YBY ep 279: Jess Napthine-Hodgkinson and how performing and appreciating Art has shaped her perspective of the world.
This week on Yes But Why Podcast, listen in as I chat with Improvisation facilitator, training developer and Higher Education professional, Jess Napthine-Hodgkinson.
Jess Napthine-Hodgkinson is an improviser based in Glossop, England. She has been performing and teaching improv for 15 years. Jess is the co-founder of Glossop Improv alongside Sekki Tabasuares. Together, they provide a weekly online improv workshop to improvisers all over the world.
Being an improviser with multiple sclerosis (MS) led Jess to set up Brain Fog Improv – a space for improvisers with unseen conditions to share, learn and connect. Brain Fog Improv is a community of improvisers with autoimmune, neurological and other conditions that have invisible symptoms. It’s a safe space to share experiences and connect as well as a forum to provide support for others.
A self-professed “shy” person, Jess and I met in an online improv workshop called “Smoldering 101 with Stephanie Rae.” (Highly recommended by the way.) It was essentially staring at your own face while getting your confidence boosted. It was awesome. It never occurred to me that anyone on my screen was shy. Jess and I became fast Facebook friends right after.
In our conversation, Jess says that, as a child, she spent much of her time reading and so she had a rich fantasy life. We talk about all the ways we fill our creative cups, from taking online workshops to appreciating a painting.
We rabbit hole on visual art. First, we discuss how neither one of us can draw very well (not that that stops us from crafting). Jess mentions being impressed with the drawings of past guest Aree Witoelar and I agree I love his posts online.
We talk about Jess going to school for religious studies and being enamored of all the emotionally charged art that has been made for religions. Jess tells me of her love of Caravaggio’s artwork and the thesis paper she wrote about the religious undertones of movies like Bad Lieutenant and Taxi Driver. I believe this deep dive into art that Jess did in her higher education laid the groundwork for her future as a performer.
We talk about her mentor, David Ash, who introduced her to performing improv. Her work with Lancaster Improv Xpress gave her the confidence to teach improv and the opportunity to perform in international improv festivals.
This experience with her Lancaster improv community also really hooked Jess into being a diehard theater person (like me). Jess tells the story of when she moved to Glossop. On her first day in town, she went over to the local theater to ask how she could get involved. This is totally my MO as well when I have moved to new places so I loved this story.
We talk about doing improv online and the way covid has affected our work in theater. Ever the optimist, Jess says that the online improv workshops she has taken in quarantine have helped her to gain a new level of empathy and perspective. She also mentions recent joy she has found in just observing people. I am also glad people watching is back!
Support Jess Napthine-Hodgkinson:
Attend free online drop-ins for all through Glossop Improv! Glossop Improv was founded by Jess Napthine-Hodgkinson and Sekki Tabasuares to provide fun, free, and friendly drop-in workshops focusing on communication, confidence and creativity. All levels of improv experience are welcome, from absolute beginners to seasoned improvisors. Fridays 7-8.30PM BST. Get weekly zoom link via the Glossop Improv Facebook page!
Support and join Brain Fog Improv! Brain Fog Improv is a private Facebook group where you can talk to people in a similar situation about the ups and downs of being an improviser with an unseen health condition. You absolutely do not have to have a condition to be a member of the group, all are welcome. Visit HERE to join! The group meets regularly via Zoom for a Brain Fog Cafe where members can get to know each other and share experiences from the comfort of their own home.
Yes But Why Podcast is a proud member of the HC Universal Network family of podcasts. Visit us at HCUniversalNetwork.com to join in on the fun. #YesButWhy #Podcast #HCUniversalNetwork
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