of them and they pick me up. I actually don’t know where they all get their energy from actually, but it’s contagious on a good way.
I love doing this so much. It’s with a good friend of mine (Becca Marriott) who is a trained opera singer (unlike me) and it’s so much fun it’s like being on a roller coaster. I’m hoping to do more of this in between Becca doing ‘proper’ operas.
This place has made such a massive difference to us. Having a place with so much reasonably priced rehearsal space has enabled us to do more, and also helped the improv scene to work together. There were many nights where I think there were about 6 improv groups on the same night, and then hanging out in the bar after. The staff there are amazing too, so professional and friendly.
It’s also great having a lovely place like The Miller to work with. We’ve got a really great relationship with James and the rest of the team, and they are really supportive of improv, so it’s lovely being in synch with a venue like that. I love being able to buy cider by the box at a pub too, although that is slightly jealous and usually results in me having to get a night bus after some dodgy fried chicken in Borough High Street.
Performing with Friends
I recently read a blog with some advice from Amy Poehler (http://hellogiggles.com/amy-poehler-comedy-wisdom/) where she said to focus on doing good stuff friends, and I couldn’t agree more. In fact I now have it stuck on a post it note above my computer. I love meeting up with people like Joel and Sophie on a Friday morning to record some improvised sketches, or teams to film things, or George and I improvising in the kitchen, or House Band to play some games, that’s what it’s all about. So hopefully in Autumn we’ll be ‘getting gooder’ with more friends.
Drinking Buddies Sketch
I’m slowly but surely working out how to film sketches and improv, and have tried out a few things this summer. One sketch was The Drinking Buddies Sketch (not yet edited) which was so much fun. I found myself writing something down without thinking (“10 people are stood in my bedroom shouting wake up”) and then on the day there’s this “holy shit this is real” feeling. Everything we’ve filmed so far has been so much fun to do, mainly it’s the bringing people together and making something from nothing. I’m going to be editing soon and we are going to film loads more in the autumn. It’s much harder work than I thought, so new found respect for directors and editors, but also much more fun that I thought.
The big improv picnic turned into a public due to bad weather, but it was still really fun and nice to chat to people I don’t usually get to chat to, without having to worry about last tubes or night buses.
And loads more, so thanks everyone! Have a great summer and we’ll be back with loads more shows and workshops and things from September.