Q&A with Jumprov, Birmingham Comedy Festival


The independent award-winning annual city-wide arts festival, Birmingham Comedy Festival is back this October with a bang!

Birmingham Comedy Festival takes place from Friday 7 to Sunday 16 October 2022. It’s another great event to build on the success of 2022 for Birmingham.

Check out the lineup for the Birmingham Comedy Festival on our website!

With that in mind, we’ve got a great Q&A for you from two people involved with Jumprov. The UK’s first Black and Brown Improv group will be performing at the Birmingham Hippodrome as part of the event, full details are below. DLUXE are joined by Jumprov’s founder Sunny Dhap and the group’s producer and founding member, Jade Samuels.

So, what is it like being a part of Birmingham’s Comedy Festival in a year that has been so exciting for the city?

Jade: It’s an honour, Jumprov represents everything that Brum standards for being the youngest and most diverse city in Europe, plus Brummies’ have the best sense of humour!

Do you believe this festival is part of the legacy of Birmingham this year? If so, why is it essential for the city to have this legacy after the past 9 months?

Jade: The city has the most untapped source of talent in the country, Brummies’ are amazing, they’re just awful at shouting about themselves. It’s crucial the stage that has been set during the Games for the talent in the city is kept as accessible as it has been in recent times to ensure talent gets the recognition it deserves.

You are a part of Jumprov, the UK’s first Black and Brown improv collective. What inspired you to create a collective like yours?

Sunny: I saw the lack of diversity and representation in the improv scene first-hand both on the stage and in the audience. I thought this issue was just a Birmingham thing but then I realised it was a UK wide issue. So, I took action and founded, Jumprov, an improv group made up exclusively of Black and Brown people. It was important for me to also have performers who are from Birmingham in the group as I wanted to showcase that Birmingham has talented creatives. We have so many amazing performers in Jumprov who are just as passionate about improv and representation such as Jade Samuels, Rheo Daley, Gurpreet Boparai, Sara Anifowose and Junelle Jae.

Why is there a lack of diversity in improv groups across the UK? How has Jumprov ensured this is a form of theatre that people engage with when creating their work?

Jade: The improv games (sketches) are just not seen as being for people from Black and Brown communities, they don’t see the artform as necessarily being for them – what Jumprov does it take those traditional games and make them fit into our own experiences! We use the text messages out of audience members’ phones and rap music and our mother tongues and incorporate them into the traditional improv sketches, making them ‘Jumprov-fied.’

Improv is one of the most challenging theatre forms but very intriguing for audiences – why did Jumprov’s work focus on this strand primarily?

Sunny: Improv has the ability to bring experiences and stories which have never been told directly to the stage and in front of a live audience with a direct lightning bolt access without months or years of writing and editing, like regular written theatre plays.

How does your collective develop their work and define the skill of improv over time?

Jade: We meet on a regular basis and we are always making up new games! I teach improv at Performers College in Birmingham, so am always finding new ways to push us to the limit and ensure we are on our toes!

It’s really exciting you are coming to Birmingham Comedy Festival in October. Can you tell us a little more about the work you will present?

Jade: Jumprov will be performing a series of short form sketches using suggestions from the audience members that have been completely made up on the spot. We have no idea what the show will be, as we are in as much darkness as the audience, but together we will make sure this is a fun, entertaining, crazy night!

What main influences have you drawn on for this piece of work?

Jade: We take the traditional improv games from shows like ‘Who’s line is it anyway?’, but we are all massively inspired by the Black and Brown great comedians and sketch shows that have gone before us (Goodness Gracious Me, The Real McCoy). As well as being huge fans of Black American comedians like Dave Chappelle, we are also massive fans of fellow Brummie comedian Joe Lycett!

Are there any difficulties with this type of work either when you are developing it or presenting it to audiences?

Jade: We have to make sure we make our audiences feel safe and get them on side from the start, and the way in which we do that differs depending on the different types of audience. A theatre audience at a place like Birmingham Hippodrome will have different needs to say the Black Comedy Scene – it’s our job to ensure all that enter the Jumprov experience have a good time!

For those people who are coming to see Jumprov’s work for the first time – what can they expect from watching you?

The Unexpected!!!! We are making this all up so the type of audience we have in massively effects the show we put on. HOWEVER we will be sure to bring the fun AND the crazy.

11. Finally, why should people book tickets to see Jumprov as part of Birmingham Comedy Festival?

Jade: We really represent what it is to be from Brum, we will make sure you have a good time, and we promise you a night like no other you have ever experienced!!

Jumprov! heads to Birmingham Hippodrome as part of the Birmingham Comedy Festival on Sat 8 October at 7.45pm. Buy your tickets now.

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