The year 2020 has been a very unusual one and the fact that a lot of festivals have been postponed this summer we wanted to do things a bit different. Due to the fact we cannot use this time to interview and promote acts heading to the fringe, we thought we would use this time to celebrate all forms of comedy! So over the next month we are interviewing an array of acts with some fun questions so you can get to know them a little bit more! Today we talk to an improv act based in Manchester – Comedy Sportz
Hello there tell me all about your group!
My name is Sean Mason and I am part of ComedySportz UK. Our main show is a family friendly shortform show but we also do lots of other shows and formats too. We’re based in Manchester but are part of a worldwide family of ComedySportz teams.
What are your favourite things about being in your troupe?
Getting to play with friends and be silly. Our main show is family friendly but that doesn’t mean that’s its just for kids, so its really fun to see adults and kids alike get into the show. Its a show that really is for everyone and very playful and I think that’s really important.
Describe each member of the improv acts by describing their characters by what animal they would be?
Oh gosh, there are 26 of us in total though not all on stage at once thankfully… but now I think about it that might be a really fun idea to get everyone in the same show once we can all be back in theatres together! Anyways, buckle in!
Ash, an owl. Ben, a playful bear. Brainne, a brightly coloured unicorn. Carly, a meerkat popping up with a joke. Chris, an excitable labrador. Dalu, a charming capybara. Darryl, a dog that just saw a squirrel. Felix, a cat lying on a piano. John, an eager whippet. Other John, a happy wolf. Josie, a happy hamster. Kate, an American Eagle. Kyle, a baby fox. Laura, basically Dory from Finding Nemo. Maggie, a mother hen. Marcus, a honey badger. Lukas, a playful seal pup. Nearly there. Rachel, she’s a fierce lion. Rob, a cat who is already over your nonsense. Russell, a gazelle. Sam, a fancy swan. Sean, a kestrel. Stephen, he’s daddy bear. Steven with a v, a cranky old badger. Tom is a pigeon in flight. Vicki, a bouncy rabbit.
What has been your favourite show so far?
Every year we take part in the ComedySportz World Championship, where teams from around the world – well, America and us – join up for a week of workshops and shows. In 2019 we finally made it to the Championship final which is just a lovely bit of validation really.
How was your group founded?
Brainne Edge (people just call her Bron) saw ComedySportz in America and asked if her youth theatre could do a show for charity. They loved it and went back to ComedySportz Worldwide to ask if they could become an official team. We’ve been going since 2001. Growing old but never growing up.
What is your favourite thing about performing improv?
Nothing can go wrong. Everything is an offer and can be used on stage.
What is the most important skill you have learnt and why?
Listening and awareness of others. Its why I think everyone should take an improv course, being in the moment makes us better communicators on and off stage.
Describe your group for people who have not seen you live in 5 words beginning with the letter C?
Crazy competitive comedy, completely cimprovised.
You can only watch three other improv acts for the rest of your life – who would they be and why?
The Comedy Store Players, Here: The Improvised Musical and Baby Wants Candy.
What makes a good improv scene?
Trusting and being comfortable with your scene partner. That takes performing without ego and just being in the moment. The lights can go out, the curtain might fall down, anything could “go wrong” and if you’re in the moment you’ll be able to make it part of the scene.
What has been the best suggestion you have been given by an audience?
Whatever the last suggestion we took was. Which might sound like a cop-out but any suggestion can lead to a great scene.
Dream location to perform a show and why?
Improv works best as an intimate art-form, so nothing too big and fancy. That said, it would be exciting to perform somewhere like the Minack Theatre in Cornwall, an outdoor amphitheatre built into the cliff edge. So long as it doesn’t rain.
If people want to find out more about your group where can they go on the socials?
You can find a full list of our social media pages at www.comedysportz.co.uk/social-media but we’re most active on twitter (@ComedySportz_UK), Instagram (@Cszmanchester) and facebook (facebook.com/cszmanchesteruk)
Finally, which improv group would you as a team love to do a collaboration with and why?
Baby Wants Candy. They have a really playful anything goes approach to their musical shows which we just love. We teamed up with a group called the Scat Pack a couple of times a few years ago but then they changed their name to Mischief Theatre and did a play that went wrong or something. We don’t know where they are now but we wish them well