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In London’s (Off) West End 2019: Surviving the lockdown through Improv, Hoopla Improv Festival Takes to Zoom

Screenshot 2019-03-30 at 4.14.20 PM

LONDON – It’s often said that laughter is the best medicine and, Hoopla, the UK’s first improv theatre, are injecting comedy into the current crisis with online improv classes for those on lockdown.

Following the cancellation of their normal workshops and the delay to their annual improv festival, the company have created online drop-in sessions, bringing improvisation to one’s living room-turned-home-office. Packed with 100s of improv games from their regular courses, as well as interactive scenes, the focus is on having fun and letting yourself go in this troubled time – surviving lockdown through improv.

Hoopla was founded with the idea of bringing people together through improv and, at a time of social distancing, it’s more important than ever to maintain interaction and stay connected for your mental health. A real confidence-boosting experience, Hoopla aims to stretch your mind as well as your perspective.

Improv classes are one of the fastest growing hobbies sweeping the UK. Starting as a weekly workshop above a pub in Balham, Hoopla are now the UK’s biggest improv school and usually run multiple courses every night of the week in venues across Central London as well as regularly running corporate workshops to clients including Google, Facebook, and Accenture.

Steve Roe, Director of Hoopla, comments: “Entertainment before TV was communal, with music halls, dance halls and my Grandad on pub piano. I previously thought of video calls as just for super awkward job interviews, but with some experiments we found we could have loads of fun with it. People can play different characters, students can create costumes using whatever they have in their house, props can be gathered from the kitchen. It’s meant that people from around the world can join us. There are a lot of people sat at home with nobody to talk to, and improv is giving people the chance to come together (virtually) and play and have a laugh for a couple of hours. We are even going to have a virtual songs around the piano night like my Grandad.”

This is also happening across the wider improv UK scene, with The Maydays and The Nursery also working together to provide online classes. Liz Peters, of The Nursery and The Maydays, added: “We are improvisers. We adapt and grow and fail and learn and build. And we spread joy. So this is just one way we will ‘Yes and’ this situation. As the world begins to isolate, the need for human connection is greater than ever!”

“They’re calling it ‘social distancing’ right now. Let’s change that terminology to ‘physical distancing’. We are and always will be social animals; connection is part of our survival and last night proved that it is still very possible and still very fun. So come and join the ride.”

Improv workshops will be conducted online via Zoom from 25th March to 2nd May 2020. All details for login for Zoom will be emailed to participants on the day of the workshop. For more information, visit their website here

 

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