Improv has to be one of the most challenging yet exciting theatre forms to perform. There’s no script, therefore spontaneity is key. Shows such as ‘Who’s Line Is It Anyway?’ have really helped to popularise improv, but what’s been prevalent is the lack of diversity within the range of improv groups within the UK. Having noticed this issue, actor Sunny Dhap founded Jumprov, the UK’s first BAME improve collective. Ahead of their first show in May at the Old Joint Stock Theatre, Sunny talks more about the company’s beginnings.
Jumprov will perform their very first show in May. How are you feeling ahead of the show?
It’s a weird mix of excitement and fear. The rehearsals have been fun and we can’t wait to share what we’ve been up to. Our previews have had great feedback and everyone enjoys what we are doing.
Jumprov is Birmingham’s first BAME improv group. What inspired you to form the collective?
I recently found out that we are actually the UK’s first ethnically diverse improv theatre company. I was on the committee for Birmingham’s First Improv Festival. The audience and the acts were not representative of Birmingham’s multi-cultural strength. So I decided to set up my own improv theatre company.
At present, do you feel that there are enough BAME opportunities within theatre and comedy, especially in Birmingham?
It’s tiny. There is such a small percentage of theatres producing shows in-house within the city. We are lucky that The Birmingham REP, The Old REP, Beatfreaks and MonologueSlam are doing their bit. We are lucky that BBC Doctors are being brave with their casting choices. There is still a lot that needs to be done from the arts people in our city to tell diverse stories and connect with the different people from the city.
Improvisation is notoriously a challenging skill to master, how have you developed the skill?
Every way possible. Practicing regularly. Studying ; reading books, watching YouTube videos, listening to podcasts and investing in courses. Supporting and watching other improv groups.
What can audiences expect from the group’s first show?
Audiences will experience a hilarious 90 minute show, made up completely on the spot of classic improv games with the Jumprov twist. The best way to find out is to get on our website and book a ticket at www.jumprov.com
How does the group rehearse for a show?
We practice & train for improv games like we’re Team GB. We meet regularly for rehearsals. We are a professional company so we make sure that everyone attends rehearsal. We ensure that we stay on track each rehearsal.
What are your future plans for the group?
We want to do more shows and take it to different cities around the UK.
We want to go into long form improvisational story telling and learn musical improv too.
What advice would you give to aspiring improv performers?
Get out there, join a class, form a group and enjoy the journey that improv takes you on. I’m always open to connect with people. So @ me on twitter on @SunnyDhap
Questions by Lucy Basaba.
Jumprov’s improv show will take place at the Old Joint Stock Theatre on Thursday 4th May. To find out more about the show, visit here…