Saturday, 31 December 2016

Impro highlights of 2016 and plans for 2017.


Hoopla impro courses and shows are back second week of January, details at www.HooplaImpro.com

Blog by Steve Roe, Director of Hoopla Impro. Courses, shows and improv club in London, UK.
Twitter: @HooplaImpro
Facebook: /HooplaImpro
Website: www.HooplaImpro.com


This blog isn't going to talk about politics or dead celebrities. Not that those things haven't been sad this year, it's just that this is an impro blog and I'm an impro savant. Weirdly 2016 has actually been a really good year for improv, which means I have turned into this idiot in a daily mash article: http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/2016-best-year-of-my-life-says-fking-idiot-20161219119212

So here's a selection of some of my personal improv highlights of 2016:


Introducing lots of beginners to improv

I love running our beginners courses and I love seeing people improvise on stage for the first time. Seeing people go from totally new to anything on stage to then improvising in front of a live audience is quite a thrill to us teachers as well as them. 

Partnerships

This Hoopla wouldn't exist at all without the great relationships we have with The Nursery, The Miller, The Maydays, The Poor School, The Charles Dickens School, C3Something, Duck Duck Goose, Theatre Delicatessen, St Mungo's, The Horse all of our performing groups, all of our teachers and many many more. In fact just attempting to write that list made me realise that there are easily 100 other groups/charities/organisations that we rely on and couldn't exist without.

In 2016 I really realised the huge value in partnering with other groups and organisations as it enables us to do so much more than we could by ourselves.

Performance Groups

Again over Christmas I've realised how lucky we are to have so many great performing groups working with us. Do Not Adjust Your Stage, Glitch, Guest Speaker, Geekeasy, The Playground, Music Box, RH Experience, TSOLT, GTI, C3Something, Maydays, Giggle Loop and Story Kitchen are just of the regularly performing groups and there are almost a 100 more who come and perform too.


Plus it's been really exciting to see so many new groups form at Launch Pads and other nights, and we're keen to support them ongoing.

Also the influence of Free Association and Monkey Toast has been really postive on us and the wider improv scence. 

Front of House Volunteers

This has been a huge change for the better this year. I put a bit of a cry for help up on facebook and twitter as we needed more help with shows and things. I was expected about 10 volunteers but instead got 100. The enthusiasm and support of these volunteers has meant that we've been able to put on more shows than ever, and are increasing our shows to 4 nights a week next year and then gradually increasing over next year to a full time venue. 

I really mean it, without the great volunteers we have we wouldn't be doing so many shows, so thank you very much it genuinely wouldn't happen without you.

If you fancy helping out at shows by the way there's some info at http://www.hooplaimpro.com/show-squad.html

Filming Team

I'm so excited about our filming team!!!! We've got a lovely team built up now and have done some training, so are ready to go with filming improv and sketches and semi-improvised sketches next year. I'm really excited about this. We've been tipping our toes into the filming world the last year but we're ready to jump in naked next year. We're just doing it for fun so please let me know if you'd like to be involved somehow.

End of course shows

Well done to everyone who performed improv for the first time this year, I really enjoyed every single end of course show. it's such a roller coaster of a journey and it's always amazing to see. I love watching people perform improv or a new form for the first time, when they are genuinely surprised at what they are saying moment by moment. 

Teachers


Big New Year shout to the Hoopla teaching team!!!!!!!!! I'm really lucky to have such a great team who are so passionate about supporting people into doing impro for the first time. I'm really lucky as I get to co-teach with Edgar who cracks me up and stops me taking anything too seriously. Plus whenever I've an impro problem I phone any of them up and chat and they not only fix my impro problem but my whole brain, thank you!

The Maydays Christmas Party

This was one of my favourite shows of the year. They do such a good job of bringing together a community of improvisers, and I've never seen a jam work so well in my life. Scene after scene was a hit and there is such a warm lovely vibe around everything they do. Also it was great to see people I knew as a beginners totally rock it on stage - Jessie and Iain I'm talking about you! 

