Ah, the New Year. A good opportunity to take a breath and reflect on all of the things you are doing. And to set idealistic goals for the months to come. I have not had a cigarette in 13 days and have even being exercising fairly regularly. This is not really a blog, just a gathering together of a few things that are all starting to happen, and which have a New Year kind of a feel about them.
So here we go. This is what we have been doing and will be doing and hope you will join us in doing…
We have been in our new building for about three months and the dust is starting to settle. It’s kitted out as we want it to be (or nearly. Why will the damned leaves not stay on the walls??), most evenings are booked out for the next two months, and our days are getting more and more full. In short, it’s going well down here in SE1.
So what’s next? We have a building, a small amount of cash and therefore an interesting opportunity. An opportunity to keep spreading improvisation as far as we can. So here’s the question: How do we best use these resources to serve people? Both those inside the London improvisation community and those who have not encountered improv yet.
While there has not been an overt attempt to theme the new schemes that we have, a theme has naturally emerged from the conversations that we are having, both internally, and with the improvisers and other artists who use our spaces. 2017 is the year of reaching out to new people. Of sharing the Nursery love with those who have not been down yet.
So here’s what is happening with us right now:
1) Second Sunday Socials
It’s not all about improvisation, you guys! Improvisers join the community for many different reasons, and meeting people is a big one. After all, the time in the pub after the class is almost as important as the class itself. So we created an event that is just that. Improvisers, in a room, hanging out. Ping pong and movie nights, a fete and an open Space discussion, coming to you from February.
2) The Jason Chin Diversity Scholarship
One of the things that we love about improv is how open it is. It requires no acting training. As an artform, it is blind to age, race, gender, sexuality, disability, illness mental and physical, eye colour and what you had for breakfast. And we want to embrace that. Jason Chin was an iO teacher and performer who passed away about two years ago and we are proud to announce a scholarship in his memory. There are no specific criteria for application, and it is open for all classes longer than a single session. If you feel you are part of a group, any group, which is under- or mis-represented in improv, or would not normally be able to afford to take a class, you can apply below.
The Jason Chin Diversity Scholarship
3) Code of Conduct and Feedback Procedure
Creating an environment which is fun and lively, but at the same time respectful and safe is a difficult line to tread. Some of the material created in improv classes is is transgressive, some of it is rude and just plain weird.This is part of the work and (for many) part the delight, but it also has the danger to offend and marginalise, often without our intention. The Nursery Code of Conduct, combined with a host of new feedback tools, some of them anonymous, will formalise how these things are noticed and dealt with. This will be rolled out in February.
4) Puddle Jumping
You know your friend who is always wanting to try improv, who has been promising it for three years but never quite does? Maybe a drop in class is a little intimidating, maybe a full beginner’s course is a lot of commitment? Puddle jumping is for that person. A beginner class that’s free, fun and zero commitment. And if you’ve done it before, reason to drag yourself out of bed on a Sunday.
Thursday Night Lights
5) Thursday Night Lights
Ok, this started in November, so it’s not technically a new thing, but it’s part of the same set of innovations. It’s a show and a jam and a hangout and a mini-workshop all in one. It’s weekly and it’s Pay What you Want. Can’t say fairer than that, can we?
In the spirit of opening the doors and working with whoever is interested and passionate, please take this post as an invitation to the conversation. This is what we are doing, what else belongs on the list? What are we not doing that we should be? And just as importantly, what are we doing that we shouldn’t be?
Mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our anonymous feedback page. Or come along to our Open Space Event on the 19th February to chat to us in person. We listen to and read everything and, while we can’t please everyone, do take it all seriously.
See you soon!