Another 2 week silence! You know I do it just so you’ll miss me!

In reality, I was in NYC! I had promised Holly I’d live tweet my experience of taking classes and watching shows at UCB, but I was too in awe to take time to do other things than just learn from them and watch their shows…and looking up, there’s a lot of looking up in NYC – everything is huge! And very, very noisy! And feels like the movies!

Can you sense how much I loved it?

I’ll talk about shows next week as we get to another short break from my guest teacher workshops insights – they keep piling up and will never reach an end! – but today I want to talk about my experience doing a 101 Intensive at UCB New York!

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I’ve been doing improv in London for over 2 years and have studied with some of the best improvisers in the world, which led many to ask me if I was really sure about going back to the very basics of it…I was, and I loved it!

It was indeed a challenge not to tag people out, sweep edit and all that jazz and keep myself to doing individual scenes isolated in space, but challenges are good and it was such a good experience to understand that even with just that you can have fun and make people laugh – even applause breaks are possible!

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Intensive levels are maybe a bit of a different experience as many of the attendees were experienced improvisers elsewhere, spending a week in NY just for improv’s sake. There were also a couple of people in the class that had never seen long form improv before; a couple of people who were doing it to add to their CV as actors and had no real love for improv and a few people who were just doing it as a fun activity. I loved that variety!

Being able to see the very beginners reach the same conclusions I came there having was great and proves that the teaching formula does work! Seeing how big are the egos of people doing improv in small communities when compared to how small are the egos of the people doing improv on the weekend stage at UCB is also eye opening and a lesson I think many of the London improv community should experience! I also loved how from the very beginning UCB is intent in making everyone feel welcome, everybody feel like their voice is heard and all feel safe by really listening (Wait! What? Improvisers who listen!?!), stating boundaries, having channels put in place which you can use in case unwanted behaviours do happen.

It was a perfect experience and being able to perform at UCB Hell’s Kitchen was only the cherry at the top of the cake!

Written by Mariana Feijó