This month we are celebrating the improv Scene in Manchester and all month we are talking to ComedySportz to find out all about it! This week we talk about how the prestigious American brand came to the UK and how it ended up in Manchester…
Hello Brianne! Tell us who you are and three random facts about yourself!
Hello! My name is Brainne Edge and I run ComedySportz UK. I also play Roller Derby, used to knit Doctor Who scarves for money and I was one of the zombies in Shaun of the Dead.
How did you get into improv?
I lived in America in my teen years (the mid 90s) and I had a number of friends who did Improv at school as well as with other groups in the area, so I used to go and watch them – specifically the local ComedySportz team – and loved it. When I moved back to the UK I ran a Youth Theatre for a while and reached out to ComedySportz Worldwide to see if I could do do some of the stuff I saw over here… And now it’s 19 years later and we’re still doing it!
What inspired you to start improv?
The pure joy of the moment. I love play and discovering new things.
Tell us all about ComedySportz
ComedySportz is a competitive shortform show that sees two teams compete for laughs with improvised gags and games. There’s a referee on hand to get suggestions and make sure its a good clean “match” – we’re a family friendly show.
How did such a prestigious improv company end up in Manchester?
We started in Chorley in 2001 as part of the Youth Theatre I ran called, funnily enough, Chorley Youth Theatre. In 2005 I personally moved to Manchester and we continued a little longer in Chorley, started doing workshops in Manchester whilst trying a few different venues in Manchester until we found a couple that we could call home.
What makes you different to the other improv teams on the scene in the North West?
Uniforms? The “narrative” of the show is comedy played as a sport so the players have to wear their ComedySportz kit. We are also pretty big as a company and currently have 26 players on the roster.
What sort of improv do you do?
ComedySportz is a competitive shortform show but as a group we also do Longform, Musical Improv, audio improv, and an annual improvised pantomime.
Tell us a bit about all of your regular shows that you normally hold?
Before COVID-19 we did monthly ComedySportz shows as well as ComedySportz 4 Tots for really little kids. We also do a mixed short and longform show called Improv Mullet and New Adelphi Comedy Night a mixed bill show in collaboration with Salford University. The week lockdown came into effect we were a week or two away from launching our brand new Totally Improvised Musical.
Currently we’re just doing ComedySportz online and you can catch all of those shows on our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/cszuk
Tell us about the styles of improv you enjoy and why?
Oh I like everything that is fun. I’m not a huge fan of performing solo improv, that’s not my bag, I much prefer to play with my friends.
More from ComedySportz next Wednesday