Church Street Library & Improbable Theatre present:
IMPRO FOR ELDERS & LIFEGAME – A Double Bill Performance
Funded by Arts Council England and Create Church Street
Church Street Library has proudly embarked on this fantastic adventure with award-winning Improbable Theatre. Impro For Elders is a free weekly drama group for older residents of the Church Street area. During ten weekly rehearsal sessions a well-assorted group of energetic and sharply witted ladies and gentlemen is working towards two public performances, created from scratch, based on the practice of Improvisation. It will be performed at our local theatre The Cockpit in a double bill with Improbable’s show Lifegame (details below).
In the very capable hands of Workshop Directors Andre Pink and Caroline Williams, the group is shaping their understanding of Improvisation, exploring some of the great pillars of this ancient practice, such as Space Awareness, Space Substance, Imagination, and Voice to name but a few. Going by what I have witnessed so far, they are certainly having a lot of fun! Paraphrasing Andre after his last session
‘the group is doing amazingly well! They are effortlessly playful, always willing to take risks, which is vital when improvising and moving together on stage’.
Some comments from the participants so far:
“As the rehearsals go on we are now more aware of where we’re heading.”
“It has been a very inspiring experience getting to know people with such fascinating lives. Most especially to witness a sense of trust developing within the group. It feels we’re now able to communicate with our own eyes and body.”
“Overall, quite a powerful experience from meeting like-minded people to the various drama games which make me conscious of what I’m doing and perhaps my own identity.”
Considering only a few of the group have had some drama experience in their lives, whilst a couple of others performed as professional musicians, they are quickly learning how to use voice and movement to act out autobiographical stories, thoughts and ideas, whether sharing their own or conveying the ones of their fellow performers.
Lucy Foster, Improbable Participation Director and Impro For Elders’ co-project manager, defines improvisation as a tool for social change:
“It is a deeply democratic art form that fosters a sense of community and empowerment amongst its participants and audiences alike and, in an age of increasing digital complexity, is determinedly live.”
Through the initial stage of recruiting performers, Improbable has promised ‘the sessions will above all be fun with lots of theatre games and lots of laughing’ – well I can wholeheartedly confirm this has been fulfilled beyond every possible expectation! There is a lot of sparkle in the room and I trust the trailer will prove that.
(Filming by Debora Gambera and Susie Italiano, video editing by Lucy Foster)
Find out more and book tickets to one of the performances by visiting the Church Street Library events page.
IMPRO FOR ELDERS: The wisdom of making it up as you go along.
LIFEGAME: Part chat show, part impro show.
Lifegame has been performed around the world since 1998. A different guest every show, a different show every night. In this special version of Lifegame, a member of the Impro For Elders group (also a resident of the Church Street area) will be the guest. What are the stories that only a Church Street local could tell? Join us to find out!
Lead by Artistic Directors Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson, Improbable is a theatre company that defies categorization. It presents shows on every scale from sumptuous productions in the great opera houses to tiny improvisation gigs in the tiniest venues; it is at the forefront of arts activism through Open Space and creates groundbreaking participation work. At the heart of its practice is improvisation. Following the Eldership Project at The Southbank Centre in 2014, Improbable continues to explore improvising with older performers. In March 2017 a new show Lost Without Words at the National Theatre works with a company of older professional actors to teach them how to improvise.