Tea & A Chat With The Sky Babies


They like their tea in Galway. And these Galway girls like their tea like they like their improv. Strong and with biscuits. Meet The Sky Babies.

Hello everyone! Tell us about your group and the people performing

The Sky Babies are Galway based and made up of professional actors and musicians. We’re also an all female troupe. This came about accidentally but we kind of like it! We love playing with other troupes to mix things up and invite guests to come play with us when we can.

How did your group/show come about?

Órla facilitates regular improv Labs with The Spontaneous Theatre People, and all the individual Sky Babies were part of that. The Labs are ongoing, and a separate entity, but a few of us also really wanted to perform together, simply because we were having so much craic! Hence the birth of The Sky Babies!

What was your most memorable show?

They all teach us something. Although we’re new as a collective, we’re getting a lot of requests for us to perform, which is great. The Galway Theatre Festival show this year stands out as a memorable one for a few reasons: The festival staff are lovely to deal with. They brought some unfamiliar audiences to an improv show, and they loved it! As it was a ‘theatre’ audience, they were extra appreciative of strong characters, which we love to do.

Who are your improv influences?

We have many! We all have a background in professional theatre, so we draw heavily from that world too. Loads to draw from! Viola Spolin’s work greatly influences what we do in the Labs, but we’d also explore other styles and schools. Órla’s worked with many people who she also admires in the US including Joe Bill from Annoyance, Ryan Stiles, and Neutrino – Special shout out to Steve Steen too.

Why should audiences come see your show?

We love working together, and we think it shows in our improv. We bring strong characters to the stage, giving us extra oomph. Our shows have live digital musical scoring – extra element to take us on a madcap journey. Apparently audiences are ‘beaming’ after our shows! This is probably the best reason why you should come. Beaming is good.

Why should people get involved with improvised theatre and comedy?

It’s like being let off the leash in the woods, swimming naked, and flying – all at the same time, whilst eating chocolate.

The Sky Babies perform tonight at 7:30pm!

Tea & A Chat With The Maydays

They’ve won multiple awards; they’ve performed with Mike McShane from Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Carol Cleveland from Monty Python; as individuals they’ve performed mainStage in iO Chicago and Annoyance Theatre.  They’re performing their show Confessions at Improv Fest Ireland.  But none of that matters if they can’t make a decent cup of tea!  Let’s chat!
Hello folks.  Tell us about The Maydays and the people performing?
The Maydays are a triple award-winning company formed in Brighton almost ten years ago. We perform longform shows, teach classes and host the UK’s only residential improv festival. As well as studying in America, we regularly bring over top international teachers and have had the pleasure of performing in mainstage shows at iO and Annoyance.
The peeps who are in our Dublin show are:
John Cremer – Legendary improv bald man.  Author of 2 books and guru to many!
Rebecca Macmillan  – Historian hottie. One of the original Maydays and also improviser with Impromptu Shakespeare.
‘Lloydie’ James Lloyd – Our man in the North. Maydays associate, king of ‘game’ and player in Miss Imp.
Rhiannon Vivien –   Brain-scrambling brunette. Master of the surreal and surprising. Also in MusicBox and Small Pieces.
Liz Peters – Rude redhead. An energetic ball of characters. Also a musical stand-up comedian and in Small Pieces.
Joe Samuel – Musical Director. Not a man. An actual computer made of music. Co-author of Sing It! (He is a man really.)
How did your show come about? 
We create a lot of bespoke shows for businesses and personal occasions, where we’ve used forms like the Armando, and there is something very special about seeing a show inspired by your own experiences. Confessions is a playful way of creating something unique and personal for the audience on a larger scale. Plus we’re all nosy and we like to know what naughty things people have been up to!

What has been your most memorable performance?

Wow.. there have been a lot! I suppose one that sticks in my mind was when we had a very split audience. Half of them were lads on a stag do  and the other half were very polite middle aged women. So the kind of confessions we’d pulled out had varied from the quaint to the extreme. 
At the top of the second half we asked for a ‘live’ confession and one of the stags told a really grim story about a debauched night. The women were up in arms, shouting ‘we don’t want to hear about this. Stop! No!’  
We deftly avoided a riot between the two camps and were able to use the story in a way that honoured it without having the WI throwing up in their handbags! After the show both a stag and a lady came and told me how much they had enjoyed it. Which is an achievement considering it was born out of a warzone. United by the power of improv!

