For June we are very excited to be able to go behind the scenes of Cambridge’s oldest Improv troupe, the group is a mixture of university students and members of the community. This month we talk to members of the troupe all about how they prepare for shows, stories from the stage and even get to speak to some of the troupes one on one to find out a bit more about them! This week we are talking to different members of Cambridge Impronauts to find out more about them.
Player Profile – Isabella
Hello Isabella! How long have you been improvising?
I started doing improv with the Cambridge Impronauts in Autumn of 2016, so it has been nearly five years now!
How did you get into improv?
I had some experience with improv from various theatre classes I had taken before university, but nothing concrete. I was curious when I heard about the free weekly open workshops the Impronauts did, where they would teach you improv and give you an opportunity to join them if you kept learning and enjoyed it. I went with a friend, and was hooked from then on!
What is your favourite style of improv and why?
Longform, most definitely. Creating a story out of nothing is the best kind of on-stage magic. You have to work so closely with your team, and become really familiar with a genre, its expectations and pitfalls, it’s a deeply involved and satisfying process to be a part of. If you add music and singing to that mix, it becomes even more complex. In general I enjoy complexity in improv, when there are a million threads pulling from behind the scenes to give the audience a (hopefully) polished experience. It’s a great challenge, and it’s frequently nerve-wracking, but it’s always worth it!
Who are your top 5 favourite improvisers and why?
All of the Glenda J collective, they’re just so darn impressive and seamless. I have also had the privilege of working with the cast behind Between Us during Fringe of 2019, as well as seeing several of their shows. They are masters of the art of improvising authentic emotions, something I have always wanted to get better at. On a more personal note, there are many people I miss improvising with, including my friend Rachel-Marie Weiss with whom I have had a lot of fun over the years.
What is your favourite warm up game?
I’ll be obvious and go for three things, such a simple game with great potential for creativity and laughs!
Favourite short form game?
Change! Always keeps you on your toes when you’re on stage. I love when things become unpredictable and fast-paced.
What are the three top tips anyone has ever taught you in improv?
– Trust the pianist
– In improv, the entire group shares in successes and failures. It is not a one person show
– Become comfortable with silence
In no more than 5 words, what advice would you give them?
Trust is the foundation.
What are some of your favourite new acts you have come across this year and why?
I really loved what some of my fellow Impronauts did with their show Cracked Mirror, I thought it was a great way of using the online medium to their advantage. Making it seem like a playful and interesting asset, rather than a block.
How would you describe your personal sort of improv?
-High energy. I have once been described as creating characters that are ‘highly motivated to do something they shouldn’t be doing’. I love subverting expectations and toying with stereotypes. It depends a lot on the genre of improv and the ensemble however, if my scene partner guides me in a different direction, I’m keen to flow with them and see what happens.
Describe each Cambridge Impronauts member in one word
There are a million of us so I’ll do 10 randomly
Emma Plowright: ambition
Eliz Avni: intellect
Sara Hazemi: talent
Dylan Perera: fastidiousness
Jack McMinn: positivity
Alex Walker: dedication
Persephone Emily: leadership
Sarah Nolan: thoughtfulness
Helen Dallas: kindness
Elise Hagan: impact