With Christmas just around the corner many improv groups are celebrating the festive season by performing special themed shows! This month we are talking to acts who are celebrating the season in style! Today we speak to Luke of Bristol Improv Theatre to find out all about their puppet spectacular show!
How The BIT Stole Christmas
Date: Fridays and Saturdays in December (Not 13th and 14th)
Location: Bristol Improv Theatre
Ticket Link: https://improvtheatre.co.uk/christmas/
Hello guys tell us all about your troupe?
We are what I would humbly like to call a super-group brought together by Caitlin Campbell, the Artistic Director of the BIT. We include Lucy Fennel (Impromptu Shakespeare), John Gallagher (Bristol Longform Comedy), Stephen Clements (Degrees of Error – Murder She Didn’t Write) and ME, Imogen Palmer (The Delight Collective).
We are a mash-up of different improvised theatre / comedy / clowning styles and also all direct and teach improv. I haven’t performed in such an experienced and tight group like that for a long time!
We are also receiving direction and puppetry wisdom from Charlotte Whitten of the award-winning Monkey Trousers theatre company which is amazing – I have been in awe of her puppetry skills for years.
What is the show that you are bringing to the stage in this Festive season?
How the BIT Stole Christmas is a hilarious, rude, naughty puppet spectacular! Think Avenue Q meets Muppet Christmas Carol meets sharp and fast improv comedy and you can begin to envisage the show…
Will there be a bit of festivity in your show?
DING DONG the christmas bells are going to ring!! A lot of our runs have involved ‘Christmas morals’ emerging. For example, ‘Divorce doesn’t mean you can’t raise balanced children’ or ‘Christmas is the time to take a lot of drugs with 13 of your closest friends’.
Don’t trust any of the morals which come out of our puppets’ mouths please…
What are your favourite things about the festive season and why?
Mulled drinks, fires and singing!! I can promise the first and the last at our theatre (we have carol singing with a pro musician and live piano after the show). We would be safely and calmly evacuating into the street if the second happened.
This time of year the venues tend to be a bit busier as well – do you find that the audience changes at all?
Yes – we find when it gets colder, people do want to huddle together inside and watch comedy for warmth….
What advice would you give for people performing around the festive season – is it important to drop a christmas related theme into it?
We’ve done this a bit this year to see if we can tap into the Christmas office party outing vibe. What I love about this show and that it would also stand up on it’s own without the Christmas vibe and we’re already talking about what else is possible with the puppets.
What is the best thing about a night at your show for the audience?
I promise you will be charmed and delighted by our stunningly handcrafted puppets (made by Xenia Randle and Charlotte Whitten)…all whilst enjoying delicious Winter themed cocktails (and mocktails!) from the cosy BIT Bar.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
Facebook: The Bristol Improv Theatre
What is YOUR favourite show you have done this year and why?
ASIDE from the puppets, I’ve also loved performing my daft pop diva, clown show ‘IMOGENÉ: the improvised pop concert’ which is (cheeky plug) coming to London at the end of February as part of VAULT Festival.
The reason I’ve loved making and performing this show is that essentially I have made my 8 year old self’s dream come true – to finally be a pop princess!! Also the stories I get from the audience to inspire songs just raise me up (pardon the song reference). We had a feminist anthem inspired by a woman sharing a story about a man taking photos of her squatting in the gym and I had 100 people chanting back to me ‘Don’t look at my squat!’. An empowering and hilarious slice of heaven.
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
What more could you want this time of year?
CHRISTMAS QUICK FIRE ROUND
For this years Christmas Quick fire I am going to give you a handful of song titles and film titles related to the season and I want you to tell me the first improv scenario that comes to your brain and what you would do with this suggestion?
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of the Year
(Suggestion inspired by this 1963 song)
Drunkenly singing this at an office party before inappropriately hitting on a colleague.
The Polar Express
(Suggestion inspired by this 2004 film)
Riding a train with a polar bear (I might come on as a polar bear train driver or say ‘Wow! I didn’t know polar bears could be train drivers too!’ To my scene partner..)
Driving Home For Christmas
(Suggestion inspired by this 1986 song)
Driving…home…..for Christmas? (I teach ‘be obvious!’ a lot haha)
Stay Another Day
(Suggestion inspired by this 1994 song)
Sat by the fire and seducing Santa to stay one more night so I can get more presents (at the expense of all the children in the world)
It’s A Wonderful Life
(Suggestion inspired by this 1946 film)
On a bridge, reflecting about the year.
Do They Know It’s Christmas
(Suggestion inspired by this 1984 song)
Writing this song and questioning all the problematic lyrics about generalising the continent of Africa etc.
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
(Suggestion inspired by this 1978 song)
Being an excited child on Christmas eve meeting a grumpy overworked reindeer.
(Suggestion inspired by this 1990 film)
Oh my god, building a series of incredibly violent traps for a villain.
While You Were Sleeping
(Suggestion inspired by this 1995 film)
Watching someone sleep….
(Suggestion inspired by this 2016 song)
Surfing and having a hot christmas!
Categories: bristol improv theatre, christmas, Improv, Interview
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