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Birmingham Improv Festival

The Blue Orange, 28th October 2017, 4:30pm £7/6 Cheer on our plucky heroes and help decide their fate as they struggle in their journey to find love and fortune, against adversity, poverty and wickedness. Join us in the sumptuous drawing rooms, murky streets and smoky taverns to meet filthy hags, absurd snobs and plucky ne’er-do-wells…

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The Virgin Diaries. ‘The Turning Point’

I am no longer a professional actor, in fact I never really was, I can probably count one hand the amount of acting jobs I have had that I have been paid a sensible amount for. But I love acting and have been involved in Theatre for over 25 years. (Gasp and reach for wine…

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“It’s just mucking about”

When I mention that I do improv – and I don’t mean mentioning it in an “I’m doing a juice-cleanse” sort of way, but just if anybody ever asks – their reaction is often “That’s something I’ve thought of trying”. I recommend that they give it a go, for a variety of reasons, but I…

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Bitter, twisted, jealous and totally hopeless

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.” Lao Tzu I’ve just been watching the 2016 French Open final. Andy Murray is the first British man to reach the final since 1937, an incredible achievement. Amongst his career highlights he can count winning two grand slams,…

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“How do you rehearse improv?”

  How do you rehearse improv? Why do you rehearse improv? Why do you bother rehearsing?   ARGHGHHGHGHGARHGHGHGHARGHGHHGHGHGARHGHGHGHARGHGHHGHGHGARHGHGHGHARGHGHHGHGHGARHGHGHGHARGHGHHGHGHGA Breathe. Breathe. Okay, now that I’ve stopped crying… A large part of rehearsing improv is trying things out, getting them wrong and then chatting about it as a group. In order to perform brilliantly on stage it’s important to…

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Who cares about the plot anyway?

While on a writing course recently, I got into a “lively discussion” with William Gallagher, the very accomplished writer running the session. You’d probably think I’d be stressing some of the finer points of writing for an audience, right? Actually no, it was because I’d likened the skills he was laying out for us as…

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ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE

In improv, one of the basic rules we’re told about entering a scene is to do it with a bold character. I have found that often that the bold, hilarious characters one creates during rehearsal / workshop can suddenly go out of the window in a performance, when the pressure of an audience can cause…

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The things I love and hate about Impro

“… that night, the little girl took her mother’s dressmaking scissors from the dresser drawer, and safely in her bedroom, hacked off her long, golden hair. The next morning, after feigning a horrid sickness, she dressed in her brother’s school uniform, climbed out of her bedroom window, and shinned down the drainpipe. Her Mum none…

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Will anybody come?

Programme it, and they will come. Perhaps not that many of them, but they will. It’s Edinburgh, my first trip there and I’m with a student sketch comedy troupe. There can’t be many more terrible and harrowing combinations of words than student sketch comedy troupe, and I’m sorry if reading that phrase has upset you. Student…

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Ten Top Tips for Edinburgh Fringe Accommodation

It’s the time of year when your facebook feed becomes filled with posts and moans about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. “I need a venue”, “I’ve only written one joke” and, my favourite, “Does, like, anyone, maybe, have somewhere I can live?” One of the biggest nightmares of the festival: finding somewhere to crash your tired…

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I’m giving up acting!

“I’m giving up acting!” This is something I have declared on more than one occasion. Many times. Many, MANY times in fact. All I ever wanted to be was be an actress. I didn’t want to be famous, I think that’s important to add. But… Being on stage… Wow! There really is no drug in…

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Am I Right, Guys?

I started doing stand-up comedy before I started doing improv. I first went into it thinking that successful improv came from being able to make jokes up on the spot, and I also thought it would help with my compèring skills. I certainly didn’t know that there were rules in improv – and I’m sure…

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We got a one star review. It still hurts.

It’s been 18 months since Foghorn got a one-star review of our show in Edinburgh. I would link to it but I can’t because it still hurts. I googled it, found it and, yes, it still hurts. A lot.   The reviewer’s name is Stuart Mckenzie  –  I know this because I thought about him every…

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That’s a Rap…

Since I was a little kid I’ve had a fascination with hidden camera telly shows, like Candid Camera or Beadle’s About, in which performers interacted with an unsuspecting public, often with hilarious and perhaps slightly depressing results. More recently, shows like Fonejacker and Ali G have evolved the format (in the case of Ali G, the…

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Too much damn acting!

I don’t like to see any acting. I’ve realised this has often been a deciding factor in whether I have enjoyed a piece of theatre. Once, when pushed to describe why I enjoyed an actor’s performance, I ended up saying “I believed they were the person they were pretending to be.” Hearing this simple statement…

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Improv goes viral! Or does it?

Social media and digital video content are a massive force in the entertainment industry right now. It’s so easy to be lying in bed, avoiding the adverts or (mostly for me) sat on the toilet and scrolling through clips. How many times have you seen the video of Beyonce dancing to the funky chicken song,…

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Just turn up and improvise – that’s all, right?!

Putting on an improv show – its just about turning up and performing. Isn’t it? Ah, if I had a pound for the number of times someone has said to me, “How do you rehearse improv?” But no, no, this isn’t about that old chestnut (no one asks a footballer – how do you rehearse…

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ISSUES! ISSUES! ISSUES!

When I say that I have an improv rehearsal, one standard reply is often, “how can you rehearse improv?” This has occasionally led to a discussion implying that what we do on stage isn’t made up. So, what do we do when we rehearse an improv show? The rehearsals vary according to what show we…

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What does ‘Improv’ mean to me?

I’m sixteen years old and we are standing in a circle. I think someone once passed a law demanding that when drama students are in a room together, they absolutely MUST stand in a circle. The teacher speaks the dreaded words: “we are going to do some improv”   Oh bugger!   I hate improv,…

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Panto makes you a better improviser (Oh yes it does!)

It’s December. The season of giving, family and cheaply spiced booze. For many hard working actors it is the season of pantomime; as I find myself this year. Those 6 weeks where we don itchy wigs, luminous tights and find glitter in crevices we never knew we had…. But secretly we love it. I know…

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How the Dickens do we do it?

I love working on our next show, What the Dickens? It requires us to create a load of Dickensian personas to populate the world we are improvising. Charles Dickens’ novels are fantastically rich in characters and it’s a lot of fun trying out some of the obvious ones (the innocent orphan, the evil elderly relative,…

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What’s in a name?

Last week Foghorn Improv became Foghorn Unscripted – but why? When we set up the improv group three years ago we needed a name – something that would have ‘Googleability’. I wanted to make sure that if you searched for us you unambiguously got us! We spent a long time playing with improv puns, but discovered quickly that no matter…

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Planting the seed

Last week, we did a show called It’s Tough At The Top: a corporate event as part of a conference at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Although I’ve been doing improv for around 5 years or so, this was a new format for me (and the group as a whole) to perform. As they arrived,…

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The beginning of a blog

We’ve be going for over three years and we thought it’s probably about time we started to note down some of the stuff that we’ve learnt! Welcome to: The Blog

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