Improv group The Compass Players are gearing up for their first show next Wednesday (March 30). But who is behind the new group and what secrets are involved when putting on together good improv? JENNY COOMBES spoke to a couple of Players to find out what goes on behind the scenes.
TEAM work and good listening skills are the key to a great improv show.
That is the opinion of Adam Goldstein, who heads up the Compass Players, a new adult improv group whose members have been honing their skills over the last year.
The Players hope to wow an audience at the Compass Theatre in Glebe Road, Ickenham, on March 31, when they make their first scheduled stage appearance.
Adam, a freelance drama tutor and youth worker from Essex, set up the group after teaching youngsters at the 360 Youth Theatre, based at the Compass, for six years.
"That was only for people up to the age of 19," he said. "I thought it would be good to start an adult group."
Ten people take part in the classes, held every Wednesday night at the theatre, and eight are taking to the stage for the show.
"Everyone's really looking forward to it and the classes have been going very well," said Adam.
"We all get on really well and work very closely together."
Members of all ages and backgrounds have come together to form the group and Adam insists that acting skills are not essential to become a star.
"It's about team work and listening," he said. "If you follow the rules and commit to it then you will do well."
His sessions – which cost £40 a term – have so far focused on the skills needed to make a buzz on stage.
"It's about training your mind. There are ways of building a scene and making quick decisions," he said.
The show will be broken down into two parts, with shorter Whose Line Is It Anyway style sketches in the first half and then longer improv scenes in the second.
Audience participation will be key, with actors taking suggestions on style, settings and content from the crowd.
Stand-up comedian Sarah Callaghan, 19, who lives in Hillingdon, can't wait for the big night.
She joined the Players after trying out a youth acting group when she was younger.
She said: "That stopped when I got to a certain age. When Adam came up with the idea of an adult group I thought it was great.
"It really helps with my stand up – it's helped me to think on my feet which can help when interacting with hecklers and things like that."
The teenager, who is doing the rounds of the on the London comedy scene, said she cannot wait to don her improv hat.
“I'm buzzing for it. It's my first improv show and I can't wait to get started.”
The show will kick off at 8pm in the studio at the Compass Theatre.
Tickets are £4 by calling 01895 673200 or visiting: www.compasstheatre.co.uk
To find out more about joining the players, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.