Monthly Archives: April 2018

MidlandsImprov.com: GIG GUIDE: MAY 2018

16 shows this month across the Midlands, covering  BirminghamCoventry

NottinghamLeicester & Northampton.

Piotr-Mirowski-AI-Improv cut down

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BIRMINGHAM

WEDS 2ND – CHERRY REDS

Freewheelers:  Come and enjoy another packed show of experimental improv from the Midlands and beyond.  This month features Stealing The Show and The Clones.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Freewheelersimprov/

FRI 4TH – ROSIES

Jumprov:  Come and enjoy another packed show of improv from the UK’s first BAME group.  Part of “That Friday Feeling”.

https://www.facebook.com/Jumprov/

THURS 10TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will amuse and delight along with stand up comedian Matt Cullane.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

WEDS 16TH – THE VICTORIA

The Kneejerks: A night of comedy and theatre, featuring sketches and scenes and all completely free.  

https://www.facebook.com/thekneejerksUK/

MON 21ST – BLUE ORANGE THEATRE

Box Of Frogs: Monthly show in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter where audience members can join performers on stage.

https://blueorangetheatre.co.uk/project/toadally-free-comedy/

THURS 24TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will amuse and delight along with stand up comedian Sham Zaman.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

SUN 27TH – THE GLEE CLUB

Box Of Frogs:  Birmingham’s premier improv group appear at Birmingham’s best comedy club.

https://www.facebook.com/BoxofFrogsImpro/

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COVENTRY

FRI 11TH – ESQUIRES COFFEE

Coventry Improv:  A free family friendly evening of improvised sketches and games.

https://www.facebook.com/Coventry-Improv-1572680139447632/

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NOTTINGHAM

THURS 10TH – THE MALT CROSS

Gorilla Burger:  Theatre karaoke where you can be the star.  Or you can just sit back and enjoy an evening of unplanned, uncensored improv comedy.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

SAT 19TH – THE ANGEL MICROBREWERY

The Vortex: An all-female team takes to the stage with no scripts & nothing pre-planned.  With support from female duo Squidheart.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

MON 21ST – BUNKERS HILL

NICE JAM:  The Nottingham Improv Comedy Experience host a night of fun and games, including a chance for audience members to perform.

https://www.facebook.com/improvnottingham/

WEDS 30TH – THE ANGEL MICROBREWERY

Smash Night: Multiple acts spontaneously turn suggestions into scenes and stories bound to be breath-taking and bloody hilarious.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

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LEICESTER

THURS 3RD – PHOENIX

Human Machine AI improv: Human and machine share the stage for a unique improvised comedy performance, followed by a talk by creator Piotr Mirowski.

https://www.facebook.com/events/973194822854850/

SAT 5TH – CRITERION FREE HOUSE

The Same Faces: Brilliant comedy sketches live on stage, in the style of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”.  Special party to celebrate the group’s 5th birthday.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

MON 16TH – UPSTAIRS AT THE WESTERN

The Same Faces: “Uncle Armando” show where the group perform scenes inspired by comedian Harriet Dyer.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

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NORTHAMPTON

FRI 25TH – THE BLACK PRINCE 

The Same Faces:  Monthly Northampton show, taking ideas from you to make brilliant comedy sketches live on stage.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

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Have I missed a show?  Get in touch and let me know.

facebook.com/midlandsimprov/                                    @MidlandsImprov

Women and Theatre: Interning with Women & Theatre

Upon arriving on the doorstep of a cottage-styled building in January, I wondered what sort of encounters I would have in this seemingly quaint office. I had never worked anywhere other than my hometown, Hong Kong, and was only armed with the knowledge of what was on Women & Theatre’s website. Little did I know that I landed a 10 day internship in a powerhouse of community theatre.

I found this internship through my school’s, the University of Birmingham, Careers’ Network. I applied because I wanted to learn about the inner workings of an arts company in this country, being a Drama and English student. My duties at Women & Theatre were mainly administrative and research focused. I was able to research areas of Birmingham that the company has yet to work in, as well as possible grants the company could apply to for funding.

