How Improv Changed Our Lives

How Improv Changed Their Life – Jen, United, Nursery Original 

Every week we like to talk to members of the Improv community about why they got into improv and how it changed their life. Today we speak to Jen who is set to star in The Nursery Theatres Original United near the end of this year. 

WARNING: This article contains unapologetic generalisations and enthusiasm. Sorry. 

I am delighted every single day that my life has become filled with improvisers. They challenge me and thrill me and heal me.

As far as ways of making friends go, improv is pretty strange; It has everything backwards but I have yet to find anything that beats it. You make each other laugh before you make small talk and you learn if you can trust someone long before you learn what they do for a living.

I suspect the disproportionate representation of awesome people in improv is because the first step can be so huge that it looks impossible. Making stuff up is easy, right? So easy even children can do it. But we’re not children. We’re adults and can eat pancakes whenever we like. In exchange, we also accept the accompanying burden of fears, distractions and hang-ups – all of which get in the way of being brave.

How many people entertain an idle passing thought that they might…maybe…one day…perhaps when they have more time/money/geckos like to try that whole Whose Line thing? How many of them decide to sign up for a course? And how many of them actually go along?

That tiny group spends a Tuesday evening with strangers, inventing dance moves, playing unwinnable games and telling stories. It turns their heads inside out and they decide that nothing could stop them coming back for more. Who wouldn’t want these kinds of people in their life?

Then, as you’re learning, you get teachers like Steve Roe and Maria Peters who show you that through generosity and openness as well as plain old enthusiasm you and your new friends get to be fucking bulletproof. And all the while you get to see and make art. Beautiful, stupid, sad, clever, rude, funny, one-time-only art.

Improvisers are how improv has changed my life. These are people who say ‘yes’, who show up, who support and collaborate and who drown cynicism in joy. These are also people who lend you clothes when you bounce into a river (true story). This is my found family and I love them more than they know.


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