I’ve always enjoyed doing improv, or at least what I thought was improv. It may sound a little obtuse to some, but I had no idea that improv had theory behind it. Neither did I know that all my favourite comedic actors — Mike Meyers, Amy Poehler, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, and the likes — all have one thing in common: they all studied Chicago-style improvisational theatre.
So imagine my excitement when I discovered that a small community of Chicago-style improvisers exist in Brisbane! They call themselves Big Fork Theatre and they allow anyone with previous improv experience or training to join them every Tuesday night for practice. They prefer to call it a ‘jam’; kind of like how musicians jam but this is for improvisers. While it sounds like your average theatre playtime, I was surprised at how much I’ve learnt by attending. And it’s free!
Every week, one of the founders facilitates the exercises. They’ve all studied at Chicago’s famous improvisational comedy theatres — Second City and iO Theatre. This gives the jams a Chicago-style influence, and everyone who turns up reaps the benefits. Each week has a different focus, for example, finding comedy in a scene, physicality, entries and exits, group work, and more.
If you’re reading this and you’ve never dipped your foot into the improv pond, don’t be afraid to give it a go. Who knows? You might be the next Steve Carrell or Amy Poehler! Big Fork Theatre are starting their own improv training courses in August 2016.