The two most exciting duties I had were sitting in on Word Lounge meetings and researching the Women of Longbridge  project. Being a fly on the wall and understanding how the company dealt with the logistics of creating an acting scheme for young people was incredibly refreshing and informative. I was impressed at how well the team would solve problems and present their ideas to partner organisations. This was an aspect of the industry that I had never seen before. For WoL, I was able to travel to different areas in Birmingham with the team and meet people who worked, lived or regularly met in the area to collect stories for the final product. It was an exciting experience as I had never been to these places and we would never know what to expect. Fortunately, we had mostly pleasant surprises, such as a story about the Peaky Blinders and a tea dance gathering where many elderly couples gathered, sure to be full of tales about the area.

My time at Women & Theatre was extremely valuable as a newcomer to the arts industry. It not only fulfilled my goals of understanding the nuts and bolts of a theatre company but taught me the values required to run one — an immense amount of resilience, genuine passion for projects and an open mind to work with a colourful variety of people.

 

Rachel Yu

April 2018

Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: Book Royalties

The publishers Bloomsbury have a series of tabs at the top of their website to steer visitors towards the category of book they are searching for: Fiction, Non-fiction, Academic, Children’s and Harry Potter. What an unbelievable cash cow that young wizard must be for everyone involved!

We’ve just received the first royalty cheque from our very own cash gerbil Devising Theatre With Stan’s Cafe. It may not have been a big cheque, but it was a good feeling to know the book is out there being bought and (hopefully) read.

Given that we are currently being undercut by our own publishers and assuming that for such books sales tail off rather than snowball, we have perhaps had the best of things financially; nevertheless we will continue to reap practical benefits as those eager students who regularly email us asking ‘how do you get your ideas?’ or ‘how do you devise your shows?’ can now be pointed to the book rather than having to be written more bespoke answers and pointed towards our magical Harry Potter Helpful Things tab.

Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: This

This – a new performance from Tate n Lyle on Vimeo.

One privilege I have is that people often invite me to art stuff and occasionally I able to attend. Yesterday at DanceXchange a duo called Timber and Battery shared a work they have in progress called This. Avid followers of this blog will know that I have reservations about the ‘WiP’ concept but this was fun and very much resembled a finished performance.

This is currently a 30-40 minutes long structured improvisation in which two performers explore the fabric and function of two fold-away tables. A time-lapse video (posted above) gives you some sense of what happens but also completely misrepresents the piece.

As audience members we are free to explore, to watch from a distance or come close and inspect how the mass produced objects have gained individuality through use. The performers help us study each table’s detail, the rivets, the hinges, the caps, coated metal and polymer. We have demonstrated to us each table’s geometry, it balance points, movements, squeaks and judders. We watch with concern as the material limits of each table are tested in ways the designers and manufacturers can never have imagined them being tested.

This stripped-down, performance style with its limited vocabulary of isolated words “this”, “that”, “here” is direct and engaging, bringing to mind the playful work of one of my performance heroes Gary Stevens. With the occasional lull I enjoyed This very much.

Afterwards there was a bit of a chat with the artist for which four of us audience stayed to contribute our observations. If This comes near you I’d urge you to see it and tell me what you think.

Graeme Rose's Blog: Engine Brake

The trailer for Engine Brake, a new piece I’m devising along with co-performer Radhika Aggarwal and director Simon Day under the moniker of The Plasticene Men.

The show opens at the New Diorama Theatre, London, 8th – 12th May 2018.

Further dates; Salisbury Playhouse ( 17th-19th May), Plymouth Fringe Festival, Theatre Royal tbc. (28th May – 1st June) and The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol (6th – 9th June).

Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: A Capital Image

As much as we’d love to think of our shows exclusively as works of art they are also inescapably products. These products need to be sold, to sell them they must be described and describing them can be difficult, especially when the shows have yet to be made.

We recently faced this challenge describing our new show THE CAPITAL. Tickets have just gone on sale for premiere performances at The REP in October so back in March and early April we were focused on describing the show for prospective audiences using just 150 words and an image.

With an unmade show this process of description becomes a part of its making. Our responses to different drafts of text and image teach us what we want do and don’t want this embryonic show to become.

In the first of a three part series about ‘marketing as making’ Simon Ford gives us a generous insight into the steps and missteps, cul-de-sacs and leaps of inspiration that took him from Graeme Braidwood’s photo of Amy to an image that we are happy describes an aspect of THE CAPITAL as we wish it to be. To read his ‘entertaining and informative essay’, follow this link.

You can see what The REP made of our text and image by following this link to their website.

