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 London that has been around for nearly a decade – Do Not Adjust Your Stage!
Hello there tell me all about your group!
Hi, We’re Do Not Adjust Your Stage and we’re a long-form troupe from London. We’ve been going for nearly a decade now which is exciting and frightening in equal measure. We love doing shows to new audiences in unexpected places, like libraries, museums and art galleries.
What are your favourite things about being in your troupe?
We are lucky in that we are a group of friends, first and foremost. Many of us met initially at university in Sheffield, and Rhys then came from Durham and helped form the group in London. Improvising in a tight-knit group of mates is always fun, and we love to keep challenging ourselves to get better.
Describe each member of the improv act by describing their characters by what animal they would be?
Rhys – The bear – a tough and grizzly outer persona hides a heart of pure gold, and a love of wild Alaskan Salmon.
Shaun – An Octopus – Tentacles in many different projects and an intelligent improv brain.
Helen – Lioness – Always hunting out new opportunities and a natural leader of the pride.
Matt – Gazelle – Tall, sometimes even graceful, but easily startled and scared.
Clare – Elephant – Wise, experienced and a victim of poaching (we poached her to join DNAYS)
Tim – Wild Boar – Often seen roaming the wilds of south-west England
What has been your favourite show so far?
We always love our regular shows at Hoopla and the Free Association, but other standouts include when we went stateside and played to a sold-out UCB theatre in New York, or playing London’s legendary Soho Theatre back in 2017. They were both awesome occasions.
How was your group founded?
Many of us first met at Sheffield University more than 10 years ago, but it was Nick meeting Rhys at an early Hoopla workshop in London that started the group, with others joining in the years after that. Our most recent inductee was Clare, who has brought a wealth of awesome improv experience to the group.
What is your favourite thing about performing improv?
Working together as a group to create something magical in the moment. It will never be as funny written down or repeated. It is the true “You have to be there” form of comedy.
What is the most important skill you have learnt and why?
Take your time and enjoy the silence. you don’t need to fill every second with noise and action.
Describe your group for people who have not seen you live in 5 words beginning with the letter E?
Energetic, Eclectic, Easy-going, Enquiring, Entrenched.
You can only watch three other improv acts for the rest of your life – who would they be and why?
That’s a tough one. Let’s go with:
– Austentatious: Brilliantly talented bunch of improvisers, real masters of their form.
– Sorry: Probably the best improv group in London right now.
– TJ and Dave: Many of the DNAYS gang rave about this duo since seeing them live a few years back
What makes a good improv scene?
Teamwork, building on ideas. Finding something unusual, as well as a strong emotional connection or relationship between the characters. Also, some of the best scenes happen when we can see how one person’s actions or word impact on another person in a relatable way.
What has been the best suggestion you have been given by an audience?
There’s been so many. We often get suggestions by talking to an audience member and then riffing on what they say about their day, or their job or hobbies. We went through a period of a few months where almost everyone we spoke to happened to be Swedish. Weirdly, only one of those shows was actually in Sweden.
Dream location to perform a show and why?
Let’s go big on this one. Shakespeare’s Globe. There, we said it. Whoever runs the Globe, the ball is now in your court.
If people want to find out more about your group where can they go on the socials?
Facebook: Do Not Adjust Your Stage
Finally, which improv group would you as a team love to do a collaboration with and why?
There’s a French group we’ve seen a couple of times called La Carpe Haute who are fantastic and very physical. Would be interesting to work with them on something bilingual.