Saturday, 11 January 2014

Free-Form Improv: escapade one

The longing for free-form improv. The often misused phrase was experienced today. Therefore, the article is in response to that and addressing my desires to the utmost. I started improvising in search of entering the stage with nothing and still succeeding. Free-form improv is that, to its closest relative. People use it to suggest their set is structureless, 'free of form,' but if you know anything about your set it has a structure. The structure of scene followed by scene etc. is a structure. Even if we look at what today was for me, to attempt to make it clear what it was, with the free-form long-form cross-art improvisation, we had a structure. We had people with known skill sets and others that have experienced them as well as their strengths in one room. Our structure was these combined skills taking place for a set time, and to my amazement it gave one production, one show. We knew that we were going to explore these skills to offer an hour, or just under, of art.

In the end, whatever you do, there is a structure: The structure of people. In today's jam, we found out quickly what people enjoy doing and what people can do. This means we know that one person is more likely to initiate one type of performance element, on-stage or off-stage, and therefore accustomed to that we build our comfort or what is thus our structure.

I would like to offer what I offered the group back. After some thought and typing, I came up with these notes. I quickly ackownledge that not being the director or just watching the jam meant that I have limited ability to give fully accurate notes. They are hardly notes, more positive re-inforcements and worries about elements spoken about at the end of the jam.

My thoughts on the jam today, obviously being in it means that my notes are not completely accurate, but these are from my perceptions and feelings on it.

The level of listening to each other physically, verbally and meta-communicatively was probably at a decent 90%. [Following each other, following the show - an article on the latter is coming soon.]

The insistent play ran the whole production. This omni-directional play enabled us to jam. Our play with rhythms of interactions with the music, with each other and with the production as a whole. The greatest element of all improvisation is play.

The flow was supported by the use of grouped activity, again the engagement with another in playfulness with using a mirrored perspective, point of view or action.

The main element that helped form a cohesive piece was the running riffs [in all senses, action, melody, 'bits']. These elements and 'bits' offered the whole jam re-incorporation. The use of re-incorporation or callbacks is the sweetest way to get a laugh or purely state our piece/restate our piece. "When we say (or do) something, it exists." Razowsky, when we say it again we make it important. We did this, and this formed our themes of the production. I have no idea why people didn't feel that, but the fact is it was acted upon. We gained cohesion through themes.

People offered bold choices in using their skills. People gave strong offers in supporting others, and even stronger offers in letting people be there alone. It is often difficult to not go in.

Also, people gave a level of building collaboratively to heighten and make more of what has just occurred. Using what is there is a fundamental element to improvising and people did do what they had been, more.

We used games and patterns to help with the fun, the heightening and the play.

The group dynamics presented a co-operative ensemble of various talents in each person that allowed each person to endeavour to meet other people's skills. This clearly assists with the aim to produce live art in free-form long-form cross-art improvisation.


- Shared Skillsets

- Strong Play

- Re-incorporation

- Clarity of themes (for me it was clear)

- Grouped activity, a sense of ensemble and togetherness through mirroring

- Bold choices, in entering with skills, not entering and supporting

- Not letting shit drop, not losing threads

We need to:

- Allow improvisation to continue to happen - not get scared or complacent

- More listening: volume, interrupting, ignoring

- Trust the endeavour is enough

- Acknowledge each time can and will be vastly different
I hope this makes sense and offers insight into my desir with improvisation. This is unedited and done in response to today's activities.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Not So Razowsky Series: Clothing

In this series of articles, the topic is based or inspired from words from the famed improviser and teacher David Razowsky from USA, once the artistic director of Second City, on SCTV, and a prevalent voice in the improv community all around. The time I managed to spend with the compelling and compassionate Razowsky led to a lot of wonderful results. I now find the inspiration provided has led to teaching the methods of improvisation to others, performing in the style and noted a certain heightening of some characteristics I had before to a more full extent. Nonetheless, not all of what I heard from the wonderful man I agree with, and this is what the series shall be about. I get to write these with consent to the concept of the series too. The topic at hand is going to be clothing. Razowsky, and many others, believe that we should have a uniform of shirts and trousers, or similar, that we wear each time we are onstage. I cannot fully agree with this.

