Community Action

On Saturday night The Improv Conspiracy Theatre hosted Everything Must Go, a show I was fortunate enough to produce. It was my take on all improv-All Tomorrow’s Parties festival – I’ll ask a bunch of my favourite teams to perform, have a little play myself, and add all the MB trademark flair (baked goods and dumb bits) to put my signature on the evening.  The turnout was great, the performances were spectacular, and the people who spoke to me seemed to really enjoy the night. All in all, good times.

Here’s the confession: I can’t take credit for it.

I’ve been with The Improv Conspiracy for just over two years. Now I’m off, to go chase some dreams that I’ve had before improv even came into my life. I’m excited but it’s a bittersweet excitement, because I have to give up being a part of the community that gives me so much ongoing joy.

When I signed up for Level 1, my aim was to develop some personal skills then walk away after the eight weeks. Intentions of being a performer, or even taking up further classes were zero – this was development and nothing more. What kept me on this road was the encouragement of people around me – students, teachers, Conspiracy performers.

These people were kind to me simply because they made the choice to be kind. They didn’t have to be. I wasn’t a good performer. I didn’t share a warm, open personality with them. I was scared of my shadow. They took action and made me feel welcome. In turn, their kindness lit a fire inside, on stage and off. It drove change within me, regarding how I felt about myself and how I look at the world. It also gave me a duty – to take action and make others feel as welcome as I felt.

I think that’s the secret to any community. A community is made valuable by having its members take action. Some people will take more action, others less; but it needs the involvement of everyone in that community doing something in order for it to succeed. It doesn’t need to be anything spectacular. It could be as small as saying hello to a stranger at the next Harold Night, or yes and-ing your partner in your next scene. That’s something.

That’s why an event like Everything Must Go occurred, and why I can’t take credit for it. The community came together and made it happen. I simply packaged it. The community performed, the community sat in the audience, the community ate brownies and drank cans of Coke and laughed out loud. Everything Must Go was the community coming together and supporting each other, nothing more. To walk away from a group of people who feel that way about each other is incredibly hard because really, why would you leave such a good thing by choice?

But I’m ok with it. The Improv Conspiracy community will live on long after I’m gone, because there will always be someone taking action. Here’s hoping it’s you.