Middlesbrough comedians are hosting free events in the centre of Boro. Say Something improvised comedy is a group of comedians hosting regular events around Teesside and the North East. The main concept behind the shows is that everyone feels welcomed and included.
Because improv comedy is fuelled by audience suggestions, the show is a collaboration between the audience and performers, and the group tells the audience this at the start of every show. This form of interactivity means that heckling isn’t a feature of improv. Instead, the audience has lots of opportunities to get involved by volunteering to join in with scenes, acting as a judge in games, or writing down or shouting out the suggestions they want to see!
The idea for the show came from the founder and director, Stuart Young. He has been performing and teaching Improv comedy on and off for 15 years. He got a taste for it at the University of York, where he was one of the original members of their improv comedy troupe, The Shambles. Before this, he was in Prague, directing the group Script for Brains.
About a year ago, he moved to Middlesbrough for work, but couldn’t find any opportunities to do improv closer than Newcastle. So he decided to start a new group for Teesside!
Besides performing improvised comedy, the group also offers opportunities to learn. Stuart said:
“One of the great things about improv is that I believe anyone can learn to do it; it doesn’t matter if you think you’re funny and confident, or not. If they’re willing to give something new a try, a supportive group and tutor can bring performance skills out of people they didn’t ever imagine they had.
“I wanted to set up a company here in Teesside that had lots of opportunities for people in the area to join in. That’s as important as the shows, for me.”
The inspiration came from other comedy shows. Stuart said:
“If you’re not sure what improvised comedy is, think of the TV show Whose Line is it Anyway; sketches, jokes and songs made up on the spot by the performers. The format of the improv games we play is practised in advance, but everything on the night is never-seen-before one-night-only material.”
Who is the Say Something Improv audience?
The improv audience is anyone ready for some fun, friendly entertainment, from age 12 upwards. Stuart said:
”We do pride ourselves on always being able to do a clean show if there are kids in the audience. The great thing about improv is it’s improvised, so you can adapt to the kind of humour the audience is in the mood for – whether that’s clever wordplay, slapstick, emotional story telling or a little naughty innuendo.”
The shows are every third Friday
- Friday 17 Feb 2023
- Friday 17 Mar 2023
- Friday 21 April 2023
- Friday 19 May 2023
- Friday 16 June 2023
Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 7.30pm at Café Etch, Middlesbrough You can find more about the shows and their six week course here.