Retreat ’15 diaries: Lloydie

Support – a blog by Lloydie James Lloyd


When you are really, REALLY supported you can do almost anything.

There are studies that show children that have a mentor cheering them on do better at school.  There are programmes that get incredible results in criminal rehabilitation where the offender is assigned someone who gives them unconditional support in their positive endevours and never gives up on them.  People with a good support network tend to do better in life.  We know this, and yet we still need to be reminded.

In an age where people look at screens more than they look each other in the eye, we sometimes feel more lonely than we do connected.  Improv bucks that trend and gives us both a life skill and a tool for great on stage performance.

This year’s Maydays Improv Retreat was a chance to live that to the max.  Not only did we improvise together, but also we spent five days together talking, eating, drinking, comparing notes and, importantly, supporting each other.

I enjoyed the moments of discovery in teaching and performance.  They were made all the more exciting by the supportive atmosphere that everyone brings to the retreat.  Unlike a regular improv class, you really do feel like you can let go, take a risk, be silly and if it doesn’t work out – who cares?  We’re going to applaud the hell out of you anyway, we’re all going to learn and we’re all going to move on to the next thing… and the next thing…

There are chances to learn, chances to think and chances to shine.  Above all, though, we have the chance to support our fellow improvisers and also to feel supported.  When we remove fear and self-doubt I believe we tend to do our best work.  When we get to do our best work, we believe in ourselves more and go on to do even greater things.

For me, that is the most powerful thing that happens in the Dorset countryside every September.  No matter what “level” of improv you are supposedly at, everyone is cheered on and everyone does great, inspiring work.  There are few things more life affirming and special than that level of support.