Today is an exciting time for the Improv Community because a brand new website is about to launch today. The Improv Place is a a new online community for professional and professional-aspiring improvisers. I caught up with the founders Katy Schutte and Chris Mead to find out all about it.
Hello Katy and Chris – for anyone who doesn’t know who you are tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We’re both UK based improvisers (London and Farnham). We work with Hoopla, The Maydays, The Nursery and guest at lots of improv festivals and improv schools around the world. We’re known performatively as science fiction long form duo Project2. We trained at all the big schools and have been improvising (properly!) for 15+ and 10+ years respectively.
You are launching something very exciting today tell us all about the Improv Place?
It’s a new online community for professional and professional-aspiring improvisers without the many barriers to real conversations and connection that we see on platforms like Facebook. We won’t sell your data, compromise your privacy or only allow a percentage of users to view your posts. You choose what to see, read and contribute.
How are you hoping it will change the way that improvisers interact with improv and improvisers online?
Having a community means both offering what you have learned and learning from others; not dispensing advice, but collating and discussing things that are important to your improv career.
What can people expect in the next few months on the website?
The community itself will create a lot of content and discussion. We are curating and steering the platform around our community which means introducing topics and polls, hosting interviews with global improvisers and offering pro-level masterclasses. We’ll have Office Hours too so that anyone can come and chat us once a week about anything.
Has the lockdown helped in any way to develop the way the website will work?
We have been planning The Improv Place since way before lockdown, so it’s kind of a weird development that improv has had to go online exclusively for the past few months. It hasn’t really changed the way we want The Improv Place to work, but a helpful result of lockdown is that more people have already tried taking improv (or other) classes online and are more comfortable with the medium. The global discussions around improv have also been more prominent and we’re happy to be able to continue to host those; it’s partly why we wanted The Improv Place to live online in the first place. We want it to be accessible to everyone no matter who or where they are.
If people are interested in becoming involved, how can they?
We are launching on 22nd June, so people can join the network from that day onwards. We’ll be sharing the link all over the place. We’re having an open day, so you can find out more about our vision by coming along to our launch. You can hear all about it in our short mailouts and get info about joining the network here: http://tinyletter.com/theimprovplace.
Like some social media platforms there can be a point where a subscription will be charged – is this something you plan to do in the future with the site?
We are a paid platform. We think there is real value in what we’re offering. We’ll have world class teaching available exclusively to the community as well as all our interactions, discussions and articles. Initially we’re charging £250 for our six-week Improv Teaching Masterclass bundled with a discounted one year membership, or you can just join the community for £100.
As our content and community grows, we will likely charge more for the subscription. However, we don’t want to be evil gatekeepers, so if anyone wants to join and cannot afford to do so, we are offering scholarships and COVID discounted places for people that are struggling.
For anyone that wants to find out more where can they online?
This is the best place: http://tinyletter.com/theimprovplace and you can reach out to us personally if you have questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you think that improv is now going to be something that focuses online as much as in the theatres and stage?
I think they are just different spaces and The Improv Place is an online community for all professional improvisers, whatever platform they choose to perform on. I definitely think online teaching will continue and things like panels, meetings and shows will continue indefinitely on a smaller scale after lockdown, even as live shows come back.
Where do you hope to see The Improv Place in a Years time?
We will be brimming with a worldwide contingent of talented, ambitious and caring improvisers. We see ourselves being the Masterclass for improvisers with a cache of accessible online teaching content as part of the subscription, with new, live courses always on offer. We have big plans for the future, and many of our big ideas will be rolled out over the first year.
I would love to sit down with you again in a year to discuss how its going?
We’d love that too!
Finally why should people sign up to The Improv Place?
It is a true community where people can find all the resources they need to become (or become better) professional improvisers and meet anyone in the world who shares their interests within the art form. We made The Improv Place because it is something we both want and need and it’s something we haven’t seen in this form anywhere else.