Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Many thanks from us to everyone involed in the Hoopla Improv Marathon!

Blog by Steve Roe, Director of Hoopla Impro. Improv courses, shows and improv comedy club in London, UK. 
Wow that was quite a weekend!!!

Many thanks to everyone involved in watching, working, volunteering, performing, watching, dancing, glow stick waving and more! 

The weekend was made up of a team of 100s of people so I can't name check everyone but I want to let everyone know that it meant a huge amount to me and everyone in Hoopla and we really appreciate everyone getting involved to such an amazing extent.

I only just woke up recently so haven't checked in with The Miller about how much was raised for charity (Team Margot), but I should know soon and I think it probably smashed all our expectations. 

Here's some extra special thanks for people!



Georgina Roe - thank you for being such an amazing person and looking after me through the festival! 

Audience - It was amazing having people watching a show at odd times like 3am on a Friday and Saturday night, and then an epic busy 10am show on Saturday and Sunday! Thank you so much for coming out at weird times and giving us a go. It far exceeded all our expectations so thank you!

Roxanne - A very special member of the audience who made it to every single show over the entire weekend! She started to hallucinate late night Saturday and felt it was all part of the experience. We salute you!

Charles Ross - The owner of The Miller, thank you so much for letting us put on our crazy things and taking a chance on this. 

James Pain - Also from The Miller, you did an amazing job thank you so much for sorting out everything with council, staffing, acts, me, press, promoting and more. You're an awesome bloke!

Jen, Jess, Ross, Ollie, Luke and everyone at The Miller - Thank you so much for everything this weekend and always. Working through the night, looking after us during terrorist attacks, you are amazing people and having a drink with you all at 4am was one of my favourite bits of the weekend. 

Angela Pollard - Thank you for bringing me chocolate at the best time moments ever and thank you for everything you do with our shows, press, promoting and more. In August it was just an idea on a flip chart paper in a dusty office, and it's happened!

Myrian Panayi - Thank you so much for doing front of house for a million and two hours and for being so patient and calm and for looking after me when I was tired! 

Emily Brazee - Thank you for doing the best and most organised press job ever, you are amazing!

Tim Grewcock - Thank for sorting out our late night shows and inspiring the marathon in the first place with your tales of New York. You have great taste and you were totally right, Spring Watch at 3am is what the crowd needs. 

Phil Lunn - Thank you for playing for so many people and for bringing such amazing shows. 

Liam Brennan - Thank you for being in the most shows ever over the weekend and for being my on the floor of a pub sleeping buddy.  

Rob T and Clusterf**k - Thank you for bring such a great variety of acts! 

ACTS AND GROUPS - Thanks for wanting to do it in the first place! I wasn't even sure if people would want to perform at 3am in the morning, but your enthusiasm was amazing and you brought the most exciting improv I have ever seen. Thanks for doing such a great job and for being so fun to work with. 

 
Method Acting Award for staying in character off-stage: The Bareback Kings.
Staying in role as South London geezers so much that I even thought Rebecca Schuster hadn't been there all weekend until I realised I'd been talking to her geezer character instead.

The Mega Face Award for late night fun: Hot Morris.
Providing improvised Morris dancing to the masses! Morris Dancing is BACK in the cool books of the UK. 

The Spirit of Hoopla award: Kathy and Unai in the morning. 
When I first announced the marathon I thought NOBODY would want the 8am slots on Saturday or Sunday morning. Instead Kathy and Unai immediately emailled and said they wanted BOTH of them for an early morning breakfast show, which they then run both days even after being there late night before, and even put on cream teas. They were upbeat and cheerful just when the weekend needed it!

The Merchandise award: Kathy and Unai in the morning. 
I've never seen a one off show with it's own mugs, badges, signs, fan club and more before, but I like it!

The Higher State of Consciousness Award: Dave Waller.
At 5am Dave played whale music mixed with hip hop while Tim Grewcock run a guided meditation through a loudspeaker while we played with lights and sound to an audience of three people including the manager of the Miller. Thank you Dave!

The Community Spirit Award: Phil Lunn's Hoopla Village Hall Choral Society.
20 people up on stage, together for the first time, at 11:30am on a Saturday morning improvising together as a choir. Very beautiful moment thank you Phil!

The Roof Raiser Award: The Dreaming. 
This is a really incredible show. Two people (Alex Fradera and John Agaiou) with the most big and physical improv show I have ever seen. Incredibly funny and gripping and PASSIONATE!

The Audience Participation Award: Improvised Crystal Maze.
This HAS to happen again! Audience members complete crystal maze puzzles improvised out of thin air.