Razowsky certainly has a formal uniform he uses each time he goes onstage. There is a set shirt, trousers and shoes that is donned to enter the sacred stage. The story that Razowsky uses to mention how a change affected a show one time (Razowsky, 2012), Carrie Clifford and David Razowsky perform their two person production of Razowsky and Clifford when one time new trousers of a different colour caused aggravation. By putting on something different, the feel behind the show was different or made the night uncomfortable, Clifford hated the change and made that apparent. The brown trousers or perhaps even shoes, instead of inspiring, had a negative impact. It would be unlikely that it affected the show, as Razowsky has not had a bad performance in twenty-five years (Victor, 2012). This is due to Razowsky going through his individual philosophy and process in the art form.

Teams or groups of improvisers are composed of a merging of individuals. The groups need to be able to have everyone represented. Augusto Boal (1995) states in Rainbow of Desires that everyone presents who they are in public and “With the actor is born the theatre. The actor is theatre. We are all actors: we are theatre!” (ibid., p. 19). We, being the theatre, a performance for the world to view, can engage in our own perceptions of ourselves to exuberate when in public or company. We all are very different when we are alone at home than when we are in public, with friends or in work. Each environment asks something of us and we offer what that is. Onstage we are asked to offer what the audience came for, our voice. This means just being ourselves and we are presented. How we conduct our self includes clothes. I do not put thought into what I wear each day, but in line with Boal, I am dressing to show who I am, no matter what I wear. In context to the considerations of Los Angeles and other stages in America, people wear shorts (Armstrong, 2013). The main issue people speak about with this is that it looks lazy and inconsiderate. If that guy or gal needs to wear shorts and a t-shirt, then all be it. They, being them, will be best represented by those clothes. Whether the items of clothing are plain or quite vivid and busy with patterns, the insight into who we are watching will be clear.

The audience can focus on the performer even with a graphic on their clothes. In Green Man Festival 2013, there was a stand-up act wearing a peculiar t-shirt. He captivated the onlookers drawing them in by his game. His zombie set where the audience makes groans of a zombie nature instead of laughing enhanced the act. Many responded to what he said really well, the game truly adding to the experience. However, that t-shirt was a struggle to work out, but eventually the puzzle was solved as it was a zombie body image under the image of torn clothes. Nonetheless, it did not take away from actually laughing, well making zombie sounds as requested at funny points. This is remarkable for me, I don't laugh at live stand-up normally. However, it is not remarkable that anyone can do more than one thing at once. We can also see that these clothes were his 'uniform' that represented who he was and his set.

Many professions have many different uniforms. From wearing jeans and a t-shirt or t-shirt, jumper and trousers to a full scale suit. Every role of work requires us to look like the company needs us, the job practically requires us and the clientelle desire us. In an acting job, the costume is set, so we know what we need to look like. In improv, we do not want to set anything, in order to be accepted as whatever we need to be. The audience will suspend their disbelief if we do a good job. They will do so whatever we wear, like a good captivating storyteller retelling that tale we have heard many times. “Most well-known storytellers have a “signature” style or look,” (King, 2013) that signifies that person. We ignore the costume that is their uniform and engross ourselves in the story, as the important part of what they do is not what they wear; that is just a 'trademark' (ibid.). In any case, in relating this to improv, we offer our own 'trademark' or signifying representation of ourselves. In addition to this, if improvisers need a formal uniform, there is no difference between a checkered shirt and a t-shirt anyway. They both look as informal as each other. Razowsky says to improvise in a uniform, but there is little value in overstating what you are not, to then go forth in attempting to state you, your comedic voice, in the improvisation.

In improv we use our comedic voice, this is what the audience comes for. Dylan Emery from the UK, in the improv symposium years ago (Emery and McShane et al, 2010), spoke how improvisers market shows through the people in the groups and not the concept. We, the improviser in a team, merge voices, opinions and points of views in the style we choose and all this forms the show. Therefore, the uniform needs to be the person or people. The audience wants to see the man or woman being instantly represented onstage. Anything else and the dishonest and disconnected presentation shall disengage the audience with the performance. We want the audience to be inspired and engaged, just as much as the performers are seeking that engagement and inspiration.

