Session called by: Carla Keen (@unplannedm @carlakeen)
Attended by: Phelim, Kevin, Caron

Summary of discussion:

- Yes, improv is a messy art form, it's scrappy and constantly moving, but that's part of it's beauty. It will always be an outsider, because it's unknown, and unpredictable, but that's an intrinsic part of what it is. Let's not change that.

- If you make it smoother, round off the edges, make it more palatable (and therefore easier to programme?), do you lose the danger and risk-taking elements which are fundamental to improv? Is it still thrilling if everyone on stage/audience is comfortable? Why not then do staged work?

- For some audiences, part of the reason they watch it, is the joy of the unknown, the risk, the danger. (However, even within these audiences, there are those that enjoy coming back to watch similar bits.)

- For some audiences, the scrappy, playful and unmade aspects mean that actually it's less of a risk to watch because it costs them less (e.g. two hours of entertainment for a fiver. They are willing to accept that there will be good and bad.) Being "illegitimate" theatre means it remains accessible.

- Some of the fear from watching/programming improv potentially comes from not just the unknowns of the show content, but also that it can be seen as something that is untrained, unrehearsed and therefore unskilled. That anyone can just walk into doing a show, and it will therefore be poor quality. This could be mitigated by mentioning touring credentials, well-known names etc...but this also has its pitfalls...

- Do audiences want to watch something that has failure as an inherent element - accept that sometimes it will be good, and sometimes not so great. However, some people do enjoy this - think about comedians doing scratch performances etc.

- Mentioned that improv is a mandatory part of the GCSE syllabus for drama.

- Sometimes called other things/used in other contexts, e.g. process theatre (Augusto Boal), or devising (which very often involves improv), that maybe it's improv as a performance - the exposing of the gears and cogs that's difficult to digest. Is the word "devising" more palatable?