Dave and Orla do Improv in Bratislava and Vienna

Many a MissImper will talk of performing in London; a few even tell of training in the USA. However, it is rare for one to speak of improvising in Slovakia.

And so it was that Orla and I found ourselves below ground in an office block in Bratislava.

Dave and Orla’s Slovakian Adventure

We comprised two of twelve people in the room, encompassing nine nationalities – an impressively international crowd. The session was led by Hon, who has been running Funnylicious there since its inception in 2014. His teaching style is gentle, but with a focus on developing the basic skills and on ensuring the essence of an exercise is fulfilled.

The three Slovaks in the room each had multiple years of experience, and it showed; their basic skills were well refined, and it was extremely easy to start working with them. This skills development was evident throughout the relevant experience levels of attendees.

The session’s focus was on listening, a skill all improvisers can and should maximise. It felt a little nearer to training than a MissImp drop-in, though it remained relaxed and enjoyable. Indeed, it was noticeable how easy it was to integrate with the group.

Bratislavan circle competence
Bratislavan circle competence

There were many circle exercises, including various forms of Cross Circle. Arguably, these were completed more effectively than on a Thursday in Nottingham. Indeed, Orla felt the session was noticeably harder than she is used to – I venture partly due to this group reaching the tougher variants.

Every word matters
Every word matters

In the second half, we played Word at a Time Scene. This was not easy to start with, being a variation on Word at a Time Story that we play in Nottingham. It was, though, a good way of making people listen to and connect with their scene partner.

Bratislava is a charming city, and it was lovely to spend some time there. The improv scene is small, with one group that typically gets single figures each week. However, they do perform occasionally, and there is real talent in the group. I hope they manage to expand their reach.

The lovely Funnylicious
The lovely Funnylicious

Dave and Orla’s Austrian Adventure

A little upstream from Bratislava is the first of the Danube’s four capital cities: Vienna. Austria’s capital is highly reputed, and upon visiting it is clear why. It is simply delightful and feels pleasant throughout, with grand buildings, wide streets, and much greenness.

The improv scene in Vienna is surprisingly large. In our time there we decided against attending three different drop-in sessions in German, and one show in English. We did, however, attend a three hour workshop with the English Improv Community in Vienna. It was run by Hanni – a lovely lady I liaised with in advance and who shared much information about the available improv.

Orla, Hanni and Dave
Orla, Hanni and Dave

This community is a little more than six months old, and so they are still feeling their way and working out how to organise themselves. They are, however, having success with attracting people, with sessions typically overbooked, and the group’s skills are clearly developing.

The workshop itself was a different flavour to what we are used to. It was based on storytelling, and involved each person picking a typical fairy tale character and staying in it for over an hour. Those characters interacted a lot, particularly in the “speed dating” style exercise, meeting each other in turn. It was interesting to explore a role for so long, and hopefully useful for establishing future characters’ motivations.

The second half started with a monologue exercise in small groups. One would tell a story, while the others could request more “Details!”, “Emotion!” or “Action!” as needed. It is challenging to create a tale while being buffeted like that, but it certainly helped with ensuring those three elements were maximised.

Orla, now in German
Orla, now in German

What followed was our special request and the pièce de résistance: Orla performing in German! The Typewriter setup was used, with two narrators and three players. Orla made it look remarkably easy, and so far as I could tell it was a successful scene. Somewhat more confusing was the English Typewriter I was involved in; my scene partner and I kept having our roles, relationship, characters and genders changed. This stretched our abilities to justify!

This was a lovely afternoon with an extremely friendly group, and the alternative format gave much food for thought. Over drinks afterwards, it became clear that they are actively plotting future developments. They have more people wanting to attend than they have capacity for; a fine problem to have, but one that demands serious thought! I hope over the coming months they are successful in managing the group’s growth.

The English Improv Community (in Vienna)
The English Improv Community (in Vienna)

It was definitely valuable to experience improv in Slovakia and Austria, both for the sessions’ content and to appreciate more of the improv world. I intend to scout workshop options on future foreign trips, and I encourage you to do likewise!

Improv Drop-In: Thursday 20 June 2019

This week we’re going to spend some time looking after ourselves. Often we worry so much about supporting our partner on stage that we forget to take some time to enjoy ourselves and have our own deal. This workshop will give you the chance to make some more “selfish” choices on stage whilst also allowing you to see that they’re also good for your scene partner too!

Lots of these exercises I have stolen directly from the workshop I took with Katy Schutte last weekend so naming dropping Katy is 100% important!

Gorilla Burger – Improvised Comedy Carnage – Thursday 13 June 2019

Gorilla Burger – Low Tech Mayhem!


LET’S GO! It’s time for our monthly bout of joy – slinging names and games in and out of the hat to produce a super-low key, maximum-fun jam show! BIG NOTE: we’re still at Broadway Cinema this week!
This month, Nick will be drawing names and calling games, leading players into our new long-form sections as well as the jam. Alongside the usual names and games being drawn from a hat, in each half there will also be a seven-person, ten minute longform slot. If you’re in a longform slot, you’re not in the hat of names and vice versa for that half – more playtime for everyone! Sign up for the longform teams will be first come, first served, right at the start before the show begins – so make sure you’re there early enough…
New to all this? Ace. If you fancy having a go, we’ll pop your name in a hat with some other fabulous folk. When we draw your name it will be time to shine! We’ll pop you in a game or a scene with some of those aforementioned fabulous folk, and comedy will ensue, honest! Of course, you don’t have to perform! You can remain happily anonymous in the audience, settle back with a pint, and enjoy the show.

