Hoopla's purpose is to bring the joy of improv to as many people as possible. We aim to make improv fun, friendly, sociable, open and accessible to all.
At the moment we run improv classes and shows across Central London, and have a diversity program set up to bring people from different backgrounds to those classes and shows and diversity scholarships offering free and discounted places. But that is currently reliant on people knowing what improv is, finding us online, being near the workshops and able to make the times. So there are a huge number of people we aren't reaching and we want to fix that.
So now we want to remove those blocks and bring improv to where people actually are, to people of all backgrounds, to different areas and help bring improv to everyone.
And that's why we are starting a new Diversity & Inclusion Improv Outreach Worker project. This is a specific paid job that will rapidly bring about a massive positive change to the UK improv scene.
Their job will be to bring the joy of improv to more people in these groups:
- Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic.
- Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans +.
- Younger People.
- Older People.
- English as a second language.
- People with a disability.
- Areas outside of Central London.
And to also help more people from those groups to go on to perform in the wider improv scene.
They will mainly do this by bringing improv outreach workshops to the community in these places:
- Community Centres.
- Youth Clubs.
- Recovery Colleges.
- Language Schools.
- Drama Clubs.
- Drama Schools.
- Religious Centres.
- Old People's Homes.
- Areas outside of Central London.
These workshops will be at no cost to the participants and we will go to them. This work will be covered by this fund.
The outreach worker will be set up to be able to efficiently contact organisations and deliver workshops, so your donations lead to direct action and are not tied up in bureaucracy or core costs.
This will have the longer term effect of bringing improv to more of these groups of people and then bringing more of these groups of people into the wider improv scene.
They will also help improve diversity by doing these additional tasks:
- Awarding diversity scholarships to people wanting to do our main courses as a result of this outreach.
- Awarding accelerator scholarships to help those go to a professional performer level.
- Being on the audition panel for new shows to improve diversity.
- Helping existing shows diversify their cast by connecting them to improvisers.
- Running diversity workshops within Hoopla for students, teachers and performers.
All of these additional tasks will be paid for by Hoopla and will not take money from our crowdsourced fund. The crowdsourcing fund will be reserved for the improv outreach workshops as that's the part we aren't capable of running without financial help.
How the improv outreach worker project is initially funded:
- This crowdsourcing fund.
- Fundraising shows, events and festivals run by Hoopla.
- An additional commitment of £5000 from Hoopla.
We aim to have this fund the first 1-2 years of the project.
We are not applying for arts council funding yet as we want to get the project up and running as a soon as possible and feel there would be too long a delay to wait for external funding especially as a lot of arts council funding at the moment will be going to corona recovery rather than new projects. We also want the creative and political freedom to bring the work to where we feel it is most needed.
How the project is funded longer term:
- Ongoing fundraising events from Hoopla.
- Ongoing donations from Hoopla.
- Corporate sponsorship (we have no experience of this though so please contact us if you can help).
- Arts council funding (we have no experience of this though so please contact us if you can help).
- Other funding organisations.
- Ongoing donations to this crowdsourcing fund.
Where the money goes:
Donations to this crowdfunder go to a separate bank account than normal Hoopla, so will not get caught up in Hoopla's core costs and general admin. Once we have recruited the outreach worker (later this summer as lockdown eases) we will be setting this fund up as a separate organisation to make sure that 100% of your donations go to diversity & inclusion improv outreach work and maximise action.
Hoopla will also continue to fund the following things themselves outside of this project:
- Diversity scholarships for all courses.
- Do the Right Scene improv workshops for BAME improvisers.
- Do the Right Scene improv shows for BAME improvisers.
- Internal diversity training.
- Hoopla house team system including new shows featuring BAME improvisers.
- Recruitment of new BAME teachers.
- General admin supporting and promoting this project.
- Providing an admin support team for the outreach worker including training manager and shows producer.
Improv builds community and brings people together through play. After lockdown is over we will need improv in our lives more than ever, and Hoopla wants to be there to bring the joy of improvising to as many people as possible, once it is safe to do so.
Hoopla have worked tirelessly for almost 15 years to bring the joy of improv to as many people as possible. This includes:
- Running improv classes for 1000s of people!
- Offering diversity scholarships to 100s of people each year!
- Establishing London's 1st improv theatre!
- Providing performance opportunities and jams for 1000s of performers at all levels!
- Growing the improv audience for London and the UK!
- Putting on festivals and marathons that bring improvisers together from across the globe!
- Establishing groups and shows that grow the diversity of the improv scene!
- Pioneering London's first BAME, LGBT and women in improv nights!
We believe improv helps with confidence, creativity, listening, collaboration, teamwork, self expression, relationships, mental health and general wellbeing.
Most of all improv at Hoopla is loads of fun!
We believe that this should be available to everyone, of all ages and backgrounds, so please donate and help us make bring improv to everyone!
Improv for everyone
Facebook Group: Hoopla Impro People
Facebook Page: /HooplaImpro
- Swetha Ramachandran
- Kasia Uscinska
- Alex de Bruijne
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