Tuesday 17 December 2013

Radio Interview with Improbables

Improbables Tristan and Josh joined me at BBC Guernsey radio to talk about Improbables Guernsey and the next course starting on the 13th of January. We made some stuff up and taught Jim some basic improv rules using 'Yes, and....'

Thursday 28 November 2013


Book Now for the next course starting in January. Email improbablesguernsey@gmail.com


  1. When does the course start? Monday the 13th of January 7pm
  2. How long does it last? 10 weeks
  3. How much does it cost? £50
  4. What is Improvised Theatre? Have you ever seen 'Who's line is it anyway?' or 'Fast and Loose'  You'll be learning something like this ..... http://youtu.be/VGTRI2ja1ro 
  5. How does it work? For a breakdown of the course look in COURSES
  6. Is it just for actors? No it's for everybody. No experience necessary, we make it up! (In fact the world would be a better place if doing a course in improvisation was made compulsory, just saying)
  7. I'm not funny, is it just for comedians? Although we do have a load of fun and often the scenes end up being funny, the best improv tools are found without trying to be funny. That is where the real magic happens. So no there is no pressure to be funny.
  8. Will there be a performance at the end? Yes there is a performance at the end of the course, but if you don't want to perform no one is forced to. Some people just come along to the course to experience the incredible positivity that comes from learning improv.
Any other questions just ask. email improbablesguernsey@gmail.com

Saturday 23 November 2013

Contemplating the Next Course

With all the previous participants of Improbables courses chomping at the bit for more improv, I've hatched a crafty plan.

There will be two courses running on Monday nights. From 6 -7 pm I will be running a drop in class. This for those who have done the course and want to dust the cobwebs off their improv skills and stretch their improv abilities. (And I get to play along too!)

And from 7- 9:30 the full course for beginners/newbies.

Then at the end of the 10 week course I will run a 3 night run of improv so everyone can get a chance to play in front of an audience! 

This not only means there'll be enough improv for everybody but it helps solve my issue with rehearsal venue as I can pay one fee for the evening and utilise the venue fully for the evening so it makes it more cost effective. #gettingmythinkingbrainon

I have nearly finished the poster and flyer to advertise the new course with the final details so watch this space.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Enjoying the brain work.

As I'm reaching my 17th year of doing improv it has occurred to me that I may have a different perspective as an audience member watching improv to when I watched my first show at the now defunct Long Street Theatre.

I love playing improv. Performing it and practicing it whether there's an audience or not. I love acting and creating scripted/rehearsed theatre, but I am not as enthralled as I wish I was watching it. I thought it would be the same with improv but I am mesmerised by it and I think I know why.

When I'm teaching a course, I get to sit back and watch as the participants play out scenes and I love it. It's not just the surprise at watching untold and never before imagined stories take place. I find myself revelling in the micro expressions, the looks that give small glimpses into the working of the actors brain.

In scripted plays the actors armour, their artifice, is fully realised through rehearsals. As an audience we buy into the illusion and forget that they are actors and 'suspend our disbelief'. Improv is different. I'm not saying that when watching improv we don't suspend our disbelief or get lost in the story or believe in the characters, but there's another element to the magic. It's in these raw moments of improv that you can see both the artifice of the actor and their unique vulnerability collide. It's these little explosions that really catch me, that draw me in and keep me coming back for more.

In the early stages of the course when we're still getting around the concept of saying yes, there's a point where it hasn't quite sunk in and bam, suddenly you see actors catching themselves changing their nos into yeses. You see their mind backtracking, working it out, then moving forward in a split second. When an actor walks onto stage with a clear idea who they are (Pete's grandmother with a birthday chocolate cake) and before they can open their mouths the actor on stage shouts out 'Doctor! you're here' You can see the actor formally known as Pete's grandma suddenly let go their agenda and accept this new identity becoming the doctor. Hundreds of little moments like this pulsing through an evening teaching are what keep me coming back for more.

So I'm looking forward to some brain training and unleashing in January when I start a new full length course.


Friday 8 November 2013

New Course and ideas rumbling

Yes lets! A new Course will be starting in January.

(As usual finding a venue to rehearse and perform in Guernsey is proving to be illusive. There just isn't any small experimental amphitheatre space left in Guernsey. Why? On my wish list in my imaginary perfect life I'd have a little theatre/cinema/ rehearsal space that could run comedy/improv and more experimental theatre projects without having to fork out an arm and a leg in the big echo'y venues we currently have.)

But in the mean time for those looking to make a new years resolution with a bang, a clang and a 'hell yes lets!', then a new course will be starting in the second week of January. Monday nights. So book your place or book your 'friend' a place. Contact Sarah improbablesguernsey@gmail.com

Oh and don't forget we're on Facebook. Like our page facebook.com/ImprobablesGuernsey

Monday 20 May 2013

Endowments in Improv take two

The course continues tonight and I was just looking back at some of the things that people have said about courses in the past.

Gordon Craig Edinburgh (Animator and Amateur actor)

Sarah's experience and competency were apparent from the first session she held for us. After a series of well structured workshops she had trained us all from complete novices into confident performers who went on to put on several favourably reviewed shows under her captaincy. Her knowledge of the various games in the theatre sports repertoire seems to be boundless and the feedback she gives at the end of each game is fair and valuable. The skills which we learned through participating on Sarah's course have helped us not only on stage but also in life. You'll find that, when faced with a surprising scenario, following the simple rules of improv will provide you with the confidence and conversational skills necessary to cope.

