This week for our Show of the Week we are heading to Smash Night in Nottingham that is hosted by MissImp – there are an array of acts that are performing and one of those acts is none other than tiny Stories. I caught up with Hannah to find out all about it.
Tiny Stories at Smash Night – Improvised Comedy Theatre at The Angel
Date: Weds 27th November
Location: The Castle, 44 Commercial Rd, Whitechapel, London E1 1LN
Ticket Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/403619593807458
Hello Hannah tell us all about who you all are and three unknown facts about your troupe!
Hello! We’re Tiny Stories and we’re based mainly in Leicester, with a couple of outliers in other parts of the Midlands!
FACT ONE: We have our own version of the Mind Meld song that ends with some cathartic yelling and pointing
FACT TWO: Three of us showed up for our first ever gig wearing mustard, and this has become a staple colour of our line-up ever since.
FACT THREE: At least two of the group are excellent markspeople, as proven by our trip to the crossbow range at the Royal Armouries before our gig in Leeds in October
How did your troupe form?
Some of us did a workshop at The British Improv Project and came away from it buzzing with ideas and feverishly working out how we could shape a show around a macroscene type format. We roped in some fellow improvisers and actors we knew to try it out, and the rest is history…!
How did you come up with the name of your troupe? Was it difficult?
We wanted something that encapsulated the feel of the show, with lots of tiny stories all happening in the same place at the same time. Then Adam put together the magnifying glass logo and we knew we’d chosen well.
How did the show come about?
We basically got together and threw the format at the wall to see what stuck – we’ve worked things out between us as we’ve developed the show to tighten things up and give us a little bit of structure, and we’ve added elements to our audience ask, but it’s generally been a very organic way of working. We all share a weird, silly, surreal sense of humour, so we know that whichever strange direction the show goes in we’ll all be there to back it up..!
How did you get into improv?
For me personally, I dabbled in improv years ago but then came back to it with a vengeance about 18months ago, when my friend Nat asked if I wanted to go with her to a workshop, run by Tom Young from the Same Faces. We did the beginner’s course, and the addiction became real from there…! I’ve been gigging regularly for well over a year with The Same Faces, helped Adam to set up Tiny Stories and just co-founded Splat Improv in Loughborough. Busy times! I’m an actor/theatremaker/writer in my non-improv life so there’s a lot of crossover with character work, stagecraft, storytelling etc.
Tell us a little bit about the show that are happening this week?
We are really excited to be one of the acts for this month’s MissImp Smash Night in Nottingham at The Angel Microbrewery – a few of us have been before as members of other groups, but this is Tiny Stories’ Smash Night debut! Every time we’ve been to any MissImp shows either as performers or spectators it’s always a brilliant night, so we’re really looking forward to it. There will be another guest act as well as us, plus the Smash Night Social Club house team who are always hilarious!
It is the month of November, the month of fireworks! What is the key to having a spark on stage with fellow team members? How do you create a bond?
Such a great question! Playing together regularly helps a lot, because you get to know each other’s sense of humour and interests and quirks, but I also think that getting that quickfire energy on stage is all about active listening, really being in the moment with each other and sharing the joy of creating something together. I love things like our M People warm up (see below!) because we feel like a part of each other’s day. I really like it when someone is brought into a scene and gifted something that is so utterly ‘them’ that it’s a joy to watch – for eg in Tiny Stories whenever Russ gets to play a talking animal 🙂
How do you warm up before a show?
The first thing we do is play a game we invented speculatively titled ‘M People’, where we go around the circle and sing “What have you done today to make you feel proud?” at each person in turn, and they tell us something they’ve done that day (no matter how big or small) and we cheer and clap and sometimes hug. It helps to acknowledge the day we’ve had in a positive way but also to put it behind us and get into gig mode. We love warm-ups that 1) get us on the same page, like Mind Meld and 2) involve object work, as that’s really important for the way we transition between scenes in the show.
What have been some of the best suggestions that you have been given in a show and why?
We ask for the last text message someone received to use as our first (and last) line of dialogue, so that sometimes throws up delightful things that might sound mundane in context of the full conversation, but in isolation take on a new life of their own – “It’s not my fault, you were the one who put it in there” for eg. Also at one gig half the team heard the location as ‘florist’ and half heard ‘forest’ so that nearly ended up with an interesting clash of ideas…!
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
Yes please come and find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – we crave the endorphins from those sweet sweet likes:
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Weird Wonderful Stories
QUICK FIRE ROUND
What makes you smile?
Awful portmanteaus – poormanteaus if you will!!
What is your biggest strength as an improviser?
I like to bring big energy to scenes and be as supportive as possible. In musical games, my power move is belting a note for longer than is strictly necessary for (hopefully!) comic effect…!
Dream venue to perform at and why?
I love playing at The Miller because it’s always such a supportive crowd, even at 5am during the Hoopla marathon..! If we’re talking big huge dreams, then the RSC in Stratford ❤
Are you a dog or cat person?
What is the most delightful suggestion for a scene you can think of?
I love suggestions that are weirdly specific like “an obnoxious chicken coop sanitation inspector” or “Deputy Witch-Finder General”
If you had to have a tattoo to represent improv what would you have and why?
Ooh probably some kind of design based around an ampersand “&”
Who is your improv hero and why?
I have so many… it might sound like a cop-out answer but I have to say everyone in my team! They’re all hilarious and bring their own unique thing to the melting pot. I’m also a massive fan of Rachel Parris, especially as she is representing Leicester out there on the national stage!
What is the last thing you liked on social media?
Probably something from The Improv Boost – a brilliant resource & super supportive to the community as a whole, check them out! Either that or a video of puppies falling over…
Something on your bucket list?
The iO summer intensive in Chicago. And outside of improv, to make it on to a panel at Comic Con 😀