You improvise music and song in your shows. Is it really improvised?
Yes, absolutely! There are a couple of song structures that we are familiar with and know what the rhyme structure and timings should be (ie a twelve bar blues), but on the whole our music is totally created in the moment. You never know when a scene is going to lead into a song so it’s exciting to just be present and discover the style, lyrics, melody and structure as you go.
Why should people come to your show and what can they expect?
Confessions is a show based on audience real life secrets. We ask people to anonymously write down their true confessions at the start and we use them as inspiration.  People should come because it’ll be a fun show that has real heart and depth, plus it is a wonderful chance to peek into the secret lives of others!
What are some of the weirdest confessions you’ve heard?
Ooh we’ve had some corkers! From cheeky practical jokes to acts of downright wickedness, we’ve uncovered a nation of delightful deviants. There’s the mum who always steals the sweets from the Easter Eggs before giving them to her children,  the woman who sent a fury load of excrement through the post in a misguided, and ultimately disastrous, act of revenge.. We’ve heard so many weird and wonderful confessions that we’ve released a book containing some of our favourites. And it turns out everyone stole stuff from Woolworths so if you’re still losing sleep because they went bust, rest assured it wasn’t all down to you!


Why should people come to a Maydays workshop?
Cos you’ll have a great time! If you’ve never tried it before you’ll be amazed at how improv can open you up to play and just enjoy being alive again. Or if you’re an improv veteran you can munch on our combined training from over 80 different improv teachers across many different schools of thought. There’s always something new to learn and a different way of looking at things. Seriously, do it! Taking an improv class literally changed my life. Yeah!

Which Mayday would be most useful if you were passengers on a sinking ship?
Joe would be good as he could underscore the sinking drama on his violin, like in the film Titanic. I’d like to die in a blaze of glory to some dramatic string music.
What’s so great about improv?
Apart from the tangible ways, it improves people’s lives by boosting confidence, communication and creativity, It’s fun! Fun in a scary way like running down a hill so fast you don’t know if you’re going to fall over and die or actually start flying.  It’s drama, dance, music, comedy and poetry in one delicious, unpredictable package. You create a world of infinite possibilities where anything can happen and then you go and play in it. How awesome is that?!


You can catch The Maydays show on Saturday 16th at 9pm!   They are also running workshops from 14th to 17th November!

Tea & A Chat With We Are Improv

Lets face it.  Irish people are very fussy about our tea.  We take the Lyons or the Barrys on holiday with us and will sit under the Spanish sun in 30 degree heat gasping for a cup of tea.  But there is one other country that does tea like Ireland and thats across the water in the UK.  And the tea in Lancashire is divine.

Meet We Are Improv.  They are bringing their show “The Nearly Famous Five” to Dublin.  It even features a dog.


Hello Katy, Rowan, Tom and Paul.  Tell us about your group and the people performing 

Our group is called We are Improv and there are four of us making the exciting trip to Dublin. Our real names are Katy Bateson, Rowan Brook-Thompson, Tom Meaney and Paul Rhodez but on the night the audience will decide our names!


Excellent.  How did your group/show come about?

Katy has been improvising since she was 8 years old and in 2011 whilst on holiday in Turkey, her brain decided that when she got home she had to start her own improv group. After advertising and running workshops and lots of improvisation fun, we are a 7 strong performing group in Lancaster. The show idea also strangely came on another holiday to Turkey where Katy took some Famous Five books to read and the show concept was born! Katy doesn’t work for the Turkish tourist board, it’s purely a coincidence.


What was your most memorable improv performance?

We recently attend The Maydays annual festival at Osho Leela and we were asked to perform on the Saturday evening, we decided to be incredibly brave and do a mini musical even though Paul, Rowan and Tom had never done musical improvisation before that week. It was a fantastic show and people were singing the “We love Ken” song for days afterwards. The famous Ken is coming to the Irish Improv Festival so listen out for people singing when they see him!


