This month we are going behind the scenes of the London based improv troupe Classic Andy! Over the next few weeks we are going to be talking everything from improv to shows and silliness. In our first part of many interviews, we delve into the world of Classic Andy to find out all about the troupe.
Hello guys! Can you tell us a little bit about the improv team Classic Andy?
We are a longform group who just love exploring different formats and incorporating our collective strengths and interests – a mash-up of versatility and love!
How did you guys form?
Most of us met when we first started out, on Hoopla courses. We have picked up a few other people along the way, but for many of us, we’re still in a group with people that were at the first ever improv class we attended.
How did you come up with the name Classic Andy?
As you might imagine, it’s a long story! But the things about ‘Andy’s’ personality that were classically him gave us the inspiration for our first format, where we took inspiration from those idiosyncrasies of people we know!
“We think that our versatility and willingness to try different longform formats is something relatively unique…” – Classic Andy
What style of Improv do you do?
Versatile long form is our thing. We like to think that we weave in many styles. We can be connected, naturalistic, playful, gamey and we love to experiment with different formats and approaches.
You have a new show format this season too – tell us about that!
We have been previewing ‘The Bench’ and will develop it this season…potentially along with some other formats; you can’t stop us from experimenting! We’re also going to make changes to our ‘party’ format over the course of the season to make it even better. We’re starting by just having one guest group each month, rather than two, to give them more time as an act and to incorporate their members more into some of the games and activities!
How have you decided to change to that specific format?
Julie came across The Bench in a workshop at the Amsterdam Improv Marathon and loved it so we all decided to give it a try. It’s a delight of a format as it looks at the life of a bench and the many people who encounter each other there, through the course of a day. It gives great flexibility to bring in all manner of improv tools and approaches…and all human (and potentially animal, object, spirit) life is there!
What sort of suggestions do you ask the audience for with this new style of format?
We ask them very specifically to give some context to where this bench is…what is in front, behind, to the left and to the right. These places are never seen (they are all off stage) but they provide great inspiration for the characters and interactions on and around the bench.
What will make you different to other improv shows out there?
We think that our versatility and willingness to try different longform formats is something relatively unique. And our monthly party format takes a different theme each time and includes an epic guest act, games and costumes. Not many people are doing that!
“…the things about ‘Andy’s’ personality that were classically him gave us the inspiration for our first format…” – Classic Andy
What other improv groups are you a fan of and why?
We love and admire so many groups, for many different reasons. We would probably say that our main inspiration and the group we would come back to time and time again would be The Maydays. As performers, as teachers and as advocates of the craft of truly beautiful, joyful improv that is genuinely about teamwork. They are all so on top of their game that they can seamlessly adapt and bring in any number of tools and techniques to give any scene or show exactly what it needs at that point in time.
What advice would you give for people thinking about starting an improv troupe?
Work with people you like. Discuss what level of commitment you want to put in and expect of others. Be prepared to do a whole load of admin. Appreciate every opportunity you get to muck about with some (hopefully) amazing people. Remain curious.
If people want to find out more about you where can they find you on social media?
What are your aims for your troupe for the improv seasons of 2018 /2019?
Continue to build the noise around our monthly Improv Comedy Parties at The Nursery, host some excellent acts and learn, learn, learn! We’d also love to perform at an international improv festival…so watch this space!
In three words why should people come to your show on the 21st of September?Friday surreal fun!