Susan Messing (Messing, 2013), and thoughts on movement improv, states how the sensory input we have shall affect us, and the results of that shall push an open and aware improviser to new places. Alike the environment of the theatre, stage or pub function room, so do clothes. Clearly don't dress as a doctor and play a Bulgarian plainsong chanter, but wear you and play from there outwards. Therefore alike anything, the influence that the clothes give shall create something spectacular. If that means being less sweaty in a warm place under warm lights due to wearing shorts that will push the open and aware improviser to a certain place, then all be it. I don't live in a warm place, so I rarely wear shorts anyway.

My practice includes my clothing that I could be wearing any day and with some extra thought in what the production needs of me and using the more presentable items of clothing. It is not a shirt, trousers and shoes, but it is more than walking in off the street – unless that is what I am doing, i.e., not my show: a jam; not in my city or such. Sometimes I direct or get involved in costumed improv where we are inaccurately selling the concept. I am a hypocrite on the occasion.


Armstrong, N. 2013. Improv Etiquette 101: You Don’t Have to Wear a 3 Piece Suit!. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 17 Dec 2013].

Boal, A. 1995. The Rainbow of Desire: the boal method of theatre and therapy, Routhledge: London

Emery, D., Mcshane, M., Livingstone, T. and Schutte, K. 2010. Presented at Improv Symposium, Edinburgh, 24/08/2010.

King, C. 2013. Storytelling Power - What Do Storytellers Wear When Performing?. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 17 Dec 2013].

Messing, S. 2013. Specificity and Joy presented at The Nursery Theatre, London, 20/07/2013 – 21/07/2013.

Razowsky, D. 2012. You presented at Summer Intensive (iO West), Los Angeles, 06/08/2012 – 11/08/2012.

Victor, P. 2012. My Nephew is a Poodle: Geeking Out with...David Razowsky. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 14 Dec 2013].

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

International Improv Identity

The conception of this article was quite a number of years ago, this means that the reference list that I have used are more recent and less specific than I may hope to be using in future articles. In some cases, the references are completely missing.

The international improv identity has many aspects to hone in on. Our identity that we each hold can be noted as the way we carry ourselves, the perceptions and interpretations we have and the knowledge we have, desire and crave. As Stryker (1980, p. 65) states about identity, it is “patterned regularities that characterize most human action.” These are what we use to identify our improv too. The improv world is busy nowadays. Identity also impacts what we do and how we do it. The art form ages, matures and continually develops just like we do. Improv is a process. In the process of our journeys, the groups, the countries or towns (hamlets if you so wish) have connections that increase between them and therefore allowing people to get to share their identities to influence and cross-pollinate.

Nonetheless, the international improv identity is world wide and actually quite similar on certain aspects. In various countries there are spectacles of improvisation like Theatresports. It and many other influences, like the competition of Theatreports, have managed to travel. One man that achieves the goal of transmitting his style and culture, and now moved to Madrid, is Omar Argentino Galván. This one man with stickers all over himself, pulls one off with the audience suggestion on and improvises (Galván, 2013). Originally in Argentina and travelling around South America and Europe, he puts on this spectacle. Likewise there is the stadium-filled improv performed in Portuguese and translated with captions on YouTube, which can be found on Improvavel's channel ( These spectacles are attractive to huge audiences. In some manner, we can associate spectacles with the likes of sport, football has a wide and world audience. The competition may be that aspect that allows bigger audience's to understand it quicker. Competitive improv is the world recognised style that offers similarities. Two places that do so are Cape Town, who run the Theatresports format (, 2013) and Berlin, Germany, who have Comedysportz (Comedy Sportz, 2013). Europe has two groups that are apart of the sub-community of improvisation, Comedysportz. These franchised formats offer an even more specific community that builds international connections. Anyhow, between two continents of Europe and Africa we see similarities of competition. In South America there is ImproSport, and this has been a festival too (, 2013). This further demonstrates that all these continents share this similarity. In order to emphasise these similarities more, in 2004 in Mexico City, various countries competed in the 'World Improv Championship' in Spanish (, 2013). Furthermore, 'Catch Impro', an originally French format, is performed in various European countries and I know of it being played in Mexico too. It derived from the patented Canadian French format Le Match d'Impro (Sophie, 2013). Not to mention 'Catch Impro' influenced and inspired 'Ultimate Improv' in United States of America. It is also possible to find leagues of improv teams in the Czech Republic. The Czech Improvisation League is in Prague (, 2013). This could have come from one influence, Keith Johnstone, the creator of Theatresports is a noted influence on 'Catch Impro' and the treatment of improvisation as a sport is clearly what the leagues are aiming for too. So this displays how short-form is worldwide through being competitions. We can also hear about worldwide improv and discover more connections.

