The Fountain caught up with The TBC Improv Theatre. Based in The Original Room at Monkey Barrel Comedy, their mixture of ground-breaking, edgy, up and coming and established acts, is fast making it the place to be on Sunday nights in Edinburgh.
TF: How did The TBC Improv Theatre come into being?
The TBC Improv Theatre is run by To Be Continued..(TBC), an improvisational comedy theatre company. We’ve been performing, teaching and spreading the word of the joy of improv throughout Scotland since 2009. Having cultivated the emergent scene in the past couple of years, we decided to set up a theatre where both new and experienced groups would have the opportunity to perform and where audiences would have the opportunity to enjoy the high quality work that’s being produced locally. We have shows every Sunday night, from 7.30pm-9.45pm. But The TBC Improv Theatre is also much more than just a theatre, it’s a community.
TF: Who performs there?
TF: Our line up each week is really varied. In the past few months our acts have included: The Smoky Monkeys (who were a big hit at last year’s Fringe with An Imp-revised History of the World) debuting their improvised musical Smoklahoma, Couch, Me Plus One, A to Z Improv Comedy, The Impromancers, Four Folks Ache and The Cutting Room. We (To Be Continued..) also perform our critically acclaimed, short form show Absolute Improv once a month.
TF: What’s so special about improv?
There’s something magical about seeing a piece of live theatre, that will never ever be repeated again. Every performance is a one-off, bespoke and unpredictable. Watching improvisers work together and support one another in order to pull off an entirely spontaneous performance, is truly riveting and involving, while the unexpectedly comic moments that arise make for some uniquely hilarious entertainment.
TF: What have been some of the highlights so far?
We’re able to give a platform for creative and artistic risk taking, in a safe and supportive environment. The result of that, is that we’ve seen some incredibly diverse performances and innovation. Edinburgh’s first all-female improv group, Tinderellas, met and first started performing together here. Now they’re TBCIT and comedy club regulars and about to embark on their first Fringe run. We’ve been able to help several new groups launch like this through our invited improv guest nights, so it’s brilliant to see such exciting new talent springing up. Our Christmas show was a particular highlight too – riotously funny and packed to the rafters.
TF: What opportunities are available for anyone interested in getting involved in improv?
On the second-last Sunday of the month, we have Open Improv night: in the first half anyone can pre-book a slot to perform something improvised and in the second half everyone in the audience has the chance to take part in a spontaneous jam. We’ll also be holding some drop in classes in July.
TF: With the Edinburgh Fringe just around the corner, what are your plans for August?
Our venue, The Original Room at Monkey Barrel Comedy, will be a Fringe venue, so we’ll be taking a break for the month. Of course none of us will actually be taking a break, as we’ll be busier than ever! You can catch many of The TBC Improv Theatre regulars around town: To Be Continued will be at The Space on Niddry Street, Smoky Monkeys at Black Market, Tinderellas at Voodoo Rooms and AtoZ at the Kilderkin. But Edinburgh is for life, not just the Fringe, so The TBC Improv Theatre will be back in September, with a great line-up of brand new, hot improv comedy.