Caroline Mathison Edinburgh (Actress and Drama practioner)
I was a bit apprehensive about going along to improv at first, as the idea of standing up in front of other people with no idea what you're going to do was daunting to say the least! However, Sarah's energy, enthusiasm and guidance made it a fun, friendly and very safe environment in which to play, take risks and learn new principles and skills.
As someone with a fair bit of previous performance experience and training, taking part in the improv group definitely helped me to be more open, spontaneous and vulnerable on stage, but it also boosted my general confidence to just 'go for' things in my everyday life.
All in all, improv made me a better all-round performer and a more confident individual - and gave me loads of laughs along the way!

And Jon Davey (Professional Photographer and writer)
 As someone who learnt Improv from Sarah in Edinburgh I can thoroughly recommend her courses. If you are in Guernsey and have interest in starting improv, or brushing up old skills, get along there!!

Tuesday 30 April 2013

First Night of the New Course

I'm always filled with trepidation before a new course, even after doing it for so long. There's always a moment of fear before hand. Will I be able to do it? Will they get it? What if there's no trust?

And then we start and it all starts falling gently into place. Last night was no exception. Some old faces and some new and some new old faces.

It never ceases to amaze me how with just a simple exercise of 'Yes, and' people start creating such amazing stories. I like to get them to do 'No, but' after they've spun a fantastic story with 'Yes, and' with only one of the pair saying 'no, but'. Usually after having to call stop after the 'Yes, and' while everyone runs away with their stories the 'No, but' exercise fizzles out as the stories just can't take off. Last night 'No, but' didn't fizzle out as quickly as usual. In fact one couple seemed to be getting in a duel with both getting more and more inventive with reasons not to agree. (Very entertaining to watch. I can't wait for the same two to get into a scene with the same enthusiasm for building a story)

I got to spend the night laughing out loud. Some excellent new talent joining the group with different expertise to add. I can't wait for next week when we explore narrative. So many stories that would never exist if that particular group of people hadn't come into contact.

More please.

Thursday 18 April 2013

New Course

Exciting news! The new course will start on Monday 29th of April. 7pm to 9:30pm. Places are already filling up so book now!
email Sarah

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Spreading the Improv addiction

The next full improv course is on its way and I can't wait! Teaching the full course is so fulfilling and getting to see those first steps into improv is definitely worth it.

I'm getting loads of interest and trying to work around peoples schedules so it can be a jam packed team that continues bringing improvised comedy to the masses.

I asked the last lot for some comments on how they felt the course went for them and they were not short of witty replies;

  • 'It’s great to play ‘lets pretend’ and still keep my clothes on.'
  • Unleash your inner gobbledygook! Fine-tune your powers of faking it!
  • You're an elephant with a limp in it's ear being interviewed about fruit dentistry! You're a paranoid pilot flying a chalk board across the Mississippi! You're about to sing a famous song about from the Middle Ages about modern technology! You're improvising!
And of course from Tristan,
'Unleash your creativity and imagination by joining Improbables Guernsey, our first course in the Autumn was thoroughly enjoyable, Wednesday nights became a highlight of the week, initially scary just making theatre up on the spot but the course gives a great insight into the techniques and templates of improvised drama and once you learn that anything goes and you must go with it you're in for a fantastic time! Having performed scripted drama for 20 years there was nothing more nerve wrecking than getting up in front of a packed audience and not having a clue what was going to come from our collective minds to amuse and entertain, such an adrenalin filled thrill and I cannot wait to do it again!'

So watch this space.

Saturday 2 March 2013

Improvising in Guernsey

After last years successful course I really wanted to keep the momentum and get another course going but it does feel like there's alot of interest but people are reluctant to commit to the full 10 weeks/session of a full course.

So I'm being a bit sneaky and getting the bug to bite another way. A one afternoon total Improv fun workshop. Saturday March the 9th. I've done one off's before but this time I want to really fit as much as I can in so people can't help but want to get involved.

I'm getting excited!

In the Beginning

SO short form improvisation has come to Guernsey! Short Form Improvisation, you say, what's that? The most succinct way most people describe it is, 'Have you seen Whose line is it anyway?' But I think that's not really true. Yes what they show on telly is the bare bones of short form with games and rules but it's played out by mainly stand-ups who try fit as many sound bits and gags into their two minute sketches as they can. Not an awful lot of working together to create a story.

So the improv form I know from playing it for over 17 years is about story and character led improvisation. That's not to say it's not completely hysterical most of the time but it is a different skill to the stand-up style on 'who's line'.

The first course in Guernsey ran last year with 8 people coming to the full length course over 10 sessions and a sold out performance at the end. I was so proud of the first brave improbables. I always get the fear when I run these things that they won't get it, that they'll suddenly stop creating as a team, forget to listen and things will fall apart. But they didn't, every single person on that stage rocked! I love it. I loved the stories and the characters but most of all I loved watching them get it!

And now they are hooked so I guess they can join me in my improv addiction. Because it is addictive for the players and the audience. This insane bubble of creativity that is made, just once, in that moment and never repeated.

It's been so long since my first time getting up and doing it in front an audience for the first time but even then I was fresh out of uni and filled with the naive invincibility of youth so I don't remember being that scared about it. But I do remember the addiction hit and the withdrawal when I went on a break travelling for two years and didn't get to play twice a week.

So the only way I'll get to be playing again now is to spread the contagion and teach some more people to play.

Play Play Play!