We can hear all about long-form around the world through various podcasts. Listening to podcasts and hearing various perspectives can support the integration of identities to influence our journeys. On the Flint Podcast, (Redmond, 2012) one episode spoke with Rama Nicholas from Australia. Nicholas discussed 'The Wishing Tree' that honed in on elements of long-form to create stories (Nicholas, 2013). Nicholas was inspired by Japanese culture of the Tanabata where people are invited to share their honest wish. In the Osaka Twilight festival, Nicholas realised the concept of wishing and myths. The Wellington Improvisation Troupe, from New Zealand also perform this production (The Wellington Improvisation Troupe, 2012). They moved into long-form in 2005 with 'LovePossibly', which was inspired by the movie genre of romantic comedies. The influence offered here is from their focus on story to their theatricality and artistic vision for the production. It is possible to listen about them with the Flint Podcast too (Redmond, 2012). In Austin, Texas in North America, the group known as P'graph, or in full Parallelogramophonograph, perform inspired by various genres. (, 2013) Although they hate the term narrative improv, they can be described as doing so. Not so strangely enough, they too have been interviewed on the Flint podcast. The international identities that can be suggested here are the connected and similar focus on story and genre. These podcasts are for people to offer influence for your journey, give information and history. The fairly endless list of podcasts available, which I still desire to find more as I know there are some I've not found, can be the clarity you need, the reassurance of your thoughts you are currently pondering on and the opposing thoughts that will strengthen your theories too. An example is the Ian Roberts episode in Stephen Perlstein's Improv Obsession podcast (Perlstein, 2013) that offers insight and experience from one of the founders of the UCB, I did not agree with some of what he says. This is my opinion and maybe as time goes on, I will get to see his perspective more. However, in a contrary manner, I agree with what Mick Napier states in Mark Colomb's infamous (or at least should be, it was one of my favourites) 'Poor Choices Show' podcast (Colomb, 2013). For those thoughts that are contrary to the podcasts' participants, they will enable you to reason for yourself or allow you to question yourself. This is because we are individuals, we have our own focus and identities to offer too.

Improvisers bring a lot to the set. The Rapid Fire Theatre do short-form competitive format and lives happily in Edmonton, Alberta (Rapid Fire Theatre, 2010) next to the episodic long-form of 'Soap-A-Thons' from Die Nasty in the same Canadian city. (, 2013) The varied formats of improv can mix and use the same casts of improvisers and in doing so have enabled the groups to perform using the attributes or productions of both long-form and short-form (not that the distinction is of massive importance, but that is for another time). These players are therefore linking their identity as an improviser in the two needs of the structure and techniques of the formats. Furthermore, The English Lovers from Vienna, Austria, perform with a cast from all over the world with a mix of improvisation identities. (, 2013) Each improviser comes from their background and experiences to offer into the performance what they will. When they can all come from their countries in order to perform, it merges their identities in the performance. This surely goes beyond the slight back and forth of influence of neighbouring improvisational productions in the same city. The concept that each improviser on their journey that are developing and being influenced external to the rest of the group, as they are in another country, is a thought that is enjoyable as they bring that difference of identity into the production. The group may settle into old ways, but it is interesting to suddenly be in a scene with a performer who is offering from a new mindset that they may have had before. 

