American style improv has always been difficult to grasp here in the UK. It is loud, fast, and like most Americans, it’s blunt! In recent years the UK has opened its doors to this approach of improv, which focuses more on comedy than it does on storytelling. Where a lot of British improv revolves around creating an improv show that resembles a written play, American style improv creates an improv show that resembles a written comedy sketch. After all, the success of Longform improv in the United States has been overwhelming!
Every comedian, every sketch writer, every comedy actor on television and film has taken an improv class sometime in their life, and they have used these skills to develop their writing, their acting, directing, and their careers. Without the teachings of longform improv we wouldn’t have Saturday Night Live, we wouldn’t have Key and Peele, we wouldn’t have Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, Mike Myers, Bill Murray, the list goes on.
Since the 1980’s, this new and exciting style of improv was exploding in every comedy club, and every talent agency in the US. Every improv theatre was a goldmine of up and coming comedy actors who could not only act funny, but be quick enough and smart enough to write a completely improvised sketch on the spot, which makes sense, creates connections, and most importantly, entertains audiences.
What we do
Bristol has been blessed with an incredibly vibrant and talented improv community in recent years. It has boasted some of the best shows in the country, the most talented troupes, and now it is home to one of the most exciting improv theatres in the UK, The Bristol Improv Theatre. It was only a matter of time before different styles of improv would appear in the city…
Bristol Longform Comedy is the home of American style improv. We teach you how improv techniques can improve any aspect of your comedy, whether you are an actor, writer, or director. It is a perfect introduction for beginners, looking to improve their confidence on stage, try a new art form out, preparing for a role, or to begin a new journey in their life. It’s a way to have fun! It is perfect for seasoned performers looking to try a new style, a new philosophy, and to become the improv polymaths they are destined to become!
Most importantly, we teach you that improv can be a respected art form in itself. It is not just a list of silly games, it is dedication to improve your work, teamwork, commitment. It’s starting a band with your friends, and putting in the hours to get better, and aiming for the next big hit!
Whatever your reason for joining, we hope there is something for everyone at Bristol Longform Comedy, and we hope we can promote all styles of improv to as many people as possible.
Paige began studying and performing improv in Madison, Wisconsin. There she took courses with Atlas Improv Company, and she joined their professional roster of company members in 2017. At Atlas, she performed and taught many styles of improv, including from short-form theatre sports, narrative long form, and many formats of American-style long form.
In Bristol, Paige has performed in narrative shows with the Unscripted Players and with Closer Each Day’s 26 Hour Improv Marathon. She’s currently a member of long form teams ‘Xenu and…’, ‘Success Stories’, and ‘Space Cats’, and she can be seen performing with them around Bristol. Paige has also performed at The Nursery Theatre and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and she has trained with teachers from Upright Citizens Brigade.
Mark began performing Improv in Bristol in 2017; training initially with the Bristol Improv Theatre, Unscripted Players and Kitchen Rules Theatre. Mark went on to perform in several of the Unscripted Players ‘Big Shows’ and was a member of Kitchen Rules Theatre’s 2nd ever House Team at their monthly show ‘Parents Basement’.
Mark has performed with various improv teams around Bristol, and currently performs with ‘Waiting for Becky’, ‘Xenu and…’ and ‘Solicitors’. He enjoys performing many improv formats, in particular Monoscenes and Harolds.
Mark believes Improv is the best thing since sliced bread and now spends most of his spare time rehearsing, performing and teaching Improv. Before getting involved with improv, Mark had no experience with any type of theatre, performance, acting or comedy so firmly believes everybody can, and should, give it a go.
Liz began improv with the ‘Discovering Improv’ course at The Bristol Improv Theatre in 2016 as a way to improv her acting but after getting involved with The Unscripted Players Big July Show in 2018 she realised it was something that she loved as a separate hobby altogether.
She then got involved with both the Unscripted Players and Kitchen Rules Theatre workshops before becoming a member of Kitchen Rules Theatre 2nd House Team, performing at their monthly show ‘Parents Basement’.
Liz now performs regularly with her improv teams 'Waiting for Becky' and 'Success Stories' at various shows around Bristol.
John is an improv comedian, actor and sketch writer from London.
He currently teaches at Bristol Longform Comedy, the Bristol Improv Theatre and previously taught at and co-created Kitchen Rules Theatre in 2017.
John started as a Short-Form improv player in 2011 at Aberystwyth University, going on to direct and perform numerous narrative-driven improv shows during his time with Exploding Fish and Unscripted Players.
John spent a year in Madrid training and teaching with English-speaking improv company MADimprov, as well as learning from local improv company ImproImpar.
John regularly performs with Bristol-based teams 'Jazz Police', 'Macronaughts', 'The Billy Boys', and his one man show 'One Board Man', appearing in numerous events with them at Hoopla, The Free Association, The Nursery, Nottingham Comedy Festival, Amsterdam Improv Marathon, Edinburgh Improv Festival, The 26 Hour Bristol Improv Marathon, and The Edinburgh and Brighton Fringe Festivals.
He has trained with Upright Citizens Brigade, Improv Olympic, and The Free Association.
John McInnes has been performing improv since 2014 and he loves it! Particularly the longform sturcture "The Harold".
He's somehow been taught by many of his heroes; Will Hines, Billy Merritt, John Timothy, Chad Carter, Alan Starzinski, Ari Voukydis...the list goes on!
He co-founded Kitchen Rules Theatre in 2017, organising/running many of the workshops and creating its popular show "Parents Basement". He coaches basically any team that's cool and directed the non-comedic longform "The Impressionistic Horror" in 2018. He also produces & performs in Improv Cagematch at the Edinbrugh every damn year.
He's currently a member of ‘Jazz Police’ and has a 2-prov with nearly the entire Bristol Improv scene. In his spare time he writes sketch comedy by himself (some of which has been on BBC Radio!) or performs in his silly sketch duo ROHN.