How Improv Changed Their Life – Karam Mahjoub 

Welcome to part 2 of our new feature looking at improv. Now it’s not just me who has had their life changed by improv, many people have and we are going to hear their stories!

Today we hear from an improviser who performs shows through School of Improv in Newcastle. 

I, For Improv

Funny enough, I discovered improv twice, by accident. The first time was at a show (late 2014/early 2015) for the improv group ‘The Suggestibles’. I went there with a friend who promised me a “comedy show”, with no words mentioned about “improv”. Once there, I was completely shocked. That first show was one of the funniest things I have seen in my life. I almost did not believe that it was all improvised. I thought to myself “they’ve had to rehearse this, right? There’s no way such a thing is possible”. And boy, was I wrong.

Photo credit: School of Improv

Months go by. I was on YouTube looking for videos on conversation skills (to improve my English fluency). A random guy in a video said he had taken improv classes and it helped a lot. Still not knowing what the word ‘improv’ really meant, I googled ‘improv classes in Newcastle’ (the city where I live), and clicked on the very first link. I was directed to a website called ‘Improvisation Foundation’ (now relabelled School of Improv) that offered workshops in my city. I took a look at the pictures they had for the two instructors, and they looked very familiar. Little did I realize, I had seen them months earlier at that improv show. I registered and paid for a block of eight workshops. Again, by this point, I had no idea what neither what ‘improv’ meant, nor was I was getting myself into.

Eight weeks go by like a breeze. And the results? More than two years later, I am still attending workshops, and I am performing in shows as well. Those workshops opened my eyes to a whole new world I did not know it existed, along with virtually limitless possibilities. Improv filled me with an inexplicable kind joy that I had never felt before. It became so engrained in me that I cannot imagine my life without improv anymore. I also became good friends with many of the people I met in those workshops, making some sort of community if you will.

Photo credit: School of Improv

Of course, I cannot ignore the effect improv had on my personal life. First, it definitely affected my confidence level, making me less scared about being vulnerable, it increased my ability for public speaking, and it gave me a kind of new inner attitude (if that makes any sense) that gives me a push. Second, when I was looking for employment, improv would come up during interviews, usually making a positive impression on the interviewer. Also, it does get me a lot of attention when old or new friends or acquaintances find out I do improv. People are usually impressed by that. Third, and this might sound a bit weird, but an improv workshop feels like a weekly therapy session, where I can go and let loose of my inhibition without the fear of being judged or ridiculed. And finally (a personal benefit), it really did help me a lot with my English language fluency (original goal accomplished).

And last, but not least, I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to have met many genuine and funny individuals who put a smile on my face, and make me feel like a part of a big improv family. I hope I get to keep on doing improv, keep on laughing, and keep on making people laugh until the last days of my life.

Do you have an improv story you would like to share? Get in contact with us we would love to hear it! 

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