I've started compiling my impro highlights of the year. I've probably missed loads so feel free to add to them if you can, I'm just adding them in no particular order as they come to my head:
- Edgar teaching 'be obvious' in workshops, always bringing me back to the right point. "NO, be obvious. If the suggestion is an operating theatre, what do I want to see? People operating and shit."
- On the point of exhaustion after The Music Box Cabaret in Edinburgh, Ben Hamblin handing me two cans of Red Stripe and a Twix, a reincorporation from over a month.
- Singing on the roof of C Venues with the cast of Do Not Adjust Your Stage.
- Wally showing his pants.
- A tent pole falling on George at The Wilheart Festival, but her doing the show anyway after the audience sang her Happy Birthday.
- Performing in an Aquarium with Music Box and Shotgun.
- Countless favourite Music Box shows like 'Escape from a penguin sanctuary', 'Giant Toy Shop', 'Casino' and 'Orient Express'.
- Walking around with sandwich board on for the whole of Edinburgh.
- Hysterical laughter with Jules Munns as torrential rain poured down our faces while putting up posters.
- Meeting Mike Hutcherson and finding we had the same taste in impro and films, and the ability to make both of them. Ending the year filming Zorbo Ironheart, which was awesome.
- Lots of shows that did a preview at The Miller going on to have major success in Edinburgh.
- Working with The Miller, still love those guys, many thanks.
- Random chats with Silus at The Rag Factory, a man of knowledge.
- The Human Loire.
- Do Not Adjust Your Stage rocking the Music Box cabaret. They were asked to do 15 minutes, but did their full show. Nobody cared 'cos it was good.
- Rehearsal for new shows I'm starting next year. First rehearsal for the re-invention of short-form went so well I'm really excited about it.
- Making more connections with Brighton, including The Maydays, Upstairs at Three and Ten, Nicola Tann and Chris Emmerson.
- The RH Experience, in general just knowing these guys always picks me and Edgar up. They're always trying new things and pushing things in new directions.
- Impro networking event - a hive of activity.
- Friday night party - so much fun having 8 people doing their first ever show alongside some who have been doing it for years.
- Theatre sports - loved performing with James, Maria and George in this.
- Phil Lunn only just making it to the keyboard during a Music Box show just as I'd finished getting the suggestions and we starting the opening number.
- The last aquarium show - nuts.
- Meeting and working with a bunch of clowns in Exeter.
- Meeting and working with the lovely Zsuzsi in Reading. Just having Hoopla somewhere else makes me immensly proud.
- Working with Lindsey and her great enthusiasm for impro in Cambridge.
- Jon Monkhouse for getting London Impro going, being so easy to work and play with, designing flyers for Music Box that actually allowed us to sell the show and make some money, patience, and silliness.
- Paul and Cariad for one of my favourite shows of the year.
- Singing with Becca on top of a hill at the start of Edinburgh, with such hits as "Nob balloon" and "they didn’t let us in".
- Roderick pushing the boundaries of stand-up, and hitting gold with his art critic act.
- Amazing stuff on Saturday workshops that seem to reivent impro on an almost weekly basis.
- Seeing so many groups at Edinburgh.
- Rob and Dave and Ryan from Marbles rapping on the Royal Mile.
- Thursdays always being a really great fun atmosphere, and us lot swamping people in The Firefly afterwards. Big Christmas love to the Thursday regulars!
- The start of Monday workshops. From a bunch of quiet people looking awkward at each other (me included) to some of the best stuff I've seen, within a couple of weeks. Watching some of them go from never having done anything, to being in shows for the first time is very rewarding.
Overall I'm grateful that people like that exist.
Whatever people think/teach/learn/read/talk about impro it really is as simple as a bunch of people working together to make up some stuff that hasn’t been made up before, in order to make another bunch of people laugh. And that’s why it’s beautiful.
Hoopla Impro Workshops and Shows
2012 workshop and show listings now online at www.HooplaImpro.com