This month I chatted to over 30 female improvisers from all over the UK to celebrate the talent that we have – we also discuss some of the important debates surrounding this topic as well. Today I talk to an improviser that is part of Casino Improv – Becky Webb
Hello There! Tell us who you are and three random facts about yourself!
My name is Becky, I have size 3 feet, I hate hanging out my washing and I love mashed potato.
How did you get into improv?
I studied physical theatre and clowning, and through that met people and joined a group in Bristol. I then moved to Liverpool where I started working with a company called Impropriety and it has gone on from there.
What inspired you to start improv?
I’ve always loved performing to and for an audience without the idea of the fourth wall. A lot of what I do is street theatre and clowning and relies on that audience connection. I guess it was an extension of that really.
What troupes are you are a part of?
Tell us about the styles of improv you enjoy and why?
I love longform as I love following characters and story arcs with the performers.
Who are some Improvisers that you find inspiring and why?
Katy Schutte, Pippa Evans, Maria Peters, Jinny Lyons, Chris Mead, Tj and Dave, Thomas Middleditch. They are present and thoughtful improvisers. Calm and relaxed and happy to play what is there not what they think it should be.
I have read many articles around the debate that it is harder to be a woman in improv – what are your thoughts on this and why?
I think it’s hard for women in any art form where comedy is involved. The idea that we might not have got this. That it’s as a bit of a man’s game. I have had conversations with people in their 20’s saying that they don’t find women funny. It’s in the fabric of what is being taught to generations.
What are some of the best bits of advice you have been given about improv and why?
You don’t have to be funny. This was good for me as it took the pressure off and allowed me to play the scene and find the comedy as opposed to worry about getting laughs and holding an audience.
Do you find that being a female in an improv show that the suggestions you can get are traditional and stereotypical? How do you feel when you get given these?
I wouldn’t say this is something I have to deal with a great deal. I think steering away from suggestions that would put me in those positions is something I try to be conscious of.
What have been some of your favourite moments on stage?
Finding a game with your scene partner and knowing you are supported and on the same page.
What have been some of the worst and why?
Feeling bulldozed and untrusted by other performers. I am aware it says more about their need for control, but it’s still pretty rubbish.
For new improvisers, what would your key bit of advice be?
What are three things you want to focus on this season with your own improv?
Developing new shows, character work and listening.
What is the future of improv?
Keeping the pride in what it is and not feeling apologetic for it. Showing people that improv is a valid form.