Who are your improv influences? 

We love The Maydays and Lloydie from Misimp. Katy is also inspired by Pgraph from Austin Texas who are coming over in 2014 so we’re hoping that more of us will get to work with them.


Why should audiences come see your show? 

The show features 4 children, a dog on wheels, lashings of ginger beer and your suggestions, what more could you want?!


Tell us some interesting facts about yourselves that people might not know!


Tom is actually Irish and from Waterford and loves writing

Rowan is an incredible at crochet and is the artist behind The Nearly Famous Five artwork

Katy used to do Irish dancing and has 3 leopard geckos.

Paul is the memory genius of the group and likes to sing like David Bowie


You can catch We Are Improv on Thursday 12th November @ 8pm!




Tea & A Chat With The Cardinals

With great openings, comes great responsibility.  Meet The Cardinals.  A new long form improv troupe featuring some of Ireland’s top veteran improvisers.  I sat down with Danny Kehoe (as seen on Republic Of Telly) and Sharon Mannion (as seen on Trojan Donkey) for a cup of tea and some cake.


Hello Danny and Sharon.  Tell us about your group and the people performing 

The group is called The Cardinals, and is made up of some if the most experienced improvisers in the country.  There are 8 of us performing in the festival.


Excellent.  How did your group/show come about?

The group has been brewing for a few years, Sharon and myself won scholarships to study at the prestigious iO and Second City theatres in Chicago, Illinois in the summer if 2010. We both fell in love with several improvisation forms and were encouraged to present them to Irish audiences. Until now, the timing hasn’t been right, but the stars and planets have aligned and an exciting improv adventure is about to begin.


What was your most memorable improv performance?

Difficult question, there have been so many inspirational gigs that I have been lucky enough to be involved in. The recent night in Vicar St as part of the Comedy Cellar’s 25th anniversary celebrations was a personal highlight but I am privileged to be doing something that I love on a regular basis and am blessed to be performing with truly talented people. Long may it continue.


Who are your improv influences? 

The people I perform with influence and inspire me with every show. Besides that, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie


Why should audiences come see your show? 

It’s new, it features some of the most experienced improvisers on the Irish scene and its going to be a great start to the festival


Are there more people than sheep in Ireland?

Sharon:  Hmmmm, I would say people, but just about.

Danny:  The actual answer is 4.5m people versus 3.5m sheep


You can catch The Cardinals opening Improv Fest Ireland on Sunday 10th November at 1pm!

Tea & A Chat With The IMPRORPHANS

Despite what you might think from their troupe poster, neither Chris or Ben look like Oliver Twist.  And while their photo above might look like they are sleeping on the job, these 2 gents are working hard to bring IMPRORPHANS festival show to the masses in the festival.  Let see what they had to say


Hello Chris and Ben.  So tell us about your group and the people performing

We are a new group gathered together from Dublin’s improv scene who are currently not in a group or are just beginning on their Improv journey. We came about through a conversation Ben had with Neil Curran at one of the monthly jam sessions, from there the Improrphans came.


How did your troupe form?

Originally there were two: myself and Ben, we advertised on the “Love! Improv” community page; asked colleagues; and went to other shows where there were often improvisers watching.  From this we gathered an impressive group of talented performers both old and new.


What was your most memorable show?

Our most memorable show is still to come, we came together as a group just three weeks ago and our first show will be a debut in the festival line up. Individually we have had many memorable shows, probably too numerous to mention here.


Who are your improv influences?

Chris:  My influences were the guys that did the Whose Line show in the Comedy Store in London.  Also Colman Higgins, one of the first and nicest improvisers in Dublin, and Orla Mc Govern, who is a member of the Sky Babies and an awesome teacher.   I have to give a special mention to Colin Mochrie also.

Ben:  I’m a big fan of Second City and would list a great many of their alumni among my influences.  My biggest comic influence is Peter Cook who-although not strictly speaking an improviser-was known for his constant off-the cuff dialogue and (often unintentional) ad libbing



Why should audiences come see your show?

