Ones To Watch in 2021 – INTERVIEW – Preparing For A Show With Improv Gym

Welcome to 2021 and all this month we are celebrating acts, websites, content, musicians and everything in between that you should be looking out for this year! All this month we are also featuring Sarah Davies who runs Improv Gym in Folkstone, Kent. We get to know all about what they have in store for this year, improv shows and much more. This week we talk about preparing for a show, great improv advice and relaxing after a show

What three things are you looking forward to about performing in an improv show?

 The collaboration, the adrenaline rush and the risk taking

What are some of the best bits of advice you have been given about improv and why?

You might never feel ‘ready’ to do your first show; just do it anyway. 

What have been some of your favourite moments on stage?

 Any moment that you can’t really put into words afterwards – when you are in that complete flow state!  ANY time that I get to play an object!! 

What have been some of the worst and why?

Not many, but someone did once jump on my back without warning in a performance (I have back condition, so that was really scary)

For new improvisers, what would your key bit of advice be?

It’ll probably feel terrifying, but that’s ok. it doesn’t really get much less terrifying, you just begin to enjoy it?!

What have been some of the best suggestions that you have been given in a show and why?

I was once endowed to play Henry 8th in a Love Island parody, and it was so incongruous that it was delicious!

What is your favourite warm up game?

I love inventing new warm up games, particulate ones based on energy passing – You’re on Mute and Luddite Time are two of my new favourite invented ones, and over the festive season I’ve been playing with a new one….Santa Pause, because I’m ridiculous. What I love about running Improv Gym is that it gives me the opportunity to create new things and constantly be developing ideas and forms!

How do you warm up before a show? 

Usually stretches, checking in, energisers and something to connect us all like ‘mind meld’ 

How do you wind down?

It used to be through a beer and a debriefing phone call in the glamourous location of the last train back from London to Kent, but now it’s more just kind of lying on the sofa going ‘oh cool, we did a thing?!’.

Do you have any pre-show rituals if so, what are they?

Not really, just connecting with my troupe/cast. 

Describe the feeling you get when you host a show and people specifically turn up to see you?

‘Thanks, mum’. But seriously, I really love it when people give their support in any form, it means a great deal!

What other improv groups are you a fan of and why?

So so many! I love seeing new and experimental works as well as established groups.

What advice would you give for people thinking about starting an improv troupe?

Go for it – but be prepared that it’s 85% admin!

What about extra advice for those wanting to focus on an improv style or format they are creating?

See as much improv as possible!

What would you like to see happen to comedy in the next 10 years?

I’d love to see it become more diverse and inclusive and for other voices to be prioritised more.

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