YBY ep 306: Emma Bird and the importance of saying YES

In this episode of Yes But Why, I speak with Actor, Theatre Director, and Improviser, Emma Bird.

Emma Bird Liverpool Comedy ImprovBased out of Liverpool, UK, Emma Bird began her acting career in 1990 featuring in a lead role alongside Pete Postlethwaite, in the BBC film, Needle. While being represented by Independent Talent agency in London, she began a successful career in television, most notably as series regular Maxine Price in Casualty (1992). Emma has been featured in the films, Seventeen (with Rachel Weisz, 1996) and The Governess (with Minnie Driver, 1997) among others. Notable theatre work includes The Good Hope (The Royal National Theatre and UK tour), David Mamet’s Oleanna (Norwich Playhouse), and Ariel Dorfman’s Death & the Maiden (Hope Street Theatre, Liverpool). Emma is also a celebrated theater director that has directed critically acclaimed productions at Brighton, Manchester and Liverpool Fringe Festivals.

Emma Bird Death and the Maiden

Ariel Dorfman’s Death & the Maiden

Emma began improvising in 2007 and has since trained with leading improv professionals with a broad range of styles and philosophies from schools such as Second City, iO; UCB; Annoyance Theatre & The Groundlings. Teachers include The Maydays, Jaime Moyer; David Razowsky; Liz Allen; Michael Gellman; Rachel Mason & Susan Messing; Will Hines; Jay Sukow; Brian Palermo; Jeff Michalski; Michelle Gilliam; Shannon Stott; Jonathan Pitts; Aretha Sills; Armando Diaz, amongst others.

Liverpool Comedy Improv

Logo by Mart Gordon Digital Design and Strategy

Emma Bird is the Founder & Director of Liverpool Comedy Improv (LCI). Started in 2015, Liverpool Comedy Improv provides the opportunity to learn improvisation in Liverpool and across Merseyside. She has founded, developed, performed and directed four improv teams. Currently performing with Boss Birds Improv (Liverpool’s first all women team); and duo team Moses & Bird. Emma is one of the leading teachers of comedy improvisation in Liverpool and the North West. Emma’s approach to teaching improv is grounded in her 30 year professional experience as an actor and theatre director.

In my conversation with the very impressive Emma Bird, she told me how, onstage, she plays cheeky, silly, and “a bit bonkers.” Emma spoke to me about finding her people when she joined a youth theater group at the age of 7. She talked about creating that same kind of community with Liverpool Comedy Improv (LCI).Boss Birds Liverpool Comedy Improv

We chatted about tapping into imaginative play as a kid and connecting with your own playful spirit as an adult. We spent time going over what we learned from the pandemic. We both agreed that, for us personally, live theater feels more life affirming that zoomprov. (Though we do both love the opportunity we had to meet and connect through this medium!)

Emma Bird Liverpool Comedy ImprovWe talked about the benefits of being a go getter with your own creative projects. “Make it and they will come,” she says. We discuss the importance of saying YES.

You can support Emma Bird by attending a class at Liverpool Comedy Improv online or in person! You can also buy LCI merch from wherever you are in the world!

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(production notes: recorded zoom meeting via Rodecaster on 2/3/2022; posted on 3/14/2022)

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