Language holds some impact to little hindrance to improv. In one festival, Würzburg Improtheaterfestival (, 2013), I participated in a show that was being performed mainly in German and it was very fun and engaging. The language barrier that exists in everyday communication when you lack the knowledge of the countries' language is not a barrier in improv. In the show, I did a scene with Melanie Baumann who afterwards told me she speaks very bad English. It was not noticeable, in that moment after the show or onstage, and the scene we performed together was very fun. This shows that how we say something is more important than what we say. Likewise it can suggest that what we do is more important than what we say. In Rome, Italy, I saw a show that was a lovely format that I really enjoyed watching from I Bugiadini. (, 2013) The whole night was in Italian and I do not speak or know a word of the language. Therefore, this provides further evidence that improv is not about what we say or trying to say funny things. Connections do not fade through differences in language. However, the cultural identity of the country will need consideration. In Turkey, although people understand English, they will not speak it. This is said, through first hand experience, that they cannot speak the language and only understand the words spoken (and that is an unmeasured percentage of the population, so a generalisation made through discussion). This did impact the improv, as when I got onstage with some Turkish and Turkey-based improvisers, there was clear instructions to what short-form game I could play. Needless to say, this was not the best method or use of my time. It was not enjoyable. It is clear that in this case, the time and consideration in the matter had not been taken by myself or those involved in the producing of the night. I have experienced a night, although in a different culture, where the short-form was beyond language. There are games where language is not central and would have meant any improviser could get up. Hence there are ways that someone's cultural identity can have impact.

Recently an American improviser scouted out information on UK impro and mentioned that it's the cultural specifics that are the hurdle. It is true in some way. When performing in an international cast, mentioning some childhood television programme will be a struggle to work with from the foreigner to the reference. Simon Clarke (2008) states “at the crux of a cultural identity... is, the notion of identity as shaped not just in relation to some other, but to the Other, to another culture.” (ibid., p. 511) Clarke discusses the fact that we present ourselves in public, consciously or unconsciously, and we are in relation to others. The multi-faceted term of cultural identity that holds many parts such as race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and class (ibid., p. 510) that sets us in comparison to another. In improvisation, our references hold differences to what the other improviser may know. The perceptions about what that identity is and how to react through common perception about the cultural identity will bring the improvisers together. Clarke also states that our identities are fact or fiction, there are some imagined identities and other people are the ones to state your identity, or as in improv, endowment. So that childhood television programme that one improviser will not understand is now suggested to be merely an aspect of the mutual cultural identity of characters that even actual people, thus not characters, may share differently.

Another issue to resolve is the sorry stories I hear about groups rejecting people. There has been two UK groups, I heard, turn people away and even a player worried that she couldn't connect and join in with another group. Scarily all the groups were University student groups. This suggests that the system in place in all universities are destroying the prospects of such a collaborative, connective global art form. The stories worry me, because as a global art form of a specific community of the world, we need to not close anyone out. Without collaboration then we block opportunities and networking. When I found 'Catch Impro,' I tried it out. When doing so, I put teams together myself, mostly, and this meant that the pairings were strangers to each other. I even had a man from New Zealand come and it was his first improv show in the UK. Javier Jarquin is a great and highly experienced improviser and the fact that it came about whilst in a symposium in the Edinburgh Fringe festival when I made a shout out request for one more improviser, makes the fact even better.

We can connect and collaborate, through podcasts, social networking, travelling or other online or offline methods. The one example of going to improv festivals can open up networks, strengthen an old connection or perhaps even be the first time you've met that Facebook friend you added a few years ago. It is one way, and it is a good way too. It achieves these international connections quickly. As the way the art form is, and the way it works, we are in the community that is worldwide. The connections that we are able to make are easier through doing the work we do and the collaborations that are therefore possible onstage and off are full of various international identities. These can help inform our current practice and support our development. Furthermore, I know I shall discover more and more through my tour of workshops around the world over the coming times. This is really relevant from the recent explorations. For information regarding these workshops please visit: and go to classes, then email me.

Other interesting facts, in South Korea there is the Seoul City Improv that with their acronym of SCI do a lovely CSI rendition of their name. Also they had Improv Boston visit in 2011 (Koreabridge, 2013). In Manila, this year there was a festival, their second one. I gained a lovely invite, but unfortunately could not attend. There was a lot of groups from nearby countries that attended (Manila International Improv Festival, 2013) such as '3 Dudes Improv' from Hong Kong, China, 'People's Liberation Improv' also from Hong Kong and 'Beijing Plus One' from Beijing, China. The Chinese improv community holds a variety of forms, with more long-form being exposed to audiences now. '3 Dudes Improv' are a long-form group that reach various festivals (, 2013). 'People's Liberation Improv' are a short-form group that do regular shows in the TakeOut Comedy Club and attend festivals, obviously (, 2013). The 'Beijing Plus One' are focused on being culturally diverse and bilingual in their short-form and have also visited a variety of festivals ( 2013). Interestingly this source can expose people to the amount of improv in the Eastern world. All very exciting, alike the improvised Bollywood movie that was performed in Berlin's 'Impro 2013' Festival, where Improv Comedy Mumbai created songs, dances and storylines (YouTube, 2013). Originally performed in IMPRO Amsterdam 2012 (Improv Comedy Mumbai, 2011).

