YBY ep 323: Joe Thompson on finding the tools to create your own worlds.
This week on Yes But Why, I chatted with Joe Thompson, an improv performer and teacher based out of Sheffield, UK.
Joe Thompson started his improv career 9 years ago at the University of Sheffield, where he joined and later became Artistic Director of the university improv society ‘The Shrimps’.
Since then, he has been featured in the Leicester Comedy Award nominated long form group ‘Scriptless in Seattle’ and performed at the Y-Not Festival with Sturike Comedy. Joe’s interest in improv is academic as well – he got his Masters in Arts and Cultural Management and his thesis examined hierarchies within improv communities! (I’ve got to read that paper!)
These days, you can find Joe running monthly nights with his production company Little Chicago as well as teaching and performing at various venues throughout the UK. Joe Thompson currently co-runs and teaches improv with the Spontaneity and Sheffield Steel (SASS Improv) theater group alongside improv colleague, Owen Scrivens.
In our conversation, we first explored different styles of storytelling. We did a particular deep dive on JJ Abrams, who I really love! (oh hey, watch out because there are How I Met Your Mother spoilers in the opening discussion).
Joe told me how the Pokemon shows he watched as a kid inspired him to create his own storylines at home when playing with his toys. We talk about immersive games and “playing narratively not competitively.” Joe and I connected on so many levels; this was a great conversation about creating art in our current cultural landscape.
A big topic that came up multiple times was how sometimes making money with your art can affect the art that you create. We discussed how to find your own voice as an artist.
If you live close to Sheffield, you can support Joe Thompson by performing with or attending the shows of Spontaneity and Sheffield Steel (SASS Improv)! Connect with them on Facebook at facebook.com/sassimprov !
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(production notes: recorded zoom meeting via Rodecaster on 9/22/2022; posted on 9/26/2022)