Story Kitchen

Being in Story Kitchen is like stapling ones scrotum (or alternative) to an airplane and then seeing where it takes you. I mean that in a good way! Just when life settles down or becomes "normal" I find there is a monthly Story Kitchen show around the corner and before I know it I'm singing an opera while eating a cucumber. Faye is doing a great job of directing a box full of frogs that have inhaled jumping gas.

Panto!

Oh my gosh I loved this so much! Our last Narrative Long-Form Course of the year was Panto themed even though many of the cast, and many of the audience, had never seen a Panto. And it bloody worked!!! Ha! 

I really like this course as it combines all my favourite things into one thing: commedia dell'arte, narrative, characters, archetypes, love, death, villains, action, adventure and loads more. 

I love the London improv scene as it feels like everything from around the world, and history, is melting together to make some really great stuff. Game of the scene mixes with Narrative, Chicago improv mixes with Italian Commedia dell'Arte, theatre mixes with comedy.

Music Box

I really enjoyed every single Music Box show I saw this year and think they've really clicked as a group. The singing sounds beautiful, great use of genres and a nice balance between story, fun, character, relationships and love. 

If I was to put money on just one breakthrough group in 2017 it would be Music Box. 

The Showstoppers, The Mischief Theatre, Austentatious


It's been great to see The Showstoppers, The Mischief Theatre and Austentatious have such great mainstream success this year.

The Mischief Theatre used to be The Scat Pack improv group, before producing comedies like The Play That Goes Wrong and Peter Pan Goes Wrong. This year they've had three plays on the West End, won an Olivier Award, transferred to Broadway and got a BBC One TV show and radio show. Phew! I hope they've had a decent rest at Christmas.

What I've loved about seeing the success of them and Showstoppers and Austentatious is that it is the most well deserved thing I've ever seen. They are all some of the most hardworking improvisers out there and it's their dedication to making improv and comedy an art that has lead to their success.

At the Edinburgh Fringe The Scat Pack (later The Mischief) were performing about three shows a day, flyering all the time, guest appearing in other shows, doing all the press they could and basically working hard non-stop. And to top it all they were always really friendly and professional too. 

It's amazing to see it all pay off for them, and they've inspired many others including to me to work hard

Hoopla Plans for 2017:

  • To run lots of fun impro courses, especially for beginners and people new or newish to improv, and make those courses as fun and supportive as possible.
  • To improve diversity in the improv scene and help make improv open to all, in collaboration with other groups (more about that at http://www.hooplaimpro.com/improv-resources-community.html)
  • To increase our shows to four evenings a week from the second week of January (details on website soon). Wednesdays will be for newer groups or groups trying out new things, Thursday - Saturday will be a selection of the finest groups around. 
  • Working with groups to keep raising the standard of improv as high as possible to open up a wider audience.
  • To film lots of improv, sketches and semi-improvised sketches for fun and experience. 

Thanks again to everyone who has been involved in making this year great for improv, we really appreciate it and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!




Hoopla impro courses and shows are back second week of January, details at www.HooplaImpro.com 

Blog by Steve Roe, Director of Hoopla Impro. Courses, shows and improv club in London, UK.
Twitter: @HooplaImpro
Facebook: /HooplaImpro
Website: www.HooplaImpro.com



Monday, 31 October 2016

Hoopla Beginners Improv Exercises - Part 2.


Blog by Steve Roe, co-founder of Hoopla Impro. Courses, shows and improv club in London, UK. Twitter: @HooplaImpro. Facebook: HooplaImpro. Website: www.HooplaImpro.com. Email: hooplaimpro@gmail.com.

Hoopla's next Beginners Improv Courses are starting in November and January in London: Beginners Improv Courses.

If you've done a Beginners Course our best next step is our Performance Improv Course, starting November and January in London: Performance Improv Course.

This is part 2 of our write up of Beginners Improv Exercises from our recent courses. For part 1 please click here.


