Acaprov will be performing twice at The Old Courts this October. We wanted to get to know them a little better before their visit! Have a read of the interview below and find out more about their upcoming events at the end. Why don't we start with you introducing yourselves?
Hi! We're an Improvised A Capella Musical Theatre Company based in London.
How did Acaprov come to exist?
Lee and Lisa (of London's split-narrative improvised musical : Multiverse) had a late night conversation in Edinburgh about the sound of voices in a capella harmony being 'the best sound in the world', and wondering if they could improvise whole musicals completely a capella. Lisa then applied for a Nursery Theatre Orginals grant and founded the group with Lee as Co-Director and Co-Producer in April 2018.
How long have you all been doing improv?
There are 20 of us, we have TopTrumps on Insta; but when we arrive in Wigan we'll have people with experience improvising from just one month to 10+ years! We train professional triple threats in improv, but we are also lucky enough to have improvisers from Hoopla, Monkey Toast, Second City, Free Association, The Oxford Imps, The Groundlings, and The Nursery
What is something you would say to someone who’s never had the pleasure of seeing an improvised musical or improv in general?
YOLO! Come and give it a go!
There's something very special about being there at the moment something is created on the spot, you either witness something truly amazing happen, or you're totally in on the in joke of it going very wrong in hilarious fashion! I don't think there's a more exciting improv show to watch, it's a white knuckle ride roller coaster, with a huge heart, and a seriously talented cast.
What advice would you give to those getting into improv?
DO IT. There's no other community as supportive as the improv community, it helps everyone improve, not only as performers but as people.
If you've already started our mantras are:
'You are enough' and 'dare to be lovely'
It's all about making each other look good (no ego) if we all do that, everyone comes off great and feels supported.
'Come on with nothing' is particularly important for our actors turned improvisers; as actors are trained to devise; but coming on with a whole show in your head can block your listening, so LET IT GO AND LISTEN then you discover magic together that's grounded in the truth and chemistry of the two spectacular real people on the stage. We are a relationship focused long form show.
Fondest memory from a show?
The first opening number we ever attempted, it was set in a B&Q Warehouse, and Lee and I were like 'Holy s**t, it actually works!'. It started with a soundscape of shoppers and power tools, with a hammer clinking metal all the way through, keeping time, that last clink of the hammer after the final chord was ruddy triumphant!!!
Can you answer the age - old question - How to sell a show that is improvised?
Reviews help, though we haven't had any for this show yet, we'll be inviting them to Wigan! When we flyer, we say 'improvised a capella musical' and the person listening will remember whichever of those 3 words they're interested in: Improvisers come to see us because they know how difficult it is to do it a capella; a capella fans come to see if we can in fact improvise whole songs; and musical theater fans come to watch a touching and uplifting musical!
Word of mouth is your best friend in the industry. We do a lot of international festivals, and that really helps us gain fans and build buzz.
What’s your views on the improv scene and is there differences up and down the country?
Despite several of our players, and our founder being northern, this is our first show up north. So we are looking forward to checking out your improv scene and reporting back!
Some of us have done improv in the US where its much stricter training, almost with a Drama school feel.
But the London scene is a melting pot of different schools, each with thier different focuses and styles. A few years ago the only improvised musicals there were Olivier Award winning SHOWSTOPPERS! and 5 * Comedy Musical - MusicBox (which Lisa is a member of); now London is saturated with musical Improv and rap groups - daring to be a capella helps us stand out. I'd say we are most influenced by TJ and Dave and The Nursery's style 'naturalism in improv,' with HOOPLA's 'Follow the Fun' joy!
Favourite improv game?
8 things. It cleanses your brain and reminds you not to try and be clever, because your mistakes are beautiful, and hilarious to justify.
How was Edinburgh Fringe?
We haven't performed there yet, Lee's CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation is a mainstay and sells out its 200 seat venue annually, so we are in very good hands. We sold out our Brighton Fringe run earlier this year, and are looking forward to applying for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2020
Have you ever done an improvised song that has been so catchy you find yourself singing it in the shower?
Lee - 'clap, clap, clap SEAWORLD' (Seaworld based Musical)
Lisa - 'I'm nuts about you' (Squirrel sanctuary musical)
Rory - 'Chocolate Mmmmm' (Chocolate shop musical)
It more often happens from songs created in rehearsals when everyone's more relaxed, so many earworms, it's heart-breaking you can't get them on Spotify!
What are you looking forward to on your visit to Wigan?
We're all different: for some it's Northern family members finally getting to watch; for others it's pies; for others it's the low priced beer! But we're all excited to play with Casino Improv and perform in such a fab large venue to new people.