Graeme Rose's Blog: Listen …. Again!

After an early morning interview with presenter Alex Lester on the WM Breakfast Show, I appeared on Caroline Martin’s lunchtime show (BBC Radio WM, 3/4/2018) talking to her about the mysterious unsolved murder of Fred Jeffs and my community project with the Birmingham Rep Furnace programme.

The broadcast is available for ‘Listen Again’ until 29th April 2018. (Restrictions apply for International listeners)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0616hn4

MidlandsImprov.com: GIG GUIDE: APRIL 2018

21 shows this month across the Midlands, covering  BirminghamCoventry

NottinghamLeicester & Northampton.

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BIRMINGHAM

TUES 3RD – PATRICK KAVANAGH

The Documentary:  Showcase from the latest graduates of the Fat Penguin improv course.  A chance to see Birmingham’s newest comedy performers for the first time.

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

SUN 8TH – THE GLEE CLUB

Box Of Frogs: High energy comedy sketches from Birmingham’s premier improv troupe.  Part of “Rough Works” night.

https://www.facebook.com/BoxofFrogsImpro/

WEDS 11TH – OLD JOINT STOCK 

LoveHard:  “Tales from the Elsewhere” provides a mix of scripted and improvised humour from this comedy double act.  

https://www.facebook.com/lovehardcomedy

THURS 12TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will amuse and delight along with stand up comedian Karl Adams.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

THURS 12TH/FRI 13TH – THE GLEE CLUB

The Noise Next Door:  Ten time sell-out veterans of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a showcase of lightning-quick wit and totally original comedic talents. 

http://thenoisenextdoor.co.uk/

FRI 13TH/SAT 14TH – AE HARRIS

What The Dickens:  The World of Charles Dickens has never been more interactive and inviting than in this fast-moving, comedy romp.  

https://www.facebook.com/foghornunscripted/

MON 16TH – BLUE ORANGE THEATRE

Box Of Frogs: Monthly show in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter with all your favourite improv games.  Absolutely free – ‘laugh, or your money back!’

https://www.facebook.com/BoxofFrogsImpro/

WEDS 18TH – CHERRY REDS

Freewheelers:  Come and enjoy another packed show of experimental improv form the Midlands and beyond.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Freewheelersimprov/

WEDS 18TH – THE VICTORIA

The Kneejerks: A night of comedy and theatre, featuring sketches and scenes and all completely free.  

https://www.facebook.com/thekneejerksUK/

THURS 19TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will amuse and delight along with stand up comedian Liam Jeavons.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

FRI 20TH – CAFE OIKOS

Box Of Frogs: One off show in Erdington featuring all of your favourite improv games.  Part of the “Cafe Arts” event.

https://www.facebook.com/BoxofFrogsImpro/

THURS 26TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will amuse and delight along with guest performer Av Singh.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

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COVENTRY

FRI 13TH – ESQUIRES COFFEE

Coventry Improv:  A free family friendly evening of improvised sketches and games.

https://www.facebook.com/Coventry-Improv-1572680139447632/

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NOTTINGHAM

THURS 12TH – THE MALT CROSS

Gorilla Burger:  Theatre karaoke where you can be the star.  Or you can just sit back and enjoy an evening of unplanned, uncensored improv comedy.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

MON 16TH – BUNKERS HILL

NICE JAM:  The Nottingham Improv Comedy Experience host a night of fun and games, including a chance for audience members to perform.

https://www.facebook.com/improvnottingham/

WEDS 25TH – THE ANGEL MICROBREWERY

Smash Night: Multiple acts spontaneously turn suggestions into scenes and stories bound to be breath-taking and bloody hilarious.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

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LEICESTER

SAT 7TH – CRITERION FREE HOUSE

The Same Faces: Brilliant comedy sketches live on stage, in the style of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”.  Special party to celebrate the group’s 5th birthday.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

MON 16TH – UPSTAIRS AT THE WESTERN

The Same Faces: “Uncle Armando” show where the group perform scenes inspired by comedian Troy Hawke.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

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NORTHAMPTON

FRI 27TH – THE BLACK PRINCE 

The Same Faces:  Monthly Northampton show, taking ideas from you to make brilliant comedy sketches live on stage.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

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Have I missed a show?  Get in touch and let me know.

facebook.com/midlandsimprov/                                    @MidlandsImprov