Setting the Environment (things we say at start of class)

We have an atmosphere of safety, trust and support.
You are not by yourself, we're playing together as a team and supporting each other.
You are allowed to make mistakes, they often lead to the best bit in improv.
You can say the first thing that comes to you, you don't have to edit yourself, as long as you are coming from a place of fun, love and respect for your fellow improviser.
You don't have to be clever or funny or make up jokes, the humour comes naturally from the situation.
Listen.
Yes And.
Commit.

Warm Ups

Grandmother's Footsteps: An old children's game that we use to get people playing together. One person is Grandmother or Grandfather, stood with their back to the class. Everyone else has to sneak up and try and touch them on the shoulder. The Grandparent can turn around whenever they want and if they catch anyone moving that person goes back to the beginning and starts sneaking up again. The first person to touch Grandmother is the winner. We repeat with variations where the people sneaking up are pirates, zombies or cheeky 1950s cockneys, to encourage more fun in a game.

1,2,3: Surpisingly fun game for something so simple. Two people face each other. They count to three, changing who starts the count each time. For instance:

Brian - 1
Sarah - 2
Brian - 3
Sarah - 1
Brian - 2
Sarah - 3

We then repeat where instead of saying 2 they clap their hands, and then also adding in instead of saying 3 they jump in the air:

Brian - 1
Sarah - Clap
Brian - Jumps
Sarah - 1
Brian - Clap
Sarah - Jumps

Triangles: I orginally got this from Mick Barnfather I think, and it seems to be used by loads of people. Everyone in the room thinks of two other people, but doesn't tell them. When the director shouts go everyone tries to stay in an equilateral triangle with their two people, so the whole group is moving around and maybe even finds equilibrium.

Spontaneity Exercises

8 Things: Someone jumps into the middle of the circle. They are given a category of things to say 8 of. They say 8 things in that category as quickly as they can, with everyone shouting encouragement for each one and a round of applause at the end. It's important that everyone enthusiastically supports every suggestion, this helps the group trust each other that ever offer will be supported. They are encouraged to say the first things that come to them, the game isn't called 8 Right Things afterall! For instance:

Brian - Hi everyone I'm Brian
Everyone - Hi Brian!
Director - 8 types of holiday
Brian - Skiing!
Everyone - ONE!
Brian - Beach!
Everyone - TWO!
Brian - Safari!
Everyone - THREE!
Brian - Naked skinny dippinng holiday!
Everyone - FOUR!
Brian - Cheese museum holiday!
Everyone - FIVE!
Brian - Weston super mare!
Everyone - SIX!
Brian - Staycation!
Everyone - SEVEN!
Brian - Mountain climbing!
Everyone - EIGHT! Those were 8 things! (dance and applause).

Is there anymore?
We originally were taught this by Kevin Tomlinson. Here's an example of it:

Brian - does small sound and action
Sarah - That's great!
Brian - Thank you
Sarah - Is there anymore?
Brian - Yes! Escalates his original sound and action.
Sarah - That's great!
And it continues repeating that dialogue with the sound and action escalating.

Yes And Exercises

Captain Welcome to Ship Chat:
I have an example scene that I talk through with examples of the difference between accepting and blocking. It's a bit long to write up at the moment but I will get to it one day!

Yes Based Conversations: People in pairs have simple conversations where they use the word yes lots and say yes to statements that pop up, and try to give each offers the other person would like to do. Originally learnt from Heather at The Maydays. For instance:

Gunther: Hey, let's go to the theme park on Saturday.
Heidi: Yes, let's make a picnic to go with us.
Gunther: Yes great idea, let's take a picnic and eat it on the roller coaster.
Heidi: Yes I love extreme eating.

You can also repeat it where anything the other person says they then make it happen there and then, for instance snapping to theme park mentioned above. Also a variation is to physical act out anything that gets mentioned.

Yes And: Play a scene or conversation where every line starts with the words Yes And.

