Why don't people come and see improvisation in the UK?
Is it not as good as theatre?
Is it 'just' comedy?
Who cares about short form?
Do we need a dedicated improvisation theatre or will that just ghettoise us further?
Last September Improbable ran the first Devoted and Disgruntled Open Space on Impro. A big bunch of improvisers gathered in the same room for three hours to thrash out the impro issues that mattered to them. Of course Open Space being what it is, some people thrashed while others gossiped, some flirted and we marvelled at the passion and diversity of the people there, all devoted to unscripted performance in its multifarious forms. But three hours was never going to be enough so it is time to do it again, but for a whole day this time.
The questions that I had last September are still with me. Top of the pile:
- Why do different improvisational philosophies feel more like religious schisms than a healthy diversity of practice?
- Should we, could we, have a greater sense of community?
Looking at those questions I see they are both really about conflict, bad feeling and disconnectedness between improvisers. Maybe conflict and bad feeling are sometimes inevitable and even useful. But disconnectedness, I believe, can only harm us as individual artists and as a community, which is why this D&D on impro feels just as urgent as ever. Let's get together and get loved up or duke it out, but whatever we do, let's get together.
Last September, as the new kid on the impro block, one of my top questions was - "Where are the women?" As it turned out there were a size-able number of them at the event and they all seemed keen to ask this question too. I also found myself wondering what was at the heart of everyone's impro interest - What's the shared essence? Is there one?"
But more important than our questions are your questions, your ideas, your issues. Impro, Improv, Improvisation; what's your thing and how can we make it better?
If you have an impro passion you want to proselytise, or a bugbear you want to bang on about, here's your chance. This is a gathering of the tribes. An improvisers AGM.
Impro and Open Space spring from the same idea: that if you give people the space and support to truly follow their impulses they create something beautiful, efficient and effective. Whether you are an ardent fan or a destructive heckler, here's a space for you to talk about what you know needs talking about and a place to start work on the things that you know need to be done"