Who are The Maydays?
The Maydays are an improvised comedy company based in Brighton, England. We have been performing and teaching improv since 2004, as well as running the UK's first residential improv festival, now in it's fifth year. With a collective training from over 75 teachers, The Maydays studied improvisation in the USA at Second City, iO and Annoyance, and we regularly fund international teachers to come and work with us in the UK.
If your last experience of improvised comedy was a TV show in the mid eighties, it's time to fasten your seatbelt cos times have changed! Our style is different. We perform 'longform' shows - a richer, more fluid style where a full theatrical experience is created in the moment. Whilst this style of improv is flourishing in America, it is still pretty niche here in England. But we are helping to change that. The British improv revolution is happening...
Ah *sigh* if only revolutions didn't cost money; we could just whisper into the wind and brand new audiences would sprout up from the ground like beanstalks! But at the moment many people do not know that this kind of improvisational theatre exists, or is even possible. When they discover us they love it, so we have to find them and show them what we do.
We are taking our show ‘Confessions’ to Edinburgh Festival Fringe - the biggest arts festival in the world. We are working with an experienced producer to sell the show, engaging a PR company to get as much media coverage as possible and performing every day for the best part of a month at one of the festival’s main venues.
This is all in place. It is definitely happening. But it is a mindbogglingly expensive investment! The cost is £16,000...
.... before food.
And we like food.
That's a lot of money! Is Edinburgh really worth it?
Yes. To strip away all the ‘glamour and showbiz (!)’ – Edinburgh Festival is essentially the largest trade fair for the arts industry. To get our work into the public consciousness it has to be seen by people who are willing to invest in it and so we need to be up there making contacts, promoting ourselves and improv to the masses.
We go up to the festival every year to host the Improsium – a single event which brings all the national and international troupes together into one passionate room where we can geek out about our love for improv and plot ways in which to take over the world! This is a great networking event that gets bigger every year but to really get the most out of Edinburgh you need to take a show up there.
What is Confessions?
Confessions is a fully improvised show based on real life tales. The audience anonymously write down their true stories before we start and we use those as inspiration to create a totally unique show.
The format works on many levels. As well as being entertaining, it is a wonderful chance to peek inside the secret lives of others. Brilliant if you're nosy! When else would you get the chance to discover the secrets of strangers without having your ear pressed up against a grimy toilet wall?! Plus there is something magical about the shared experience: hearing admissions that are being made for perhaps the very first time and creating theatre in an instant, which will forever exist only for the people who were there that night.
The things that have been confessed are truly staggering – oh yes! From the saucy to the ridiculous to the downright shocking it has been such as successful format that we have published a book featuring some of the confessions we’ve heard. And that is just one of the juicy little rewards you can choose from as a thank you for helping fund the Confessions project .
What will the funds be used for?
Our Kickstarter goal is just the tip of the iceberg. Kickstarter works in such a way that if we don't reach our target we get nothing, so we have kept it as low as we realistically can.
Beyond that is the additional cost of feeding and watering ourselves for the month. If all 12 Maydays just have one sausage roll per day during the festival we're already looking at another £600 ... and probably scurvy.
And we really don't want scurvy.
Our project doesn’t stop once we’ve been to Edinburgh. We will continue to keep building the improv scene in England through our shows, our classes and our international relations. The effect of a successful Edinburgh run, and the press coverage associated with it, will mean we will be more prolific and have a wider reach. That, in turn, will take us one step closer to reaching our ultimate goal of opening our own venue – Britain’s first theatre dedicated entirely to the art of improvisation. And that will be a happy day indeed!
Improvisation literally changes people’s lives. Bold but true! Modern life makes it more and more difficult to live in the present moment. When people discover improv it can feel like a lightbulb going on. You can be free. You can be fearless. The skills you learn improve confidence, communication, creativity and help you cope better in stressful situations. There are so many brilliant reasons to learn how to improvise that it should be taught in schools.
But the bottom line is we do it because its fun. Fun in a scary way like running down a hill so fast you don’t know if you’re going to fall over and die or actually start flying. It’s drama, dance, music, comedy and poetry in one delicious, unpredictable package. You create a world of infinite possibilities where anything can happen and then you go and play in it. How awesome is that?!
“ inspired, always great, occasionally laceratingly funny, and at times deeply affecting.” *****Fringe Guru
"One of the best improvised shows out there, and you get the feeling that any of these actors could easily hold their own with the likes of Merton, Frost and Jupitus...a must see" **** Chortle
"They’re funny, confident, imaginative, charming and not afraid of making themselves look ridiculous. They will turn your secrets and stories into something to make you laugh your socks off. Go see them if you can." **** Fringe Review
“The Maydays are England's vanguard of long-form improvisation" Jason Chin (iO, Chicago)
"The Maydays are an improv ensemble firmly committed to artistic growth and challenge, unwilling to settle for simply being awesome. It makes them exciting to watch and a pleasure to work with." Rich and Rebecca Sohn (The Annoyance, Chicago)
Thank you for your time. We hope you are able to support the Confessions project and our mission to bring the art of improvisation into the British mainstream where it belongs.
The Maydays xx
Risks and challenges
The venue is booked, the team is onboard, the show will go on.
Once the project is funded there is minimal risk. We never have the full company in a show so if cast members are taken ill we can adapt.
We carry third party insurance. In the unlikely event that a disaster hits the festival and forces it to close down then we shall have to improvise. If such extreme circumstances occur then we'll be glad to be alive!
- (30 days)