Underscore:
Two people improvise a scene with no words, physical only, while they are underscored by a film movie soundtrack. They are directed to physically yes and, being in agreement about the physical envrionment and activity and adding to it. First learnt this from Charna Halpern at IO.

Action and Justify:
One improviser does any physical action, their partner justifies what they are doing, they both agree with the established reality. For instance:

Igor: Waves arms around head wildly.
Maria: Gosh the flies out here in the wilderness are deadly.
Igor: I agree, we need to get to a bug spray shop immediately.

Being Obvious/Real/Top of Intelligence Exercises

Character Bench: Five actors sat in a row. They are all the same character type, for instance they all went to school together or they all were in a space station together. Director asks them questions which they answer, and they all agree with the first answer rather than distract from it. Coach them to say honest, real, obvious answers rather than attempting to make jokes that destroy the reality of the characters.

Scenes Exercises

Three Line Scenes: A nice way to get into doing scenes for the first time. People go pair by pair and improvise scenes with three lines in total. Either actor says the first line, then there is a reponse, then a response to that. Whatever is said is then wildly applauded, to help people get used to improvising in front of an audience.

Later in the course we can add in variations to three line scenes:
- establishing where you are
- establishing character
- establishing relationship
- bringing in emotion and reactions

But we tend to work on one thing at a time.  

Fun End Games

Pan Left: A fun game of swapping channels on an imaginary TV set. Two or three actors on back line, two others stood in front, all facing the audience. The two closest to the audience are the TV channel we are watching. If we say Pan Left they all move around one place so that we have a new TV channel at the front.


PART 3 COMING SOON!


This is part 2 of our write up of Beginners Improv Exercises from our recent courses. For part 1 please click here.


 Hoopla's next Beginners Improv Courses are starting in November and January in London: Beginners Improv Courses.

If you've done a Beginners Course our best next step is our Performance Improv Course, starting November and January in London: Performance Improv Course

 
Blog by Steve Roe, co-founder of Hoopla Impro. Courses, shows and improv club in London, UK. Twitter: @HooplaImpro. Facebook: HooplaImpro. Website: www.HooplaImpro.com. Email: hooplaimpro@gmail.com.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Some quick random tips for performing improv

Blog by Steve Roe, co-founder of Hoopla Impro. Courses, shows and improv club in London, UK. Twitter: @HooplaImpro. Facebook: HooplaImpro. Website: www.HooplaImpro.com. Email: hooplaimpro@gmail.com. 


I had a great time performing in Story Kitchen's TheatreSports on Saturday, and the show seemed to go down well with the audience. We've been rehearsing lots with Story Kitchen and it all seems to be coming together, so I thought I'd select some random tips that I felt on the night:

Relax
Relax
Relax
You don't need much of an idea to get on stage, if any
You can play with movement, sound and space when you first get on stage without having to know where it's going
Relax 
Relax
Trust your scene buddies and help them to trust you
Support everything 
Fuck yeah!
Take risks
Support the other team
Laugh and have fun
Relax
Relax
Just listen to the other person and go from there
You don't need loads of ideas
Pay attention to the first line
Be there
Relax




Blog by Steve Roe, co-founder of Hoopla Impro. Courses, shows and improv club in London, UK. Twitter: @HooplaImpro. Facebook: HooplaImpro. Website: www.HooplaImpro.com. Email: hooplaimpro@gmail.com.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Beginners Improv Exercises - Part 1.

Blog by Steve Roe, co-founder of Hoopla Improv, courses, shows and improv club in London, UK. Twitter: @HooplaImpro. Facebook: HooplaImpro. Website: www.HooplaImpro.com. Email: hooplaimpro@gmail.com. 

Hoopla's next Beginners Improv Courses are starting in November in London: Beginners Improv Courses.

If you've done a Beginners Course our best next step is our Performance Improv Course, starting January in London: Performance Improv Course

This is part 1 of our write up of Beginners Improv Exercises from our recent courses. For part 2 please click here. 