The Innovation Award: Dark Matters.
This was one of my favourite moments of the festival, put together by people who I think have only been doing improv with us for a year or so. An improvised shadow puppet show. It was their first time putting it on, and only 10 minutes, and yet it was the most professional and well executed show I have seen in ages. Put together with a real love and care that translated into the cast members who had a sense of care and playfulness and love for each other that inspired one audience member at the end of the festival to say that it summed up how to do improv: "love each other even when in shadows". 

The International Award: Kevin Miller with History Under the Influence.
This was an incredible show. Kevin (from Hideout Theatre Texas) put together a cast of people he had only just met and put together an incredibly fun narrative show. 


The National Rail Award for furthest traveled: Direct Theatre. Next time I see you I will hopefully have slept enough to have a personality and social skills and be able to say hello properly! Thank you for coming and weaving your fish and chip shop magic! 


Legends of Improv Award: Stephen Frost, Steve Steen, Alan Marriott, Phil Whelans, Dylan Emery and Suki Webster: You all inspired me when I was first starting in improv, with teaching, shows, Comedy Store Players, Whose Line and more. Seeing you perform at Hoopla was an honour and a pleasure thank you! 


Our regular groups and teachers: Thank you so much I'm so lucky to have you in my life and Hoopla you are so great and lovely to work with thank you so much! You hold this altogether so thanks for sticking with us!


We've asked The Miller if we can do it again next year, probably late September, fingers crossed!

 
Love each other even when in shadows. 


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

Saturday, 30 September 2017

How to practice improv when not in rehearsal or show.

Today's shortish blog from an improviser:

"I'd LOVE to read about improv exercises/games/warm ups you can do on your own, without a partner or a team…"

My favourite one to do is from Meisner Technique training. The next time someone says to you "how are you?" in real life, no matter when or where, take a moment to think about it and then answer honestly. It practices emotional honesty in the present moment. Yes, some people will think you're odd, but you'll also be surprised at how quickly it also breaks barriers in a nice way.

Other things to practice on own when not in rehearsal:

- Every time you pick up an object in real life, immediately after pick up the mimed version of the object with the same movements and imagine the same weight. It helps to notice how actions work in real life so we can make our object work more believeable. Don't pick up real guns though, keep them mimed please.

- Send 5 improvisers a message about why you like watching them or improvising them. It keeps you in the mindset of supporting others rather than worrying about how you are doing.

- Start your day by writing 3 pages of freehand notes about anything, the first thing that comes to you, without worrying about it or editing it. Show nobody. This is called Morning Pages and is from the book The Artist's Way and is a good way of opening up ideas and coming into touch with your thoughts and feelings.

- Go for a run and eat healthily, it means you turn up to shows energised and happy rather than starting every warm up with "guys I'm really tired".

- In general conversations and meetings practice relaxed open body language, relieving tension from yourself which helps the other people to relieve tension.

- Give someone you don't know all that well a small present.

www.hooplaimpro.com

Monday, 18 September 2017

Anxiety about not being quick or funny enough when improvising.


A friend of mine is suffering anxiety about not being quick or funny enough when improvising.

This can be a vicious cycle for performers that gets worse and worse, until they end up doing less and less shows or quitting improv all together. 

What doesn't help in this situation is "trying". Trying to be quick or funny can often lead to the opposite happening. When we are trying too hard to be funny no idea seems good enough, as we are measuring ourselves against an impossible benchmark, and before we know it out internal editor blocks all of these ideas which again results in perceived "slowness" and being unfunny. Then the cycle continues, and we again go on stage with the delusion that we are not quick or funny and again try too hard and reject all of our ideas resulting in feeling stuck and stale. 

So we need to snap out of this cycle. 

The best way to do this is counter intuitive, and it is weirdly to not try to be funny or quick and instead just be average, normal and even slow. 

When we give ourselves permission to be average we can relax and actually react like normal humans in the situation, instead of trying to speed write in our minds at the expense of emotions. 

When we give ourselves permission to be average we release what is uniquely us, instead of trying too hard to become an external image of what we regard as 'good' or 'creative'.
The only you is you. And the average you is interesting to others, as they are not you but like to see your own take on the world. 

The purpose of many improv exercises is to allow you to be your full self on stage without apology, rather than doing an impression of other performers or striving for external perfection. 

The aim is still to put on an awesome exciting show for the audience. But it is real humans on stage without fear that gives people this. And it is the Jedi mind trick of "being average" that helps performers to get out of the anxiety loop and live without fear on stage. 

These views originally come from Keith Johnstone, Viola Spolin and places like io theatre and we now teach exercises to help with this on our courses in London with Hoopla Impro, and we're going to be posting loads more resources about things that help actors improvise without fear on our facebook page Hoopla Impro. If you can't make a course, no problem, we're still happy to help improvisers any way we can so please get in touch.

hooplaimpro.com