Wondering what the improv scene is like in Singapore? Improv in Singapore is young and growing rapidly, but there isn't a lot of information out there about what's possible - and we at The Improv Company get a lot of people asking us about the scene here. (Yay Google!)
So here's a rundown so you know how you can do improv things - whether it's watching, learning or just having some fun.
Follow the links to the best section for you if you are:
1. Completely New to Improv. You don't know what improv is, or you've read about it in a book or online article, or you've seen a couple of shows and want to try it out.
2. An Improv Rookie. You've finished some classes (e.g. our Improv 101 or 201 classes), maybe attended a couple of jams, and want to keep playing.
3. A Grizzled Veteran. You've done a few (or many) shows and are super confident. People look up to you and want to be you. You still love improvising.
4. An Ancient Elder. You've been improvising for what seems like forever and are a Yoda/ Gandalf/ non-dead Dumbledore improviser. Everyone here seems so young. Your life will have been a life well improvised.
COMPLETELY NEW TO IMPROV. You don't know what improv is, or you've read about it in a book or online article, or you've seen a couple of shows and want to try it out.
Welcome to improv! The best way to get introduced to improv is to watch some shows, read some articles, and try it out for yourself.
Watching: There's a Facebook page (Improv in Singapore) and a newsletter (Singapore Improv Listings) that list ongoing improv-related shows & events. Teams also tend to use Facebook for their marketing, so if you follow their Facebook pages you'll get updates when they're promoting their shows.
Reading: wondering if improv is for you? Here are a couple of our favourite articles:
1. Four Reason to Take an Improv Class (Rob Asghar)
2. Why Every Person Should Take an Improv Class (Patty Barrett)
3. How to Survive Your First Improv Class (Bacon!)
Classes: If you'd like to try improv for yourself, sign up for one of our reasonably frequent taster sessions, Improv for Everyone! It's 2 hours and just S$10, and you'll get a fun overview of what improvising is like. They happen every 1st & 3rd Saturday every month from 4-6pm at our studio at 62B South Bridge Road. :)
AN IMPROV ROOKIE. So you've finished Improv 101 and 201, and are eager to see what you can do with what you've learned. Awesome!
We run Improv Jams every 2nd Saturday and 4th Sunday of each month (and occasionally more). These are great places to come and practice what you've learned and to meet other eager improvisers.
You can try to Join an Existing Group, although they tend to be difficult to join. (It's nothing personal; it's just that groups tend to find an equilibrium and allowing new members can be upsetting to an improv group's delicate dynamic.) The best way to do this is to talk to (or call, or email, or message) the groups and ask if you can join them.
And, of course, you can (and should seriously consider) Starting Your Own Group. If you have a group of people you like playing with (e.g. your friends, or your classmates from Improv 201) or a strong, interesting concept, it'll be easy and fun! And we'd be happy to offer some help to get you started - just drop us a message. :)
Finally, when you're ready, sign up with us for Improv 301. Improv 101 and 201 are a great introduction to improv - put those skills to use with long-form improvisation.
A GRIZZLED VETERAN. You've been in the trenches. You've taken every class you could find, you've done shows in every space you could find, you've been in so many teams that every scene is both beautiful and terrible. Every conversation is fodder for your next scene. Even when you're in tears from your last breakup, you're thinking, "Now I can be convincingly sad." Your firstborn's first cries are accompanied by you miming tears of joy.
We'd suggest you Up Your Game. How? Design an experience for your audience. Maybe try a new way of using your skills that you've never tried before. Improve the aspects of your team that aren't improv-related - marketing, management, succession, among others - you can be the best improviser in the universe, but if you can't get an audience, it's only going to be interesting to you. Reach out to other teams and find new and interesting ways to work together.
AN ANCIENT ELDER. You've been improvising for decades and are a Yoda/ Gandalf/ non-dead Dumbledore of improv. Everyone here seems so young. So naïve. You wish you still had that innocence, yet you find that your years of experience let you enjoy improv in ways yet inaccessible to the padawans. You will move on to improv nirvana soon but yours will have been a life well lived - and improvised.
Before you pass on to a better world, Run a Workshop. Pass your hard-earned wisdom on to the young'uns - they will lap it up thirstily, as thirstily as you once did. Your teachings will leave an indelible mark on their malleable, oh-so-eager souls.
If you've somehow got some energy left, Build a Theatre. You know the value of a space that works well for improv, and how sad it can be to perform to a hostile space. Make a space that cherishes the players, that envelopes them with warm hugs of assurance and joy, and leave a legacy that will witness the births of countless beautiful improv scenes.
And with your dying breath, Organise a Festival. Bring the community together and watch the sparks fly and the chemistry chem. Let the last thing you see be a supergroup doing a perfect scene to mark the closing of the festival, and the exuberant community flowing on the stage to engage in a giant, sincere round of mutual back-slapping and assurances of future collaboration.