I'm teaching lots of Beginners Improv Courses with Edgar at the moment and really enjoying them. A couple of the groups asked for a write up of some of our games so I thought I'd share this out to the wider improv scene. 

I'm going to write them up week by week as we go through the course, so they are roughly in the order that we do them.

Each workshop tends to feature a chat from me to set the environment, some warm ups, some exercises on certain topics, and then some fun show games or scenes to put it all into practice.

Here's the first batch, more coming on this blog soon:

Setting the Environment (things we say at start of class)

We have an atmosphere of safety, trust and support.
You are not by yourself, we're playing together as a team and supporting each other.
You are allowed to make mistakes, they often lead to the best bit in improv.
You can say the first thing that comes to you, you don't have to edit yourself, as long as you are coming from a place of fun, love and respect for your fellow improviser.
You don't have to be clever or funny or make up jokes, the humour comes naturally from the situation.
Listen.
Yes And.
Commit.

Warm Ups

1 Minute Life Stories: In pairs. One person says their life story in one minute. The other person listens and doesn't interupt. At the end of the minute the listener repeats back as much as they remember. Used to get to know each other and also show active listening.

Yipee: Everyone runs around the room, they run up to each other and jump up in the air simultaneously and shout "YIPEE!". Next step, they either both jump, or both not jump. Next step, if they both jump they stick together and form a unit until eventually everyone is in one big group shouting YIPEE and jumping in the air simultaneously. Learnt from Kevin Tomlinson. Used to get everyone moving and having fun.

Wild West: Everyone stood in a circle. At first they pass around "YE-HAH" by shouting YE-HAH in a Western Accent and swining their arm to the person next to them. Then if someone puts themselves into a shape of a barn and shouts "HIGH-BARN" the ye-hahs bounce back in the other direction. Shouting "BANDITS" means everyone runs and swaps places in the circle while being bandits. There are loads of other rules but ideally the teacher makes them up, and the students make up new rules over the course. Used to get everyone playing, breaking the ice, and to get everyone paying attention to the present moment.

Eastenders: Similar to Wild West above, but with Eastenders themed shout outs. With this sort of games I think it's best when the teacher and group make them up, so I won't write out all the rules here as it will take ages there are so many. If you do want our rules please buy me a pint at The Miller and I'll tell you!

Volcano: Everyone walking around the room. The director shouts out something and counts to 5 and everyone has to physically form that thing with each other before the director gets to 5. For instance "Volcano, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5! Microwave over, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5!". Used to get everyone moving around and having fun and also accepting and building on each other's ideas. Learnt from Marc Rowland at Montreal Improv.

Meet & Greet Walkabout: Everyone walks around meeting and greeting each other in different ways. For instance best friends, super heroes, suspicious neighbours, old school buddies, ex boyfriends, parents. Breaks the ice and gets people used to trying out different characters without thinking about it too much. 

Danish Clapping: Fun clapping game I learnt from Chris Mead. I can't explain it with words so stop me when you see me and I'll show you it. I might make a video of it too if I get around to it. 

Creatures of the Deep: I invented this one! It's my prodest achievement. Everyone stood in the circle. The director does an impression of a creature of the deep to the person next to him. They copy what they see to the person next to them. Everyone copies what they just saw, not the original, so they gradually change like chinese whispers. The director sends out loads of creatures (squid, octopus, shark, star fish and more) into the circle and they keep going around until they change and merge and underwater fun is had. 


Yes And Exercises

Machine: Good for physical Yes Anding. Half the class on stage stoood along the back wall. The director gets suggestions for machines (tractor, typewriter, combine harvester etc) and the improvisers make those machines with their bodies as one team, without talking about it. Gets improvisers used to looking at other people's offers and adding to them (yes and) in a collaborative way. Learnt from Charna Halpern with IO and John Cremer at The Maydays.

Story Swap: Good for verbal Yes And. One person is telling a story. When the director claps their hands and shouts swap the other person takes over telling the story exactly where they left off, and then they continue swapping throughout the story. Trains improvisers to listen, yes and, and not plan too far ahead. 