Reference List 2013. Visiting Groups - Beijing Improv. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 11 Dec 2013]. 2013. Home. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013]. 2013. Die Nasty The Legendary Live Improvised Soap Opera!. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013].

Clarke, S. 2008. The SAGE Handbook of Cultural Analysis. [e-book] SAGE Publications. pp. pp. 510 - 529. Available through: SAGE Publications [Accessed: 4 Dec 2013].

Colomb, M. 2013. Episode 200: Annoying Mick Napier. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 11 Dec 2013].

Comedy Sportz. 2013. ComedySportz. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013]. 2013. English Lovers. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013]. 2013. The New Improv Page-Groups-World. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013].

Galván, O. 2013. improtour. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013]. 2013. Hong Kong International Improv Festival. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 11 Dec 2013].

Improv Comedy Mumbai. 2011. Improv Comedy Mumbai. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 16 Dec 2013]. 2013. Improguise | Players of TheatreSports. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013]. 2013. Novedades. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013]. 2013. English 2011 | Improtheaterfestival Würzburg. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013]. 2013. World Improvisation Championship - Mexico City - January 17-25, 2004 - Improv Message Boards. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013].

Koreabridge. 2013. Seoul City Improv presents ImprovBoston @ MoonNight. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 11 Dec 2013].

Manila International Improv Festival. 2013. Featured Acts. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 11 Dec 2013].

Nicholas, R. 2013. The Wishing Tree. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 16 Dec 2013]. 2013. About Us | People's Liberation Improv. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 11 Dec 2013].

Perlstein, S. 2013. Stephen Perlstein - 50: Ian Roberts. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 11 Dec 2013]. 2013. Improvised Plays from Austin, Texas by Parallelogramophonograph. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013].

Rapid Fire Theatre. 2010. Rapid Fire Theatre – Edmonton's Longest Running Improv Theatre. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013].

Redmond, T. 2012. The FLINT Podcast. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013].

Sophie, A. 2013. Facebook Comment. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 16 Dec 2013].

Stryker, S. (1980). Symbolic interactionism: A social structural version. Menlo Park: Benjamin Cummings Publications

The Wellington Improvisation Troupe. 2012. wishing tree | The Wellington Improvisation Troupe. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 16 Dec 2013].
YouTube. 2013. Barbixas. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013].

YouTube. 2013. Improv Comedy Mumbai, Bollywood Show 22/03/2013, English Theatre Berlin. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 11 Dec 2013].

Further corrections or points can be added, so far I thank Anja Sophie.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Workshops #2

Improv for Beginners

The journey to the unknown starts off the discovery and exploration of improvisation with Nathan's focus of play and playfulness. Throughout the workshop we get to know the players and discover the unknown together and exploring what improv is and playing with this art form. Covering topics from Keith Johnstone, Viola Spolin and some from the infamous Nathan Keates (amongst others). By the end of the workshop you should have a good understanding of the basics in art form of improvisation and can stroll through the wonders that are your journey to the unknown.
We call the process the 'journey to the unknown' because no one can tell you how to improvise and everyone has a different 'journey' or process to finding their approach that suits them.

200e (3 hour Workshop)
350e (Full day 6 hour Workshop)

Musical Improv: A Cappella

Release the sensation of the highest quality through musical improvisation. Push your skills and get out your way, as spontaneous songs burst out of you. In the workshop, we discover the roots of creating astonishment in your audience with the explosive chorus, tender verses and brilliant bridges. The exploration of a capella urges the performers to engage in the utmost co-operation and group mind. In this way, the need to play with each other is highly important. The session covers creating an opening number into the story to a grand ending using wonderful spontaneous choreography and sublime songs. No need to be a singer if you just go for gold!

