Lisa Lynn Month – INTERVIEW – Creativity, Inspiration and Supportive Audiences…

All this month we have a very special interview that you can read along to every Wednesday morning with non other then Lisa Lynn. An actress and improviser of many talents who is also a teacher as well and is part of many teams including Acaprov, Hell Yeah! The Show, The Southend 48 Hour Annual Improvathon, Not GCSE Drama, SHUFFLE and MusicBox. This month we sit down with Lisa to discuss everything from performing, travelling and the shows that she is a part of. Today we speak to Lisa to find out about all the different projects that she is involved in.

Hello Lisa how are you? How has 2023 been going for you so far?

Hi Holly! Well, thank you. Loved up; doing lots of teaching for Acaprov and Hoopla; and performing in as many shows as possible – mostly at The Green in Shoreditch, Hoopla, The Golden Goose Theatre and Festivals! Acting has sadly mostly eluded me this year so far, but I am focusing on what I CAN do (until Spielberg calls!) – the fact that improv is such a meritocracy is one of the things I love about it the most! 

I like that I am never short of ideas – on stage and off. It keeps life interesting and means that there are always ways that I can help people when they are stuck...”

Lisa Lynn

Tell us a little bit about you because you have your hands in so many different pockets so to speak!

‘Mad as a box of frogs’ is how my mum describes me! Most refer to me as ‘a character’, the word ‘Loud’ comes up alot too. If I had to describe myself in 3 words I’d say: passionate, maternal and honest. 

Currently I perform, teach, direct, produce, facilitate auditions and nanny part-time for a great friend. The dream is to perform full time, but while I wait, I like to get s**t done! I also like to help people, and to travel as much of the world as possible: so performing, directing and teaching improv is allowing me to live a very charmed life – one that I am super grateful for.

Huge shout out to Steve Roe and Hoopla for supporting me to go freelance by trusting me with classes at all levels, outreach workshops and corporate work as well. Shout out to Andrew Phoenix at The Green, my fabulous Acaprov family and all of my improv groups, students and friends – I am blessed with quite the tribe! Thank you to Phoenix Remix as well, what an honour it is to be featured this month.

What out of all these talents do you prefer and why?

Talents? Creativity I guess – I like that I am never short of ideas – on stage and off. It keeps life interesting and means that there are always ways that I can help people when they are stuck. In terms of my favourite thing to do of the things that I do, that would be performing – though I’m pleased my teaching, nannying and facilitating helps people. I believe everyone benefits from doing improv, so I am grateful for the opportunity to share it with so many people.

How did you get into improv?

I was doing ‘UKIP! The Musical’ at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 (on a break from Shaun of the Dead LIVE! Which I’d been touring for a year as Diane) when we did a cast trip to watch SHOWSTOPPER! My mind was blown! The idea that I could keep doing 6 shows a week, but that they would all be different, and I could play a variety of characters in a variety of scenes and songs, seemed like a dream come true – so that night I Googled ‘making up musicals on the spot’, found the term ‘musical improv’ and Googled ‘musical improv London’ to which nothing really came up. So I instead typed it into Facebook looking for local groups and found Multiverse were auditioning – the rest as they say is history!

What teams are you a part of?

Acaprov, Hell Yeah! The Show, The Southend 48 Hour Annual Improvathon, Not GCSE Drama, SHUFFLE and MusicBox (though I’m currently on sabbatical from MB).

What have been your favourite shows to date?

That I have been in? It is honestly hard to remember them all – the ones that feel best, I’ve found you’re in a flow state and can’t recall much after. That said, my favourite to date that I can remember has to be the 24 hour Southend Improvathon 2022: ‘Way out West’. Thanks to Lee Tearrell, Ali James and the cast I’ve really found Southend to be a home away from home. Plus I’ve always loved cowboy films, so to live in one for a day was super fun! 

I also really loved guesting in a two-prov with Emma Wessleus last year, an improvised musical – I want more Two-prov’ing in my future. 

Finally our last Acaprov show ‘Fon-do you love me?’ set ‘in a bar, with a sauna and fondu, in the Swiss alps’ it was great fun. We had 8 intertwining characters, an Olivier Award worthy ballad from Pascal Blaschta, stunning acting, banding, and improv work from everyone; and an equally award-winning sexy cheese pun duet from Jen O’Connor and Beth Organ – Brie-licious!

Who are your improv inspirations and why?