Broadway Cinema | 14-18 Broad St | Nottingham | NG1 3AL
7.30pm | £5 / £3 concessions

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Improv Drop-In: Thursday 6 June 2019

BIG NOTE: we’re at Broadway Cinema throughout May & June!

This week’s drop-in: Embracing the Silly 

Brought to you by Guy.

In life, as well as in improv, its all too easy to take ourselves too seriously; I know I do. This drop-in is about learning how stop taking ourselves so seriously, embracing the silly, and having fun. It’s a lot easier to be spontaneous when we are less self-conscious. Expect defiantly daft warm up games, exercises that stretch your studied self-consciousness to breaking point and scenes that empower you to step outside yourself.

Broadway Cinema | 14-18 Broad St | Nottingham | NG1 3AL (we’re downstairs, but don’t worry, someone will be lurking in the foyer to collect folks)
7.30pm | £5 / £3 concessions

Improv Drop-In: Thursday 30 May 2019

BIG NOTE: we’re at Broadway Cinema throughout May & June!

This week’s drop-in: Short, Medium, Long 

Brought to you by Emily.

This workshop is all about scenes, scenes, scenes. We’ll be mixing it up by doing scenes that are super short, kinda normal length, and then a bit longer than we normally do! Your only limit will be the clock.

Broadway Cinema | 14-18 Broad St | Nottingham | NG1 3AL (we’re downstairs, but don’t worry, someone will be lurking in the foyer to collect folks)
7.30pm | £5 / £3 concessions

No Improv Drop-In: Thursday 23 May 2019

Sorry folks, there’s no improv drop-in this week.

(longer explanation: we’ve had the opportunity to do workshops with the great Mike McShane, which have now sold out. Sorry!)
If you do need some improv action on Thursday, get yourself down to the Canalhouse for Pint of Science’s Creative Reactions closing night, featuring The Vox Pops:
Vox Pops - Pint of Science
We’ll be back next week (30th May) with more immense funs. In the meantime… 

Improv Drop-In: Thursday 16 May 2019

BIG NOTE: we’re at Broadway Cinema throughout May & June!

This week’s drop-in: Standing, Sitting, Silliness 

Brought to you by Lee.

It’s time to break the rules! This week Lee will be (metaphorically) putting red noses on your faces and constraints on your behaviour. Expect to say less, and do more!
We will use some clown philosophy, a game of standing-sitting-leaning,  and a dose of mischief to explore the rules of the worlds we create. We’ll investigate how we follow, play with and break the rules to engage and involve the audience.

Broadway Cinema | 14-18 Broad St | Nottingham | NG1 3AL (we’re downstairs, but don’t worry, someone will be lurking in the foyer to collect folks)
7.30pm | £5 / £3 concessions

Gorilla Burger – Improvised Comedy Carnage – Thursday 8 May 2019

Gorilla Burger – Mayhem!


LET’S GO! It’s time for our monthly bout of joy – slinging names and games in and out of the hat to produce a super-low key, maximum-fun jam show! BIG NOTE: we’re at Broadway Cinema this week (for the Malt Cross still has a soggy bottom)!
This month, Marilyn will direct the action, leading players into our new long-form sections as well as the jam. Alongside the usual names and games being drawn from a hat, in each half there will also be a seven-person, ten minute longform slot. If you’re in a longform slot, you’re not in the hat of names and vice versa for that half – more playtime for everyone! Sign up for the longform teams will be first come, first served, right at the start before the show begins – so make sure you’re there early enough…
New to all this? Ace. If you fancy having a go, we’ll pop your name in a hat with some other fabulous folk. When we draw your name it will be time to shine! We’ll pop you in a game or a scene with some of those aforementioned fabulous folk, and comedy will ensue, honest! Of course, you don’t have to perform! You can remain happily anonymous in the audience, settle back with a pint, and enjoy the show.

Broadway Cinema | 14-18 Broad St | Nottingham | NG1 3AL
7.30pm | £5 / £3 concessions

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Find the Venue

Improv Drop-In: Thursday 2 May 2019

A great actor can play anyone in any situation, but you don’t often see people lining up around the block to see the most critically adored actors. You usually see people lining up to see the stars with genuine charisma like Al Pacino, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, George Clooney, Will Smith and Paris Hilton, who in every role are themselves and don’t often play different people, eg Al Pacino as the cop, Al Pacino as the lawyer. George Clooney as the suave father figure, Dwayne Johnson as the All-Star American Football player / Hero A / Hero B / Hero / C etc, Paris Hilton as the wise ol’ Librarian. They play themselves and people fall in love with the character of them. That’s what makes them a star.
This week you will be draw a certain character or characteristic from Elliott’s bag of characters, which you will use your charismatic improvisational skills to play throughout a series of 2-4 person open scenes. Don’t worry about trying to be Harrison Ford – it’s always you as Harrison Ford! Use yourself as inspiration for how you would play that character. Pay attention, because at the end of the drop-in we’ll sit down to guess who played what and those who successfully guess correctly will go in the hat at the end to win an amazing prize!