Anxiety and Joy! Lloydie James Lloyd on Robin Hood International Improv Festival

Say what?! There’s a new improv festival an hour from my house? Tell me more about the Robin Hood International Improv Festival, Lloydie!


Where? Nottingham

When? Thurs 7th May to Sunday 10th May 2020.

Workshops? A variety of workshops from some of the world’s top teachers of improvised comedy. We have Jorin Garguilo from CIC Theater in Chicago, Shantira Jackson from Second City / iO and Stacey Smith from Boom Chicago in Amsterdam.

Shows? We are still taking applications so we can’t tell you that yet. We expect there to be over 100 performers in total though.

Jams? Oh yes. We wanted to maximise people’s stage time as much as is possible at a busy festival.

Rachel: This is the first ever Robin Hood International Improv Festival! What’s your goal?

Lloydie: We want to put on a legendary festival in a legendary city. Nottingham is known worldwide for Robin Hood but we want to create new improv legends and help revolutionise people’s perceptions of the art form and people’s work. A place where people can bring their best work – the work they really love – and put it in front of a supportive audience.


Rachel: What’s going to be special about the Robin Hood International Improv Festival?

Lloydie: So many of the shows will be people’s passion projects. It might not always be the shows that performers are known for so you might not have seen these shows on the festival circuit before. For example, The Maydays are well known for Happily Never After and Stacey Smith is well known for her one woman musical StaceJam. However, both are bringing different shows that they truly love so that we can introduce people to something new. We hope it’s the exciting stuff that will be revolutionising festivals of the future and that you will get to see it in Nottingham first.


Rachel: What’s going to be the best thing about it?

Lloydie: The combination of great workshops, innovative shows and a welcoming atmosphere. Come party with us – and if you have a sore head the next day, you’re in luck, because ibuprofen was invented in Nottingham! We’ve got your back! (Also, please drink responsibly. Seriously though, please do.)


Rachel: How do you manage the boring admin and organisation stuff? 

Lloydie: I have a strategic brain in a lot of ways. I’ve been a manager at a large radio station so I’m used to planning things. However my brain is very word-oriented. I can have conversations with people, bring people on board and negotiate with organisations but I can’t always order that properly. Liam, on the other hand, can make a spreadsheet that does the most amazing things ever, he can make sense of the chaos and has the most wonderful, people-oriented, creative ideas. He brings both order to chaos and a bunch of cool ideas to the table.

Between us we can cover off a number of different things and then there’s that lovely overlap in the middle where we co-exist in admin-world. I thank my lucky stars every day that I work with someone as talented as Liam. However, we couldn’t do it with just two of us. We’ve got the most amazing team of people – some local to Nottingham and some, like Stacey Smith, who aren’t even in the country but helping with work on the festival. A talented team of people makes things work and we have a team that blows my mind. We are a very lucky festival to have them.


Rachel: What are you finding challenging about running an improv festival? 

Lloydie: This is our first one and we are taking as much advice as we can but there are always challenges. We want this to be an amazing experience for the booming improv community in Nottingham and for people visiting. It’s a challenge because you can’t please all the people all of the time. We want to do our best by everyone but I think we find it challenging when we don’t live up to our own standards. However, every day is a school day. We are already learning so much and we are overwhelmed by just how supportive improvisers can be in our quest to do the best we can.


Rachel: How are you advertising the festival? 

Lloydie: Most of the initial advertising has been to improvisers through social media and word of mouth. When we move towards tickets going on sale we will be looking at local media channels (both traditional and non-traditional)


Rachel: What do you get out of running an improv festival? 

Lloydie: A beautiful mix of anxiety and joy. If we can be facilitators for people to have a good time and do work they love, and if the legend of the festival can live on through up-skilling, inspiring and augmenting the Nottingham improv community, then that will be the hugest reward.


Rachel: What can improvisers get at your improv festival that they can’t get anywhere else? 

Lloydie: They get to see the passion projects of improvisers from all over the world and create new national and international connections. Plus they get to visit the Robin Hood statue obviously – no other festival gives you that!

Applications to perform at Robin Hood International Improv Festival are open until Friday 24th January! 

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