Ones To Watch in 2021 – INTERVIEW – Find Out About 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 find out more about Improv Gym.

How did Improv Gym Begin?

It began before I joined, initially as a community-based group. Gradually I started teaching with them, and then the wonderful Jason Delplanque and I began co-running classes, which for now, I’m facilitating virtually! 

Why did you choose that name?

It was already named when I joined, I guess because it’s like an improv work out! 

What sort of courses and lessons do you offer?

Right now, weekly improv drop-ins online, on Tuesdays 7.00-8.30 GMT, and occasional ‘end of term’ jams.

How can people apply and get involved in the lessons and drop ins?

Pop to our Facebook page @improvgym and drop ins and booking links will all be there when we release our next bank of classes! 

What are your favourite lessons to teach and why?

I love teaching to themes and experimenting with ideas- recently that has including ‘celebrate your weirdness’ and ‘theatrical theft’ (stealing from theatre practitioners like Brecht) both of which I developed whilst taking part in teaching masterclass training at The Improv Place.

You host shows as well! Tell us about them!

We mostly offer classes right now but host occasional jams online too. Usually we host termly jams at the Quarterhouse Theatre in Folkestone, Kent.

How do you book acts?

Our ‘real life’ jams often have a guest act on a largely voluntary (for now, because we are poor!) basis, from our pools of contacts.

You also have guest teachers too tell us about them!

Yes we’ve been really lucky to have tutors drop in online, including Jason Delplanque, who runs face to face Improv Gym with me normally, my Twinprov partner Julie Flower, Ryan Murphy who I know from the London improv scene and really enjoy teaching with, and Nathaniel Montgomery, based in USA who I met online when I performed twoprov with him. All tutors are people whose ethos’s and ways of working fit with the friendly and inclusive message of Improv Gym very specifically! 

What can people look forward to in 2021?

Well, that’s a BIG question, and I hope that the answer globally is…at least…..something better?! In terms of Improv Gym, I’m committed to keeping going online for also long as there is an appetite for it and the pressures of my day jobs allow, and absolutely ache to get back to real life work as soon as it’s safe to!

Do you have any new year’s improv resolutions if so, what are they?

To keep learning, training and experimenting with ideas, and to also not be afraid to take risks and put myself out there, so to speak! Its’ how I ended up this year performing with Jay Sukow, being in the Extreme Improv World Championship and creating shows for The World of Improv, so I guess – just go for it! 

What styles do you hope to see more in improv this year?

It’s personal to each performer, but I always love to see improv that prioritises listening (more important than EVER online!) , support and experimenting with forms.

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