Although we are a new group, we’re a good mix of experienced and enthusiastic players who have come together with the express purpose of having fun and entertaining you.  If you’re a fan of the unexpected or just love improv, need I say more


Some of your troupe have accents.  Where are you all from?

We are all in Dublin now however some of us are from further afield I myself am from England. We are a group that is open to all and all are welcome we intend to take over the world one improv audience at a time. JOIN US !!


Why are you both asleep on stage in that picture?

We even do improv in our sleep.


You can catch IMPRORPHANS on Sunday 11th November at 2:30pm!

Tea & A Chat With WTF

As far as interviews go, I’m not sure who interviewed who.  But I do know she knew how I took my tea before I told her.  Meet Wanda Tallulah Faye.  She is the festival’s improvised psychic or as she calls it “Mystical Psychic”.  For a few euro, she will tell you anything.

Hello Wanda…..

First of all, I know you’re wondering when I discovered I had ‘the gift’ and what I can do with my abilities, or, would you like to ask me some questions?


Er, yes, actually…

WTF with Wanda Tallulah Faye is a personalised reading/self-actualisation/therapy session using new methods that combine cake, plastic power animals/cards, snow-globes and imagined truths.


Ok…  How did WTF come into existence?

Well when a man and a lady love each other very much, they have a special cuddle and the rest is history.

Seriously, from very early on in life I recognised that I was presumptuous & judgmental, I heard non existent voices in my head and had a love of baked products.  I was also a shameful liar-liar pants on fire.  Over the years these gifts combined into a highly effective method of working with the disenfranchised, the narcissistic, and the confused.  When the leg fell off my beloved barbie horse i fashioned a prosthetic from a pencil to keep him upright – and LO!  He suddenly wrote “there’s nothing wrong with you that a good ride wouldn’t sort out”.

A whole new world of prophecy opened up after that..  and combined with my early practice of cakey reiki – well the rest is just ongoing magic.



What was one of your most memorable predictions?

You should know – i predicted that love would enter your life and that the woman concerned would be frigid – well, she may not be frigid, but she most certainly feels the cold!
I’m not sure that would count….  Who are your influences?
My lovely barbie horse; my lovely friends “Soggy Biscuits”; and it has to be said that John Cremer of The Maydays has scared the bejayzus out of me many’s the time.  I should also mention the Bunty and Carl Jung too.

Why should people visit you for reading?

Because I’m damn good, nowhere else will you hear such startling inaccurate truth telling, plus, you get to be the centre of attention for up to 10 minutes- and who doesn’t love being that?
Wanda Tallulah Faye will be wandering around the theatre and bar during the festival offering readins for a small fee, of which the proceeds all go to Crumlin Hospital.  Be sure to check her out!

Tea & A Chat With Neil+1

We didn’t have to go far for this chat and the tay was immaculate!  This time I had a chat with, er, Neil Curran of Neil+1 and it was all rather existential….


Hi Neil.  So tell us about your group and the people performing

Neil+1 is a show that features just me and a random stranger from the audience, someone who hasn’t seen or done improv before.  We delve in a full length long form improv show and its my responsibility to make whatever my co-performer audience member does or says work in the context of the show.  The show is an ultimate test for an improviser as we must embrace the fundamentals for the show to work:  listening, accepting, trust and making the other person look good etc.


How did your group/show come about?

I’ve always wanted to find a way of performing a solo improv show.  There are plenty of troupes around the world, but very few people take on the challenge of working alone.  In fact some improvisers consider the format very risky!  I got talking to a magnificent improviser in Philadelphia called Matt Holmes, who has his own solo format.  He gave me great coaching and mentoring and I just went from there.  Over time the show has evolved, it went from a 30 minute show originally to its current format of an hour.  The show is still evolving and I have further plans up my sleeve for 2014!


What was your most memorable show?

It was March of this year, I was debuting my new hour long format at Impro Fest UK in London.  I was quite nervous as some of The Maydays were in the audience and I had no idea how people would receive the format.  The show went fantastic though.  My +1 was a college student from Korea and he was terrified but he stuck with it.  He had never seen improv before but was in the neighbourhood and dropped in to catch a show.  The beauty of the show is it allows for my +1 to get in the limelight.  He was getting laughs and who knows, he may have taken up improv afterward.  That was the day I realised I had something special with the show.


