This week is a fantastic one in London for all things Improv and the one event that is leading the way is Slapdash Festival. It runs between the dates of the 16th-22nd of October and is presented by The Nursery Theatre. There are some fantastic headliners and shows at the festival including an array of workshops. We sat down with Molly Merwin the Lead Producer of the festival to find out more!
Hello Molly! Tell us about the Slapdash Festival for people who don’t know what it is?
Slapdash is a week long festival celebrating and embracing improvised theatre from all over the world. We have seven days of workshops and three nights of improvised theatre with performers from seven different countries
How did it come about/ get created?
Six years ago the Old Vic Tunnels had the space under Waterloo Station, and approached The Nursery Theatre’s co-founders Jules Munns, Judith Amsenga and Robin Linde to see they would interested in putting together a show. They were, but did not have a lot of time. The first festival was six weeks from first meeting to first night of the festival. Thus Slapdash seemed like an appropriate name and the festival was born. Originally, the festival was UK based teams only, but three years ago we opened it to international teams as well, and we’ve hosted teams from over ten different countries since.
Tell us about the headliners you have this year!
We are very excited as this is a festival of firsts for headliners. Normally you would have to travel to Hawaii or to a comedy or improv festival in the US to see Thursday night’s headliner On The Spot, but we excited to be having them for the first time internationally. On The Spot has been is presenting Hush, an improvised silent movie set in the style of the biggest silent movie stars of the day such as Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton. Hush captures all the drama and nostalgia of the silent movie era, with strong characters, physical comedy and live musical accompaniment.
We also have for the fist time ever the Slapdash International Cast, a team of nine improvisers from six countries who will train together for the first time the week of the festival and perform together for the first (and possibly only) Friday night.
Saturday we are excited to bring improv royal as Armando Diaz brings his signature The Armando format to London. The Armando begins with a true monologues, a story from the player’s own life. After the monologue, players improvise scenes inspired by it.
This format is played around the world and you normally would need to travel to New York to learn it from Armando himself. We are bringing a team of international players together and present The Armando with the man himself speaking about his life.
The festival also brings lessons to the capital – tell us about just some of the Ones you have on offer?
I think Slapdash is an opportunity to see that while we all may come from different places we all can relate to and laugh at the same thing.
What are the best things about Slapdash?
As cliche as it sounds I think bringing together the London improv community and the larger international community is the best thing about Slapdash. In a time when I think much of the world feels more and more divided it’s nice to come together to laugh and learn.
If people want to find out more about the festival where can they go?
For the festival you also have an international team especially set up for the event – tell us a little bit about this and who is in this years team?
As mentioned before, Friday night’s headliner is the Slapdash International Cast. Nine improvisers from six countries will train together for the first five days of the festival and then perform for the first (and possibly only) time Friday night. These improvisers
all had to apply and audition and were selected from a large pool of improvisers from around the world. The UK, US, Peru, Germany, Italy and Canada will be represented on stage. Each of these improvisers will be a unique style and viewpoint from their country.
Describe in three words why people should come to the festival
Ridiculously good time.
Unbelievably improvised (I did it less than three!)