220e (3 Hour Team Workshop)

Shut-Up and be Silent: make everything from the nothing

In the quiet, there is the physical. In the scene, there is the tonality. In the air, there is the everything. This everything can be read, said without words and communicated thoroughly. Bodies are subtle and radiate more than words. Even the exaggerated has its form and utility. Showing a simple gesture, motion or stillness grips and gauges. The forms this leads to are clown, soundtracking, physical theatre forms, mindful scenework and more.

200e (3 Hour Team Workshop)

Youth Improv

Young people develop a loss of creativity or adaptability, rather, as they get older. To sustain the youthful playfulness, getting those ages into improvisation will manage to keep their growth and development to a more open and accepting nature.
Here is an article I wrote about this for The Sprout, a Cardiff-based online youth magazine. Click here.

200e (3 hour Workshop)
350e (Full day 6 hour Workshop)

Processworks: beyond your limitations and edge

People have opinions that we sometimes agree with and other times do not. Processworks is a system of exploration of our views and opinions that uses applied improvisation to find our personal limitations, our edge of capability and asks us to overcome them. It is a way of discussing that breaks-down and passed culture, society and self and allows us to fully express and discover. This is the maximisation of discourse through improv that will help people engage and fully realise themselves immersively.
Here is an article I wrote about this for The Sprout, a Cardiff-based online youth magazine. Click here.

200e (3 hour Workshop)
350e (Full day 6 hour Workshop)

The Magic of Wizardy

With mind, body and our verbose antics, we form the art. World creation through Physical aesthetics and the Embodiment of new universals focus the ensemble. In these Retrospective realities, the unexplored can be scavenged. The impossibilities are mobilised. Trance-based Improv

How about KJ's trance masks - without the masks? This is based on the ritualisation of masks and the hypnotic-like capacities that people have to be free within oneself. No hypnotism will happen. We achieve an altered-state of consciousness (ASC) through intensifying the flow state that we seek in improv, anyway. It can be crazy. It can be wild. It should be explores - so, lets! For the Main classes available, see here!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Show May Just Go [February 2011]

Past Articles were written for Ludus Ludius Improv.

#3: Improvisation (youth)

The Show May Just Go [February 2011]

Certain change is in the air. Ludus Ludius has an update. What is the news to tell? Theatre funding cuts are forcing many long-time survivors to now struggle. The air is thin and so will peoples hair line. Soon enough the high rocking musical, Hair will have to be called Bald. Still nonetheless after the cast causing audiences lung cancer from smoking onstage I think baldness is the least of the issues there.

Really now, change is most certainly about. We are focusing on less community or theatrical endeavours (if we can let some projects go) and more on youth and applied improvisation. However this means gathering improvisers together for a tighter network and community for performers. Ludus Ludius looks at what we can really do to overcome the depressive period of financial struggle to achieve the most. What I think is to combine minds and utilise everyones skill. If someone can juggle, can we improvise with it? If someone tap dances, of course we can improvise with it. If someone can milk a cow, we can definitely improvise with it. Any route into improvisation is said, a lot, to work better when you are not just a performer. I have once heard a group of scientists that started a group and there was a magnificent quality to the production that occurred. Ludus Ludius are on the search for more youngsters between the ages of eleven and eighteen years of age. In order to make this possible what the youth groups need is appropriate workshopping spaces for training young improvisers. Anyone who is able to help or wants to learn to improvise can get in touch in the usual manner,
However, the show may just go. For most in the industry of culture or entertainment it has been and doubtlessly will be the show must go on. However, with cuts this is mighty troublesome and I think we should change the statement. For sure we can when it comes to the lovely art form of improvisation. We start a show and who knows what can happen. The format may alter as we go along, such as freeing the format that I have workshopped last year with some experienced players. For example, In this clip we see the freedom of the players to improvise with whatever happens. Every poster I try to design for a new show turns out as this at the moment. (But that is the whole reason I began improvising). The show may just go also, because we may have one show, or it could take flight and we have struck the lucky bell of Tokyo and here we come. Either way after funding cuts and sad looks of vast amount of faces we turn to our youth society to seek the improvements. Get the opportunity for spontaneous workings to work and the future can look bright.

