For this weeks Show Of The Week we are heading to Birmingham to talk about a show that is happening at 1000 Trades in Frederick Street. Tiny Stories are still quite a new troupe on the block and they are returning this season with a bang with lots of shows and appearances. I caught up with the troupe to find out about this weeks show.
OK, Stop! featuring Tiny Stories
Date: Wednesday 25th September
Location: 1000 trades, 16 Frederick Street, B1 3HE Birmingham
Hello! tell us all about who you all are and three unknown facts about your troupe!
– We are Tiny Stories Improv, a new(ish) macroscene group from Leicester.
– Three unknown facts? We only seem to rehearse in beautiful buildings. When we drive back from gigs we like to sing classic cheese from the ’90s while talking absolute bollocks. Carly gives the best hugs.
How did your troupe form?
We’re a mix of actors, improvisers, and a big ginger guy who tries really hard to organise everyone else (that’s me). Most of the group know each other from playing with The Same Faces, and then the other members were roped in as friends or people who heard about the show and were interested. I’d like to say it was organic, but the moment myself and Hannah fleshed the idea out we knew straight away who we wanted.
How did you come up with the name of your troupe? Was it difficult?
There were other names bandied about before we stuck to Tiny Stories Improv. At first it was Splash, then Secret Stories, then Tiny Story, and finally we thought we’d pluralise it because the more the merrier. It wasn’t difficult, but I’m glad we’re not called Splash. We went with TS because that’s exactly what we tell – a serious of very small stories about people, some just a few lines long.
How did the show come about?
The whole idea came about after a workshop at the British Improv Project with the brilliant Bobby Anderson of Sturike Comedy. 3 of our members were in the workshop together and had a whale of a time. It was new, silly, fast, frenetic, and we were enjoying it as much as the audience. The whole idea sort of formed right there and then and knew we wanted this to be our show. During rehearsals we adapted it a bit, changed the odd idea and added in silly things too, but it’s been a very natural process.
How did you get into improv?
I can only speak for myself (boo), but I dabbled with acting here and there and eventually started doing more and more comedic plays. They’re just better. We’d keep messing up during shows and I found I really liked these bits as it was more free, high risk, and greater reward if it came off. Then, after talking about joining a workshop for years, 2 of my friends shouted at me in the street telling me that I need to go already and just shut up talking about it. That was 2 years ago and I don’t think I’ve looked back since. Tom Young’s Workshops and the Same Faces gave me a taste of what improv comedy is actually like, and I’d recommend their beginners course to anyone who wants to try improv.
Tell us a little bit about the show that are happening this week?
We’re guesting at Ok Stop’s Birmingham show, They are a new longform group too, but their show is wonderfully anarchic. Give them a title of a show and then they will create a choose your own adventure, with rewinds and fastforwards, choosing new paths and creating weird moments. We’re going to be doing a slightly shorter version of our show as support. We take a place where lots of people work, the last text that an audience member received, and with just that we build a huge, colourful world with dozens of characters, plots, themes, and madness. It’s a snapshot of people’s lives.
It is a new season of improv what are you most looking forward to seeing?
I really want to see Between Us again. It’s an improvised drama, performed by two exceptional improvisers, Rachel Thorn and Alex Keen, telling the story of a relationship. You laugh, cry, and if you weren’t told would swear it was scripted. I’m also trying to find time to see Rhymes Against Humanity, a troupe who improvise a full musical right before your eyes, and want to see the Improvised Shakespeare. There’s something about seeing people describing all the madcap situations you get in improv through iambic pentameter that just tickles me.
I guess everyone says it, but Improv seems to be in a boom right now in the UK. After decades of being vastly behind America and their love of the artform, we’re catching up and there are new groups popping up everywhere. It’s brilliant. I want to see as many of them as i possibly can and I encourage everyone who’s got an idea in their head to get some friends together in a room and flesh it out. Even if it’s just for yourselves, one show, or you want to go on tour, the more improv the better.
It is the month of September – what were some of the best shows that you saw at festivals over summer and why?
The Same Faces, both their short form and Armando shows, always are a treat to watch. Improvised Harry Potter by Mischief Managed Impro is always great fun (and I’m not even a big Harry Potter fan), and their set at MissImps smash Night brought the house down. Oof Comedy, a new group from Bicester, went down to play Cage Match with City Improv in London and that gig was spectacular, both teams turned up in a big way and everyone in the audience was in tears.
It’s actually been a really good summer for improv, I’m struggling to think of a show I wouldn’t recommend.
How do you warm up before a show?
We’ve got a really quick, calming warm-up called “What have you done today to make me feel proud?” where you go around the circle and tell everyone something you achieved today, no matter how big or small, from putting on matching socks to closing that huge deal at work, it doesn’t matter, and then we all cheer. It’s cathartic and get’s everyone comfortable, putting the day behind us. Then zipzapboing is a classic, followed by mind-meld to get us thinking as one. Finally, a few object warm-ups such as “I got you a present” or throwing imaginary items to each other. By that point we’re normally ready to go on and our brains are ticking away like mad.
What have been some of the best suggestions that you have been given in a show and why?
“Damn it, Sissyphus!” was the line we had to start and end a show on. A show that was set in a research hospital. I still have no idea how we made it work, but it was glorious.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
We’re on the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – not YouTube yet but we have plans….
Please like and follow us. Our happiness is based on analytics.
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Funny, anarchic storytelling
QUICK FIRE ROUND
What makes your smile?
People being happy
What is your biggest strength as an improviser?
Big characters – that and shouting it Matt Berry’s voice.
Dream venue to perform at and why?
I’d love to play at the Comedy Store. It was the first venue I saw live improv and also Josie Lawrence ❤
Are you a dog or cat person?
Why do we have to choose? Both. Dogs for play, cats for cuddling.
What is the most delightful suggestion for a scene you can think of?
You get such a range of emotions in places like hospital and airports, and some many different stories you can tell. It’s limitless.
If you had to have a tattoo to represent improv what would you have and why?
A triangle with ‘Yes and…’ in it
Who is your improv hero and why?
Ooh that’s tough. Josie Lawrence, Colin Mochrie, Paul Merton, Graeme Garden. They’re the first improvisers I knew of, Josie and Paul through The Masterson Inheritance, Colin through WLIIA, and Graeme from I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue. They’re all really fine wordsmiths.
What is the last thing you liked on social media?
A video of a hairless cat chomping a cucumber. It was properly attacking that thing. I laughed for what felt like hours.
Something on your bucket list?
I want to adopt a cat.
Categories: Improv, Interview, Show of the Week, Shows
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