Story Conductor: Team of five improviser stood in an arc, and one improviser in front of them (Story Conductor). Whoever the Story Conductor points to starts telling the story and when they point to someone else the other person takes over. Trains improvisers to listen, yes and, and play as a team. This seems to get played by everyone but I think was invented by IO, I could be wrong about that though. 

Yeah Yeah Yeah: One person starts telling a story. The other says "Yeah yeah yeah" while nodding enthusiastically with their whole body and takes over telling the story, and then they keep swapping over as it goes, saying "yeah yeah yeah" each time. There's also a fun variation where it starts with one saying "do you remember that time...." and then they are two friends remembering a shared time. I got this from Maria Peters so thank you Maria.

Listening Exercises

Word at a Time Stories: Two improvisers tell a story a word at a time, with a different improviser saying each word. Very moment by moment and forces improvisers to stay present. As a variation improvisers can shout "Again" whenever they want to re-start with a new story, which stops people getting stuck and keeps them in the flow of it. I think this was originally invented by Keith Johnstone but now is widely used everywhere.

Wise Wise Wise: The same as above but with a large group stood in a circle trying to make up wise sayings and proverbs a word at a time. When they think one has got to the end of a saying the group says "wise wise wise" and bows.

Syncronised Clapping: Everyone stood in a circle. Two people next to each other turn and face and clap at the same time. One turns to the next person, and they also clap at the same time. This continues around the circle. If people clap twice it changes the direction, and people can also clap across the circle to someone. Gets everyone listening and in the present moment. I've seen Edgar make a group play this for 40 minutes before. There is something in it. It's so simple and yet over thinking makes it at first difficult. Ommmm.

Being Obvious Exercises

Piece of Cheese: Everyone in a circle. One person hops out and says "I'm a piece of cheese" and becomes that piece of cheese. One by one other improvisers come out and become obvious things to go with that offer, until one overall united picture is formed. Then it's repeated with different starting objects. For instance "I'm a wheel", "I'm a unicycle frame", "I'm a unicyclist", "I'm the circus they are in".  

Group Mind Exercises

Stop, Shuffle, Walk, Drop: Everyone walking around the room. If the director says stop they stop, drop they touch the floor, walk they walk, and shuffle they shuffle along. Then the director stops saying anything and the group can shout it out when they want. Then there are no shout outs at all and the group just does magically the same thing, adjusting from walk to shuffle as they go by everyone sensing what the group wants. Teaches everyone to be connected to the group and sense what the group needs. I got this one from Sophie Pumphrey so thank you Sophie.

Fun End Games

Late for Work: One person leaves the room. While they are out the audience suggests why they were late for work, how they got here, and what their job is. When the person comes back they are apologising to their boss for being late while trying to guess why they were late, how they got there, and what their job is. They are helped out by four improvisers playing their friendly colleagues who are miming actions behind the boss.  I like this game early in our beginners courses as it gets people on stage in front of an audience having fun, and also gets people physically yes anding each other.

Copy Dance: Split everyone into groups of 5 or so. They have 5 minutes to find a song they all now, practice singing it, and invent and rehearse a dance routine to go with it. At the end of the 5 minutes each group performs their piece, but also another group then gets up and immediately copies what they just saw. We use to teach optimism in performance, the fact that mistakes will happen and you're never ready but you can stay optimistic. As Mick Barnfather (who we learnt this from): No problem!

End Chat

We always try to end with a postive chat, celebrating what people enjoyed and trying to minimise people's inner critics.

PART 2 COMING SOON!

This is part 1 of our write up of Beginners Improv Exercises from our recent courses. For part 2 please click here. 

Hoopla's next Beginners Improv Courses are starting in November in London: Beginners Improv Courses.

If you've done a Beginners Course our best next step is our Performance Improv Course, starting January in London: Performance Improv Course.


