After organising and running Liverpool’s first improvathon in memory of Ken Campbell, former Artistic Director of the Everyman Theatre, Rosie and Angie had no idea that almost 5 years later they would embark on their greatest role yet, as directors of a successful Community Interest Company (CIC).
|Photo: Lucy Hannah Photography|
Impropriety CIC are Liverpool’s premier improvisation theatre company. ‘We use fun, games and messing about a bit to create scenes, songs and silliness never seen before, or to be seen again! With professional performers from a variety of backgrounds, Impropriety creates its own unique style that’s high on improv, low on script.’
Between them, the pair boast a wealth of performing arts experience which has laid a solid foundation from which the company has grown.
Angie: ‘I am a founder member of Kabosh Theatre Company in Belfast (20 years this year!) and was a touring stage manager and actor for many years. I had previously received a BA hons in Theatre Studies from the University of Ulster.'
Rosie: ‘As well as working in an arts café, I’ve been working on various shows and events as a director, technician and stage manager. I also attended Liverpool Hope University where I got a BA hons in Drama and Theatre Studies with English Literature.’
Both run the company alongside full time jobs to ensure that as well as any funding they may receive, they can rely on themselves with finance being key to their business.
‘The main barrier to starting any artistic business is money. Funding for the arts is always tight so we had to be sure we were in a position to self-fund. Working in the arts for so long means we understand that sometimes you need to take jobs that aren't necessarily related to your chosen profession to pay the rent.’
During the process of registering Impropriety as a CIC, the duo received support from The Women’s Organisation.
‘Starting up a business sounded very daunting, especially taking on the responsibilities of being Directors. It was really nice to find out it wasn't as daunting as we first thought!’
‘Claire our business advisor helped us a great deal, especially with our business plan and financial forecast. We got help with the actual setting up as a CIC and a business bank account. They also gave us a £200 grant package which was nice!’
Becoming a CIC has enabled the Liverpool residents to do more work in schools and access more funding opportunities, which has dramatically increased their reach which has of course had an impact on the size of the company. Impropriety CIC has now seen its most successful year to date, with 80% of their projects coming from people and organisations who have approached them.
‘Being a theatre company, the outcome of our hard work in the office results is seeing audience members laughing a lot, both loyal followers and new audiences. We are also able to spread “improv love” to many more people now, whether that is local schools or public workshops.’
The pair are extremely proud of where the decision to become self-employed has taken them. Along with others who have been involved in running the company for the past few years unofficially, Rosie and Angie feel privileged to be the ones to take Impropriety to the next stage of its evolution.
‘We are very grateful to The Women's Organisation for all their help and support in setting up the company and are excited to take Impropriety to the next level.’
Impropriety CIC are a shining example of how choosing to move forward with something you love and having a good understanding of an industry can be very rewarding and beneficial, both to themselves and the organisations, people and communities they reach.
If you would like to get involved in the unpredictable world of improv, visit www.impropriety.co.uk to find out more about the workshops you can get involved in, both public and private. For more information, you can contact directly via firstname.lastname@example.org and to see what it’s all about, Impropriety can be found on Youtube: ImproprietyUK Twitter: @impropriety Facebook: facebook.com/impropriety
If you would like support with a business idea or passion of your own, contact The Women's Organisation for free 1-2-1 business advice sessions and business related workshops email@example.com / 0151 706 8111 or visit www.thewomensorganisation.org.uk
Portrait photograph by Lucy Hannah Photography