Improv is not just a comedy art form, it can also have an effect or impact on a persons life. Everyone has a story to tell and today we talk to another Improviser as to how they got into it and what it has done for them.
Today, we talk to Julie Flower, who is a member of Classic Andy and also a brand new Twoprov called Twinprov that is performing at Amsterdam Improv Marathon Next Month. Here is her story about How Improv Changed Her Life.
How Improv Changed My Life
I first became hooked on improv through taking a couple of weekend classes at The Spontaneity Shop. I’d heard of the work of Keith Johnstone and was curious. I found the joy of being in the moment exhilarating. This led me to take a performance course with Hoopla in early 2015, where I met a number of wonderful human beings and we formed long-form group Classic Andy. Any number of classes and courses have since followed; we are spoiled by the huge number of opportunities in the UK, including with The Maydays, at The Nursery and Hoopla.
Roll forward three years and Classic Andy has a monthly show at the Nursery Theatre, in which we and the audience also get to enjoy two guest improv acts each time. I’m also in a new twoprov, Twinprov, and have guested on a number of shows and at festivals. The plan this year is to go global!! Well, to hopefully do the Amsterdam Improv Marathon with Twinprov, head to Athens to experience Mount Olymprov and, closer to home, guest on some shows at Edinburgh Fringe.
What I love about improv is that it brings out the best in people. There is nothing more joyful than being genuinely creative and supporting each other, whether on stage or in rehearsal. It is rare in life that you feel part of such an energised team. Falling for improv also coincided with my mum becoming ill with ovarian cancer. The love and support of the improv community, together with the imaginative delight of performing, helped me navigate very sad times. I just wish that my mum had had the chance to see some of our shows.
Improv is about being constantly curious and open to learning, a philosophy that I believe is important for life in general. I bring improv techniques into some of my work as an organisational development consultant at The Specialist Generalist, helping leaders and teams to work better together, creatively improve and have more fun! I’m also developing an internet radio show and podcast called Funny Ideas, to bring together learning, development and comedy in new and hopefully entertaining ways. Improv has helped to reinvigorate both my business and my life, and made me excited about new possibilities.
If someone had told me four years ago that I’d be performing improv regularly and spending most of my spare cash on improv courses and festivals, I don’t think I’d have believed them. In December I even found myself doing short-form with two other performers to a crowd of 200 people in Folkestone, including lots of children. It’s one way to spend a Saturday evening. I’ve learned, and continue to learn, a huge amount and have made wonderful, life-long friends. The only downside is that nothing else in work or life ever feels quite so creative and freeing…but it’s something to work at. Improv is a way of life!