Blog by Steve Roe, co-founder of Hoopla Improv, courses, shows and improv club in London, UK. Twitter: @HooplaImpro. Facebook: HooplaImpro. Website: www.HooplaImpro.com. Email: hooplaimpro@gmail.com. 



Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Things I'm looking forward to about this season.

Blog by Steve Roe, co-founder of Hoopla Improv, courses, shows and improv club in London, UK. Twitter: @HooplaImpro. Facebook: HooplaImpro. Website: www.HooplaImpro.com. Email: hooplaimpro@gmail.com.

I taught the first beginners improv workshop of the season last night and it was so much fun it reminded me why I'm doing this in the first place. I love teaching beginners, it's so exhilarating watching people do improv for the first time. I love the magic moment when someone says or does something and has no idea where it's come from. We had a lovely group too, it actually felt like a ready made team arriving. 

Hoopla have been on a bit of a break over August, with just a couple of things running, but we're back properly this week. Over the summer I've been focussing on #improvadmin (lots of) and now I'm back properly into improv land.

Here's what I'm looking forward to about this season:

Teaching

Last night reminded me how much I love running improv workshops so I'm looking forward to all the courses starting this week.

Hoopla Ten Years Party

Hoopla are ten years old this weekend and we're having a big party on Saturday night at The Miller, all welcome. It feels weird writing ten years old, it doesn't feel like that. It feels like yesterday we were in The Bedford in Balham once a week drinking and smoking during workshops. 

Shows!

It's been a bit of a balancing act squeezing in everyone this season, but we've got a nice variety of shows lined up including Paul Merton coming back in September and also lots of up and coming new groups. 

Performance Squad

We've now got lots of lovely volunteers who are going to be helping out at our shows with things like front of house, hosting and sound & lights. This enables us to put on more shows and improv community events, and also means the show groups are more supported when they come and perform. I'm really looking forward to having a team of people all working together on shows.

More nights at The Miller

Having more volunteers helping out has meant we're able to take on running more shows at The Miller, so next year we're going to be running shows there 4 or 5 times a week instead of 3. This is going to mean more space for up and coming impro groups, and more gigs for everyone basically.

Working with The Nursery and The Maydays

We've always had a lovely relationship with The Nursery and The Maydays, we're like Morecambe & Wise in bed together, and this season its stronger than ever.  

The Nursery have got a great new workshop venue and we're going to be running lots of courses there. I think it's lovely having so many improvisers in one place. 

Podcasting

I've finally got organised and started recording some podcasts. I think I might be the last person left to do one. We're keeping it simple, it's just me and a couple of improvisers each week chatting about and then playing their favourite improv exercises. 

It's designed to help new improvisers or people in improv groups to give them some exercises and show games that they can use, even if their miles away from any improv company they could hopefully listen to some exercises and have a go at playing them. Maybe we'll also send them into space and encourage an inter alien impro scene. 

Slapdash

Slapdash the International Impro Festival is going to be at The Miller this year which is really exciting. Jules, The Nursery and C3Something are programming it and I'm going to be helping to promote it. It's such a great chance to see improv from around the world. 

John Cremer

We've got John Cremer back to teach some more guest workshops.  He's the first person I learnt improv from and I think he creates the most amazing environment. He's going to be running a one day workshops on improv and also a two day workshop on teaching improv, so a good chance to learn about how to set up a supportive workshop environment. 

Improv at Work

I've been working with Max Dickins and others on bringing improv into the workplace. Max does an amazing job at working with companies and making improv relevant to their work, and I feel like we've now got something really fun and helpful. 

Team

I really love how Hoopla is becoming such a strong team. We've got some lovely teachers and we're now chatting together more than ever, swapping exercises and still learning loads. Also the show groups and the front of house volunteers and everyone else all working together to keep trying out new shows and growing impro.

George

Most of all thank you to my lovely wife George. She's basically Hoopla's external consultant and I bounce so many ideas of her and she's always there to listen and hug.

Blub blub hug hug hug love love lovey!

Happy improvising everyone! It's crazy isn't it? But we love it!

