Friday, May 30, 2008

Improv becoming big in Britain

The Guardian has an article, titled "Spontaneous compulsion," about how improvised theater is the up-and-coming thing in British theater.

One interesting quote of local interest:

In my theatre company Cartoon de Salvo's new show, Hard Hearted Hannah and Other Stories, we improvise a new play every night. To learn how, we travelled last summer to San Francisco, the world capital of "long-form impro" ("short-form" refers to jokes and sketches). In North America, where improvised theatre first developed from social work exercises with disadvantaged children, it is a minor but flourishing activity. Companies like True Fiction Magazine, 3 for All [my emphasis] and Chicago's TJ & Dave perform off-the-cuff dramas, tragedies and farces to sizeable crowds. As Tim Orr, a terrific improviser from 3 for All, [my emphasis] says, "More and more actors are saying, 'That impro stuff looks good.'"

The article also links to a blog entry by Brian Logan headed "
Making it up as you go along is a victory in itself."

[UPDATE: Here are some more links regarding Cartoon de Salvo and "Hard Hearted Hannah and Other Stories":
Cartoon de Salvo's website; the show's info at the website for The Lyric Hammersmith; Brian Logan's blog at The Guardian; review; Telegraph review; Guardian review; The Times review; and Time Out London review]


James said...

Hi Billy,

I am the manager of Cartoon De Salvo - it is interesting that Long form in the UK is very underdeveloped, we are not the only ones doing it but seem to be (at the moment) the ones with the biggest profiles (currently have a four week run at one of london's top theatre's for new work, Lyric Hammersmith.

The company came over to San Fan to learn the basics (I think at BATS, but i might be wrong) and were inspired by the opportunity long form gave. We have been reviewed reasonably favourably by the national press - if you are interested in long form's perseption in the UK they are a good read:

under posted items.

Kind regards
James Turnbull

BGreen said...

Thanks for the information, James. I've added more links to my posting.