Guest Blog – Ali Hannon
Look, I get it. Improv can seem scary. It sometimes appears to be the reserve of chronic and untreated extroverts, accomplished comedians, or in some cases, cis white men only. This simply isn’t the case. But I only know this because I’ve been improvising for so long now. I have to remind myself that after 10 years of farting about on a stage with various silly and varied folk, improv doesn’t always seem completely, well, accessible.
The process of taking off my act-like-a-grown-up suit and creating infinite strange and wonderful characters or making myself and innocent bystanders chuckle is now deeply woven into the very fabric of my being, and I can’t imagine a world without it. Improv offers a unique way to connect with other people and explore humour, joy and life in a safe and life-enhancing way. It’s something that is best done in the company of others, with whom you share an affirming connection and feel able to be your delightfully weird self.
I’ve long believed that improv is an excellent way of moving through difficult feeling, as well as exploring sides of yourself that don’t get to run the show very much. It is also a transformative way of teaching your inner critic (or saboteur, depending on your view) to pipe down once in a while. In improv, we invite in imperfection and celebrate mishaps as gifts. The funniest things are often the stuffs that go wrong.
Making Improv Accessible
For those who’ve never given it a go, however, I imagine entering a world with no script, no right or wrong, where failure is celebrated over-and-above acumen or confidence must seem pretty intimidating. That and some more non-queer improv spaces can feel pretty competitive and macho.
My practice over the years has been all about creating open, inclusive and safe spaces where collaboration and connection are prioritised above anything else. By offering courses in real life and online, I try to encourage improvisers, old and new, to allow their own unique style to develop over time. Not everyone who comes along is a show-off like me. Many of my improv buddies simply want to spend time with people they like, exercise their silly bone and laugh until they cry or wee a bit.
Maybe you’ve always fancied giving improv a go but have been worried you’re not extraverted enough. If that’s the case I cordially invite you to come and hang with me and my little improv family for a bit. Maybe you’ll see why it now seems like the most necessary thing in the world to the folks who’ve decide to throw caution to the wind and give it a try. We couldn’t be more delighted to welcome you in.
Online Improv Courses
Intermediate: 19 May – 7 July 2021 – Spaces Available!
Beginners: 10 May – 31 May 2021 – Spaces Available!