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Follow us on twitter OVLMagazine Find us on Facebook OVL Magazine 65 T he pressure of being quick-witted spontaneous and funny on demand might not sound like fun for most of us but for a team of young Sharnbrook Mill Theatre members its something they happily turn up for on a monthly basis to perform improvised comedy to members of the public. At the Drop of a Hat is Bedfords answer to Whose Line is it Anyway - the improvisation comedy show of the 1990s that helped make household names of Josie Lawrence Tony Slattery and Paul Merton. The team was forged by the Mills youth coordinator Paul Wildman in 2009 from student members of the Mill Theatre and they have steadily matured and developed their craft over the last few years receiving rave reviews from a loyal following using the skills of collaboration teamwork and storytelling to entertain their audience. The premise is fairly straightforward a series of games are played using ideas from the audiences suggestions to create spontaneous scenes and sketches. Paul Wildman explains I have been passionate about theatrical improvisation for the last 20 years it can be easily dismissed as a bit of fun but the skills I have learnt in workshops can be used in everyday life and work communication skills of listening collaboration teamwork and co-creation. It is about removing the individual ego accepting all ideas as offers and making each other look good. The team supports each member. If anyone tries to steal attention or pull focus this happens at the expense of the scene and takes away from the playfulness of the show our audience likes to see us have fun - the energy is contagious and transfers itself onto them. At the Drop of a Hat has some wonderfully talented performers although I firmly believe these are skills that we are all born with and are capable of unlocking. Children are wonderfully spontaneous creative and funny but as we get older we are taught to suppress these impulses as a result the world can become a little less exciting and grey. Improvisation reawakens these instincts. Its something thats naturally inherent to everyone we have our structures and routines but we still improvise our conversations and behaviour within these whether its solving a problem at work or using the ingredients we have in the house to cook an evening meal. Metaphorically our show is the same - we improvise sketches within the structures of the games. Performers in At the Drop of a Hat are Lizzee Hagen Laurence Kirkwood Amelia Newman Tim Palmer Dan Robinson Megan Robinson Sam Robinson Antonia Testa Connor Tugulu Joe Windo and Ian Yarwood. They perform monthly shows at the Mill Theatre in Sharnbrook on Friday evenings. Please check the Sharnbrook Mill Theatre website for details www.sharnbrookmilltheatre.co.uk or follow them on Facebook and Twitter improvhat