YBY ep 273: David Escobedo and getting a punk rock PhD in improv.
This week on Yes But Why Podcast, I talk to improviser and academic, David Escobedo.
David Escobedo has been coaching and performing improv since 1995, starting his career in San Diego and Los Angeles. He has his BA and MA in Drama; and, David is currently pursuing his PhD in Drama with a focus on improv at the University of Chester in the UK. His Masters thesis paper was on how an improviser’s voice (background/experience) is the most valuable element to an improv team and show. David loves improv so much he wrote a book about it called “This Improv Book.”
In our conversation, David teaches me a lot about the beginnings of improv and a few important details and people that the history of improv does not often talk about. David tells me the story of how Neva Boyd and her “theory of play” inspired Viola Spolin to create improv games as a means of building community in Chicago.
We talk about how the culture of improv institutions has become more about selling a package and less about building a community. We discuss gatekeeping in both the improv world and in academia as David is experiencing it now. David mentions the book, “Whose Improv Is It Anyway” by Amy Seham as a great resource on that topic.
We chat about why we love improv and how we got into it. David talks about the value of connecting with people and the pure joy that one can find in an improv jam with friends.
Support David Escobedo by following him on his website, The Improv Boost, through which he spreads the joy of improv teachers across the world. We chat about how he wants us to focus most on the great improv teachers of the world and less about the improv institutions and this is the website where David puts that idea to work.
You can also check out his sci-fi themed improv collective, Wretched Hive Comedy streaming regularly on Twitch. And you just have to watch out for the upcoming projects of David’s Harry Potter themed troupe, Mischief Managed Improv via Facebook!
What else is upcoming for David Escobedo? Well, he is about to be a father in the next few weeks (likely days)!! So that’s exciting! Also, David will be continuously working on his doctorate in Performing Arts and will be awarded his punk rock PhD in two years.
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