To see the bright light of the future that is on display ask your local youth centre to get Ludus Ludius Youth to perform their TV-style improvised comedy production, Shock The Geek. (We are yet to pilot it and test out the games that the humorous blighters play).

Thank you for your attention and don't forget to email anything to

Mouse That Soared [December 2010]

Past articles were written for Ludus Ludius Improv.

#2: Improvisation (General)

Mouse That Soared [December 2010]

The article was in the Daily Mirror on Friday 12th November 2010. There I was sat in Chapter Arts looking for a interesting article. What I saw from this mouse was delightful. The article explained that the mouse was after food. This 'little fella' is just like an improvisation player, or improviser, as us little fellas are also after our food. Food being something we need and like.

Our little fella in this article was keeping his eye on the food and
climbed up an axe handle and soared through the air for the delicious reward. His leap was not based on the possibility that he (or she) may fail. The little fella didn't calculate or hesitate about how he (or she) may get to the other side. Therefore, our little fella risked without pause for what he (or she) desired.

Each time us little fellas climb up our axe handle onto the stage we do so by hurling ourselves into the unknown. If its just for a grain of corn that is enough. We risk failure and we do not hesitate and certainly we cannot calculate. (There has been times were we end up in a mathematical problem and then we quickly work it out and say it, but this is not what I mean). By all means there is no hurry, the little fella didn't rush up the axe and dive dive dive. Alike us we keep our eye on the food and steadily explore and soar. The air is our ground. The heights are the wonder. The sensation is our stimulus. The snapper (photographer) for the little fella that made it all happen for the mouse, he is our watcher too. They snap us every moments we offer. Our snappers make the show.

Our audiences like to see our risk. That's what they snap up. The offer, the building something together, the unknowing and risk. The photo caught a mouse soaring, This is just as delightful as if we saw it in person. This, thus, means that no matter how rapid fire the manouevre is there will still be pleasure from it. Same risk, same goodness. The snapper was Scott, 33 year old. He had taken other brilliant photographs too. The main reason he is worthwhile mentioning further is because he said, "it was a challenge." Risk is a challenge, we indulge it.

Young Spontaneity [October 2010]

Past Articles were written for Ludus Ludius Improv.

#1: Improvisation (Youth)
Young Spontaneity [October 2010]

It is human nature to be spontaneous. When we are young toddlers we are intrigued by a lot. This state of being is useful. We learn we discover and we dont hold any prejudice over what we discover or see. As adults it is remarkably the opposite. However we still have no choice to be spontaneous.
What changes the inquisitive nature of the child as we grow up? Keith Johnstone blames the education system. This could well be true, but what I see is more than that. Its the social implications of being seen as a bit too risky, a bit too wild. A person that can and will do anything at any point is too much to comprehend. In a romantic relationship its a common request that, I want my partner to be more spontaneous. Why is this a request? You play too safe and we get bored. What life can be when we are more spontaneous is therefore not boring.

Even as an audience in watching an improv show, if the players keep doing the safe games in the same roles in a classic format, then it does become more tedious and too safe. (Short-form improvisational comedy shows are classically formatted by various games played which have players in certain roles in the game  the scenes that are created are never the same; however the format can be).

We do not like feeling safe: What is a mid-life crisis? Is it someone who has lived their life without risk and change? If this is an agreeable statement, then perhaps our young community needs more spontaneity to allow this to continue through their lives. If its not an agreeable statement, then we can further the connection, but lets leave that to another time.

The reason that this article is written is due to Ludus Ludius Youth having been run for awhile now and the experience of the young improvisational players having sporadic imaginations or the polar opposite. We are in fact aiming for the more difficult task  not because of a personal choice, but as its the more suitable option for the players. Tight, restrictive rules are seemingly always too much. Freer scene work is preferable. Personally, every time that we explore something new, be it a new group or age range then we all learn and discover something new.

Young spontaneity in these days is highly interesting. Do you want to watch? Do you want to participate? Do you think we should keep spontaneity flowing through all our life, not just the very young?

Its easy to share your thoughts and get involved with this, email and join our mailing list or share thoughts and ask to part-take.