Why is the Hoopla Improv Marathon the same week as Slapdash Improv Festival?

Why is the Hoopla Improv Marathon the same week as Slapdash Improv Festival?

Someone just asked, as they were concerned we had deliberately put it on at the same time as an act of competition which goes against the lovely relationship Hoopla and The Nursery have. I was originally just going to chat to them but in case anybody else was concerned here’s the story.

The short answer is due to a mistake in choosing dates, by me, that was too late to go back on.

This August we were booking in all of our Autumn shows when we had the idea of running a Del Close style improv marathon. We then floated the idea to The Miller where we host our shows, and their manager and owner were surprisingly up for it. They then looked into licensing laws with the council and were able to get 20th – 22nd October approved for late opening on that weekend early.

At the time I thought Slapdash was in Spring for some reason, maybe it had been Spring once before I’m not sure, but I honestly didn’t realise that it was the same week. We knew we weren’t clashing with The Nursery re-opening but didn’t think to check about Slapdash as I really thought it was months away.

The first we realised about it was later when I bumped into Jules at The Nursery and we realised the dates were the same. By that point though the late opening had been approved by the council, The Miller were already committed and had already arranged late night through the night bar staff and security.

So it was too late to change, which I am sorry about as we should have changed.

However running up to the week we will also be promoting Slapdash, as we have done every year, and the aim of our event is not to undercut the other in anyway.

In fact during our Marathon weekend the main shows (8pm – 10pm) are the same as they would have been otherwise, so no change there, the only change is that we’re also running shows much later for that weekend only.

Also the capacity of our venue is only 75 afterall so we’re not talking about a huge amount of people, and in other years both Hoopla and Nursery/Slapdash have been full on the same night no problem.

We have a lovely history with The Nursery. Many of our teachers also teach with The Nursery, all of our performers and groups also perform there and a huge amount of our courses are based there, so we don’t want to do anything to upset this relationship.

Over the years we’ve always tried to avoid clashing with other improv companies over major events where possible, but I made a mistake this time.

Hoopla has a big team of teachers and performers, but in terms of the actual show bookings and coordinating dates this is just me and Angela part-time, so we do have to work quickly and make quick decisions as we just don’t have the manpower currently to do anything else, so this time we missed the dates.

We’re trying to put on as many improv shows as possible for as many improv groups as possible. Last week alone we hosted around 20 groups I think. To manage that amount of people and groups week in week out ongoing is really hard work, and I’m afraid we do make mistakes sometimes.

So I’m sorry if the clash of dates was seen as unnecessary conflict  but as you can hopefully see this really wasn’t my intention and I do genuinely try to work with companies as much as possible rather than clash.


Steve Roe, Director of Hoopla Impro. Improv classes, shows and improv comedy club in London, UK.


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