Who are your improv influences?

The more improvisers I meet from around the world, the bigger this list gets.  Without doubt though, John Cremer and The Maydays have had a huge influence on me.  Jason Chin  of IO Chicago and Marshall & Nancy of Zenprov have also help mould the improviser I am today.  Some of my favourite improv shows include TJ & Dave and Project Two.


Why should audiences come see your show?

There is no other show like it and it is the height of interactive theatre and storytelling combined.  No shows are ever the same and you never know, you could be the next star of the show!


What’s red and invisible?

Er….  No tomatoes?


Neil+1 is performing on Wednesday 13th November at 8pm!

Tea & A Chat With ImprovBoston

It was time venture over the pond once again to chat with our American friends.  This time I had a chat with Will Luera of ImprovBoston.  Will has the good fortune to travel the world for improv so it is great that Will and ImprovBoston could make time in their schedule to visit Dublin


Hi Will.  We’re looking forward to seeing your Irish debut in November.  So tell us about your group and the people performing

The seven of us coming out to Dublin have been working together for almost a decade.  We’ve been performing with the ImprovBoston Mainstage as well as many other shows at our theater, around the Boston area, and around the world. We will be performing a free-form style of improv that was popularized by ImprovBoston.


How did your group/show come about?

ImprovBoston has been around for 30 years. Will Luera was the Mainstage director from 2000 – 2011 and during that time, cast all of the members of the group that will be coming to Dublin.


What was your most memorable show?

Our annual shows for First Night Boston are always memorable. They are performed on New Years Eve in Downtown in what is a city-wide New Years Party. We perform in from two to three thousand people on those nights. It’s amazing.


Who are your improv influences?

My biggest improv influences have been Mick Napier, Joe Bill and the now defunct group, Burn Manhattan. All three have had major influences on the formation of the Boston free-form style. Over time, Martin deMaat, Del Close and the UCB four have been very influential as well.


Why should audiences come see your show?

Our show integrates influences from many different American styles of Improvisation into a very unique form. You’ll see a touch of The Annoyance Theater, iO, UCB and Second City in our styles and together, they make a unique experience for all audiences.


What exactly is free-form?

The free-form mindset is built on the concept of “follow the funny” and proposes that every single moment, beat, line and movement in a show can be deconstructed and used to lead you to the next scene. Our show will have a lot of transitional and transformational edits that will allow the performers to weave in and out of scenes, seamlessly.


ImprovBoston are performing on Thursday 14th November at 9:15pm!

Tea & A Chat With FRAM!

Meet Aaron and Frazer, more commonly known as FRAM!  They’re possibly two of the most hardest working improvisers on the island right now.  When they’re not busy performing or teaching in Belfast, they’re brushing up on their improv skills in Chicago and the UK.


Hello chaps.  Tell us about your group and the people performing.


FR: I’m Frazer Robb.

AM: And I’m Aaron Marshall.

FR&AM: so together we’re FRAM!

FR: We get a one word suggestion at the start, then do a series of loosely connected scenes…

AM: …which may or may not tie together at the end. But it’s more about the journey, right?

FR: There’s just two of us, so we can each play multiple characters throughout the show.

AM: Sometimes in the same scene. Or the same sentence.

FR: It’s not as confusing as it sounds.



How did your group/show come about?


FR: We’ve been in a short form improv group together (Wonder Frog) for several years, and known each other from standup nights for longer.

AM: Frazer kindly gave me lifts to and from gigs for many years. Carpooling brought us together.

FR: Then I went to study longform improv at iO Chicago last summer, and when I came back I wanted someone to do a show with.

AM: And I lived closest. Thus FRAM! was born!

FR: And the shows went well, so we’ve kept doing it.

AM: We almost like each other now.

FR: Almost.



What was your most memorable show?


AM: Our last show I’d had the flu all week, and was convinced up until an hour beforehand that I wouldn’t be able to do it.

