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Making it All Up this Summer! (Summer School)

Making it All Up this Summer! (Summer School)

IMPROBABLE ANNOUNCES FIRST EVER iii! SUMMER ACADEMY (an International Institute of Improvisation project)
A rare chance to study with two great improvisers and theatre-makers: specialists in the art of not knowing what is going to happen next…

Lee Simpson & Phelim McDermott, Improbable’s Artistic Directors, have been at the forefront of the unfolding story of improvisation since the mid-1980s, leading improv into new forms, widening its scope and taking it to places it wouldn’t otherwise have gone; everywhere from scrappy rooms above pubs to grand operatic stages. They have used improvisation to research and present topics mythic, scientific, biographic; historical, medical and spiritual. They have transformed what it is possible to put on the stage, what happens in the rehearsal room, and even how meetings happen, how companies and buildings are run. Over three weeks of workshops, practice and research, the iii! Summer Academy is an opportunity to come and learn everything Lee and Phelim know about the art of not knowing…

Who is it for?

The ‘iii’ summer academy is for anyone interested in developing their improvisational experience, and/or learning from and using Improbable’s practice, whatever the form of your work. You might be a performer, director, researcher, writer, improviser, manager, or other practitioner. The workshops will be a supportive environment in which we’ll attempt to be responsive to the individual and collective needs of the group, and where you are encouraged to be both courageous and vulnerable in the examination of your practice. You will be given strategies to notice, nurture and manifest the work you want to do. We will aim to create a culture of play and creative risk-taking.

Specifically, the iii summer academy might be of interest to:

Theatre makers and practitioners;
Actors interested in improvising, devising, or expanding / developing their practice;
Directors, designers, practitioners working in stage or screen;
Writers, especially those interested in devising, verbatim work and collaborative processes;
Performance practice researchers and performance theory academics;
Drama educators in schools, HE and FE organisations;
Facilitators and counsellors;
Skill seekers and professionals working in sectors beyond the arts;
Fans of Improbable’s work.

What will happen?

The ‘iii’ (International Institute of Impro-visation) Summer Academy is split into three week-long workshops. Each week explores a different area of improvisatory practice. It is designed as a complete curriculum for making remarkable theatre. Participants can book for the whole Academy, or individual weeks. The Academy concludes with a day-long open space session, available to everyone who has attended any of the workshops. It is presented in partnership with Theatre Arts at Middlesex University, who will host the academy on their London campus.

Week 1: Core Improvisation:

This week will unfold core principles and processes of Improbable’s improvisatory practice. It will look at improvisation for performance and key meta-skills such as listening, awareness and presence. It will cover improv basics but in Improbable ways, showing how, for example, improv might involve slowing down and feeling more, rather than speeding up and thinking fast and how to include and use everything that is present in the moment – emotions, worries, the weather – in yourself, in the room and in the world.

Week 2: A deep dive into the unknown:

This week addresses how the improv and performance skills explored in Week 1 can be used in conjunction with other theatre traditions, as well as other areas of practice and research, to create new forms, reach new depths as well as revolutionise the familiar.
Over its history, Improbable has brought set design, costume, puppetry, music, movement and personal testimony into the improvisational orbit. We’ve also taken improvisational practice into new writing, Shakespeare, different acting techniques, opera, and beyond theatre, out into the world for social activism. We’ve used improvisation as a methodology for exploring new areas of research be they scientific, choreographic or dramatic. In Week 2, Lee and Phelim will lead the group into an exploration of the unknown. They will look at the deeper beliefs and methodologies behind Improbable’s work, and show how they can be used in a tremendously diverse range of creative contexts. This is your chance to join two of the great theatrical experimenters, teaching how to try what has not yet been tried, or even yet imagined.

Week 3: Bringing it home:

How can improvisatory processes be used to generate and perform material for (not necessarily improvised) performance? How do you get from an understanding of improvisation, or from a set of research questions, to a show? The third week of the academy will look at how to go from theory to practice, and will look at Improbable’s ability to adapt and create hybrid techniques from both within and outside theatre, as well as originating their own processes. This will include work on devising techniques, creating and shaping narrative, Open Space as a rehearsal tool, Process Work and improvisation with a script.
The academy concludes with a one-day Open Space event for anyone who’s attended the workshops. It will be a chance to meet and spend time with other participants from the academy, reflect on the workshops, and look ahead to future questions, collaborations and next steps.
The iii! Summer Academy is for anyone interested in developing their improvisational experience, and/or learning from and using Improbable’s practice, whatever the form in which you work. You might be a performer, director, researcher, writer, improviser, manager, facilitator, teacher or none of the above.

Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson…

…are Artistic Directors of Improbable. Together, they have directed, devised, written and performed in Improbable’s multi award-winning productions, including: 70 Hill Lane, Lifegame, Animo, Coma, Spirit, Sticky, Cinderella, The Hanging Man, The Still, The Stars Are Out Tonight (with Amici), The Tempest, Still No Idea, The Paper Man, Theatre of Blood and Lost Without Words (both with National Theatre), Satyagraha, Akhnaten, The Perfect American and, most recently, Tao of Glass.

The iii! Summer Academy VENUE
Middlesex University, The Burroughs, Hendon, London NW4 4BT

£1,250 for the full course. You can also book for a single week, Monday -Friday, at £500. There is no VAT on the workshop places.

20 places per week.

by application only
Email with a short (approx. 200 words) explanation on why you would like to attend, which week(s), and what you hope to get out of it. Please also attach a biography, CV and/ or a link to examples of your work. You’ll be notified within 10 days if successful and, if so, will be sent a booking link to confirm your place. Payment may be made in instalments.

Bursery Places
There are three supported places available for each week of the academy. These places are free and come with a stipend of £250 towards expenses. These places are available to:
People who would not be able to afford a full-price place.
People of colour, people who identify as D/deaf or disabled, and people who identify as trans*/non-binary.

Note: People with these protected characteristics are historically under-represented in improvisation, and offering bursaries to these people is one way of helping to redress the balance.

Bursary Applications to: with around 100 words on why you would like a bursary place. Deadline for bursary applications is 11pm on Sunday, 5th April.

The iii! Summer Academy is presented in partnership with Theatre Arts at Middlesex University. Access Information:

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