Chris Mead – He is a brave improviser who follows the fun, but also isn’t afraid of leaping blindly and committing 100%, even if there is no comedy to be found in that particular scene or show. I watched him completely wipe out his characters history and powers in this year’s 48 hour Southend improvathon, with instant amnesia – and I wanted to give a standing ovation for that epicly bold choice. I want to do more improvised theatre and Twoprov’s, so I’m very excited about taking to the stage with him to guest in ‘Duologues’ as soon as our calendars align. He’s also a great teacher and a truly lovely person – I really enjoyed his ‘Emotional Connection Course’ through Hoopla, and I like just hanging out with him – he’s so calm and graceful and unaware of his genius and deserved rock star status!

Monica Gaga – on and off stage an absolute powerhouse and best host bar none – she could give the energiser bunny a run for its money, she gets the audience hyped! On stage she’s bold, again follows the fun, and pulls as many faces as I do. I am absolutely honoured that she invited me into ‘Hell Yeah! The Show’, I have absolute imposter syndrome amongst that cast of absolute Queens. She also works with London teens, so we have lots in common, and despite being the busiest woman I know in improv (she’s changing the industry in terms of inclusion and representation), she still makes time to check in as a mate every time we meet.

Ali James – her talent is out of this world, she is 100% my musical improv crush and I just want to #BeMoreAli. She makes time for everyone, remembers everyone’s name, really listens to people on and off stage, promotes other peoples shows, guests, and is selfless to the point that she goes around the cast with a massage gun at 3am over 30 hours into a 48 hour improvathon show (that she organises and is directing – all for charity) just to check everyone is ok. She again is a fantastic teacher so I recommend any course she teaches on, especially the SHOWSTOPPER! Professionals course, for my fellow Musical Theatre Grads looking to get into improv.

Claudia Novati – A voice teacher and improviser, she’s another incredibly busy, delightful and hard-working woman who always makes those around her feel valued. The work that she is doing, both on stage and behind the scenes for improvisers with English as their second language, is phenomenal. Quite how she does that and still has time to teach and to smash so many shows I don’t know – but she should wear a cape! I love that she is in SHUFFLE and Not GCSE Drama and she often guests with Acaprov too, because she is an utter joy to improvise with.

Anthony Egan – Improv students regularly inspire me, but I’ve never known a student do so much additional watching, listening and reading. Yes, he is my partner, so he has the advantage of tagging along to international festivals I’m performing at – but he signs up to so many workshops and courses I lose track. Currently on Hoopla level 3, he is already signed up to level 4, is doing stand up alongside improv, has the FA courses in his sights, and has started his own improv group – purely for extra practice and show experience – yet is developing a frankly 5* long-form narrative format. They say you are who you hang around with – I need to find more hours in the day to keep up with him!

What is the way you wind down from a show?

Usually doing social media posts for my next show! My brain is going 100 mph post show, I’m hungry and I can’t sleep, so it’s one of my most productive times to do admin. I also like to postmortem my performance with my partner, and clip all the best bits from any footage we managed to grab from our incredibly generous and supportive audience members.

How do you warm up for a show?

I do a vocal warm up taught to me by my doctor – Brian – at the Royal Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital – he was a performer himself so he knows exactly what mic’d and un-mic’d voices need. I also get fresh fun warm ups to add in from my singing teacher Lara DeBelder (who used to be in Acaprov). I do a physical warm up taught to me by my Head of Dance in year 11 – Mrs Brown; and we always do a check in, usually a stretch and share with ‘Name, Pronouns, Anything we need to know, Anything that’s off the table’ banning things like touching bikini areas, unpracticed lifts, jumping on people etc. Over sexualising players and any punching down humour is off the table too, in any of my shows.

“…our last Acaprov show ‘Fon-do you love me?’ set ‘in a bar, with a sauna and fondu, in the Swiss alps’ it was great fun..”

Lisa Lynn

You have a lot of exciting things happening this year which we will discuss more in the coming weeks – what can you tease us for now?

Acaprov are doing the Brighton Fringe Saturday May 6th, Sunday May 7th and Bank Holiday Monday May 8th at The Walrus Basement 4pm. Hell Yeah! The Show are at the 96 Festival at the Omnibus Theatre in Clapham June 16th 9pm. Hopefully I’ll get to the Edinburgh Fringe this August, but we’re still waiting to hear. I’m teaching at the Improfestival Ålesund Norway in May and hopefully in Warsaw this June before travelling the USA from September to December, starting with a family holiday to Disneyland, then venturing off on something of an EAT, IMPROV, LOVE Tour!

If people want to follow you on social media – where can they?

 @lisalynnlive on all social media

In three words why do you love improv?

 Mindfulness. Freedom. Joy.

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