Steve


Blog by Steve Roe, co-founder of Hoopla Improv, courses, shows and improv club in London, UK. Twitter: @HooplaImpro. Facebook: HooplaImpro. Website: www.HooplaImpro.com. Email: hooplaimpro@gmail.com. 


 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Europe we love you. Europe we are you. Message of love for our international impro friends.

Blog by Steve Roe, co-founder of Hoopla Improv, courses, shows and improv club in London, UK. Twitter: @HooplaImpro. Facebook: HooplaImpro. Website: www.HooplaImpro.com. Email: hooplaimpro@gmail.com. 

Hello Europe,

I run an improv company in London (Hoopla Impro). I don't really understand politics and I don't understand fully what's happening in our country at the moment. Usually I ban politics chats from Hoopla, even during general elections, but today I really want to send a message out to our international improv friends.

I voted to remain in the EU, along with most other improvisers I know.  

Our workshops in London are really international, in fact it's one of my biggest thrills from working with Hoopla. Only last week I taught a workshop with 4 English people, 2 French people, 1 German, 1 Polish person, 3 Americans and 1 New Zealander.  That's quite normal for us here, London is a hugely international place and it's a huge joy for us to have so many different people playing together. 

In fact it's so normal here that we might even take it for granted, but today has made me realise how beautiful it really is that people from different cultures and backgrounds can play together in such a positive way using the international language of impro.

One of our big values in Hoopla and something we are really proud to do is it provide a community and fun place for people who are new to London. With workshops, shows and events we've always wanted Hoopla to be a place where newcomers are welcomed into London and can meet new friends. 

I was lucky enough to grow up in London and wanted to extend the friendship I found through drama clubs at school into my adult life, and was lucky enough to have old school friends and a network to help me do that.

Beyond Hoopla the wider London and UK improv scene is also extremely friendly with the rest of Europe and finds great inspiration from the European improv scene. Many of the groups that perform at our venue now regularly tour around European improv festivals, and Jules at The Nursery has done an amazing job with a regular international improv festival (Slapdash) that has built greater links to the rest of Europe.

I recently taught in Belgium and various other places around the rest of Europe and always felt supported and welcomed, and I loved sharing laughs with people from different countries. 

 1. We love having an international mix of people in our workshops. We're keen to encourage more of this. We already have a professional translator and also an English as a foreign language teacher on our staff of improv teachers, and if there is anything else we can do to help please let me know. 

2.  We want to welcome more people into the London improv scene. People new to London you will always be warmly welcomed into the impro scene, it's the reason we exist as a company. We want to connect people together and have fun together. 

3. To extend love to the rest of Europe after this ridiculous referendum result we'd like to ask European improv groups to get in touch (hooplaimpro@gmail.com) if you're interested in doing any of the following:

- Performing at our venue.
- Running workshops. 
- Coming along and doing workshops and swapping skills.

We as a company don't receive any arts council or government funding but I'm really keen to make this happen and I think we can. Our venue isn't massive (70 seats) but we give 100% of profits from shows directly to the performing groups. We can also set up workshops for visiting groups to teach when they are here to help cover their travelling costs, as we have a great community of improvisers keen to learn new skills. We can also help visiting groups find accommodation in London. 

I'd be especially interested in making contact with European groups who are experts in teaching:

- Mime
- Clown
- Commedia dell'Arte
- Mask
- Physical Improv


So Europe, whatever our politics says, we want to work with you, we want to play with you, we want to connect with you. The referendum result today has made me wake up and want to fight for that even more. 

As politics goes one way I want to encourage the impro scene to go the other. I want more connection with Europe not less. I would like international groups coming to London and performing with us and other impro venues, running workshops, swapping skills, making friends.

 "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people" - Victor Borge

Blog by Steve Roe, co-founder of Hoopla Improv, courses, shows and improv club in London, UK. Twitter: @HooplaImpro. Facebook: HooplaImpro. Website: www.HooplaImpro.com. Email: hooplaimpro@gmail.com.