FR: And it’s quite difficult to do a two person show with just one person.

AM: Luckily the adrenaline kicked in, and for the duration of the show I felt great, and made it through.

FR: A lot of your scenes involved coughing…

AM: That was a character choice! I like to play it real.



Who are your improv influences?

FR: Susan Messing, Joe Bill, Greg Hess and all the people I met and studied with in Chicago.

AM: Can’t talk about twoprov without mentioning TJ and Dave. They’re amazing.

FR: In terms of the show I’d say Middle Aged Comeback and Cook County Social Club are the biggest influences on how Aaron and I play together.



Why should audiences come see your show?


FR: We’re the only group from Northern Ireland in this years festival.

AM: So if you’re OCD about attending a show from each of the represented nationalities, you’ll have to come!

FR: I don’t think people do that.

AM: Well, I’ve never heard anyone complaining they didn’t like one of our shows. Despite standing outside afterwards with my fingers in my ears going “LALALALA” as loudly as I can, desperately trying not to make eye contact with anyone at all. That must count for something.

FR: The shows fast, funny and occasionally silly.

AM: Oh yeah. That too. I’d give it four stars. But the review would read like a five.



Will your show solve world hunger, end war, and bring about a new age of prosperity and enlightenment for all of humanity?


FR: No.

AM: Yes.


FRAM! are performing on Wednesday 13th November at 9:15pm!

Tea & A Chat With ComedyDublin

We sat down for some tay and scones with ComedyDublin which was quite tricky given how busy they are!  If they’re not doing improv, they’re holding stand up comedy nights for charitable causes.  So lets find out more about them..

Hello ComedyDublin!  So tell us about your group and the people performing

Margo Carr, Gaby O’Reilly, Conal Carr, Conor Doyle, Mark Hanratty and Therese Ballantine.


How did your troupe form?

ComedyDublin was formed in 2004 and came from the ashes of the ComedySportz Dublin group and various other trainers. Most of us are comedians and actors so it was lovely to be connected in a fun way doing comedy improv. At most there have been 9 of us in the group and since Conal and Margo became parents the twice weekly shows took a back seat. Now we do monthly charity shows with special guests from UK, US and all around the world.

As an actor Margo was always seeking work. The opportunity came to study comedy improv in 2000. She jumped at it and after 3 years training in Second City Teachings she joined a local improv troupe ComedySportz with Sandra Austin. ComedyDublin was set up in April 2004. Conal and Therese trained with ComedySportz (CSZ) Gaby and Mark trained with ComedyDublin as Margo was then doing the workshops. Conor had come to us after studying improv in Canada. He returned to finish his studies and we were delighted to welcome him back into the fold again.


What was your most memorable show?

Too many to list individually and back during Bulmers Comedy Festival in 2006 we used to get great houses.  Because of our name and the fact that improv was still not understood in Ireland we always got mainly tourists. This was a delight that year as it was equally Irish and tourist audiences. We always have fun when we go on tour especially when we have special guests including Rich Jackson, Dominic Manfredi of New York’s Nat Turner Revue and Orla McGovern (Sky Babies)


Who are your improv influences?

American comedy features quite strongly and we loved all the past alumni of Saturday Night Live especially John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, Steve Martin and many more. Everyday Irish humour comes into it too and we are not that physical a group so we rely on repartee and funny lines. Everyone in the current line up of ComedyDublin also does a sideline in Stand Up Comedy.


Why should audiences come see your show?

Because of the sheer fun of it.  We give over so much control to our audiences that it terrifies some but it does delight the audience and they can really say they were part of making our show happen in the funny way that it does.


Some of your troupe have accents.  Are you all really from Dublin? 

No not all of us are even from Ireland!  We got the name ComedyDublin.Com before we were set in stone as a group and we are always welcoming visiting improvisers to gig with us. Gaby is from Germany. Kate Higgins is from Portland Oregan, Bethanne Linstra is from Kansas, Jani Sumak is from Slovenia, Rich Jackson and Dominic Manfredi from Nat Turner Revue are from New York.


ComedyDublin are performing on Wednesday 13th November at 6:30pm!