Improv workshops come in many different flavours and should be accessible to everyone regardless of skill level. Our very own Heather Urquhart, Improv drop-in expert takes us through some of the reasons you should come along…
Did you know The Maydays run 3 drop in classes a week, 2 in London and one in Brighton. Plus our monthly musical drop in. The Thursday night drop in class is the same one that has been running for 15 years and started the company in the first place. So what keeps our improv drop ins going?
1. You meet different people
Improv classes attract people from all walks of life. You’d be forgiven for thinking that improv comedy drop ins exclusively attract stand up comedians and actors. While we do have some in attendance many regular students include Teachers, Psychologists, Lawyers, Doctors, Public Speakers, Therapists, Charity workers to name a few. Here’s a survey I did of over 400 random improvisers from all over the world. With a drop in class, every time you come, it’s a different group of people.
2. People go for different reasons
As well as meeting people from all walks of life, improv workshops have differing appeal. People come to develop their improv skills but there’s also life skills like confidence, communication and creativity that brings people along. Some people use improv classes to overcome crippling shyness which might seem counter intuitive. What could be worse than making stuff up in front of a bunch of strangers? Recent research shows that stepping out of your comfort zone can be really good for overcoming anxieties and improv is 100% percent supportive and collaborative, a workshop is a safe place to do this. Of course, some just come for a laugh – see point 3!
3. You laugh
Improv can be serious but on the whole improv drop in classes tend to end in tears-streaming-down-the-face-stomach-holding-laughter. Laughter comes from the unexpected and when everything is made up that happens a lot. Laughter is good for your health and Robert Provine, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Maryland says that ‘When we laugh, we’re often communicating playful intent. So laughter has a bonding function within individuals in a group’ which is great news for a bunch of strangers who show up at an improv workshop.
4. You get better at Improv
Practising anything helps you get better at it, but how should you be practising? Taking a course or rehearsing regularly with a group are great for certain aspects of development like building trust and group mind. However practising improv consistently with different groups of people can be great for your skills as an individual. I’ve written about this before in my blog about how to get better at improvising
5. They are suitable for all levels
Drop ins are packed full of people who have come along for the first time ever that class through to regulars who have being coming along at the same time every week for 10 years. You don’t have to worry about signing up to the right class. Improv is also a great leveller. Scenes and games don’t work unless everyone is trying to make each other look good on stage and experience (or lack of) makes no difference that principle.
6. There is nothing to achieve
Unlike a course, a drop in class doesn’t have a set outcome – which is a different type of learning than that deeper, narrower furrow you tend to plough on a course.This is great for stretching your improv, making new connections and growing as a performer (if that’s your thing – otherwise just show up, play and learn nothing!)
7. Different teachers
The Maydays drop in is taught by a different member of the company or one of our trusty and experienced associates each time. We each have a lot of different experience under our belts and this brings with it different perspectives. With a drop in you can benefit from all our teachers without having to sign up to 8 weeks with each.
8. No commitment
For the busy and commitment phobic among us, this is perhaps the best reason to take a drop in above a course. You can be truly spontaneous and decide to drop in on the day – though we highly encourage booking as our classes cap at 16 and we’d hate to have to turn you away!