Tag Archives: John Cooper

Improvising in Ireland at Improv Utopia

I had an amazing time this weekend  at Improv Utopia in Ireland.  Joining over 100 improvisers from all over the world for games, workshops and loads of fun.

An opportunity to meet an improvise with folk from the USA, Ireland and  other countries all in one place. I’ve been to plenty of improv conventions in America over the last ten with my comedysportz troupe,  and honestly didn’t know what to expect from this – but it was every bit as cool as I’d hoped.

 

We took over Newgrange Lodge just North of  Dublin with some expert teachers including Nick Armstrong, Katy Schutte, and Neil Curran as well as the lovely Craig and Carla Cackowski From L.A.

Watching improv people together in large groups is quite a thing to behold, and probably quite curious to the outside world.  We played ‘diamond dance’ outside in the blistering sunshine. It’s a game about dance moves, but also leadership…but really – dance moves!  I could see the staff of Newgrange Lodge watching us, clearly a little bewildered and  amused by what they were watching.

Each workshop covered a different discipline.  From group work to using emotion, character and selling yourself.  The weekend reaffirmed  my love for improv and how it’s a great tool for connecting and building relationships.  Improv Utopia has been running for many years in the US, but this is the first time they have organised a residential outside of the US – and it proved to be a great success.  Big thanks to all the guys who put it together, it felt like being in America without actually being in America.

Sell it! – workshop with Craig Cackowski

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About John Cooper

He’s performed in hundreds of theatres around the UK and internationally as part of the CSz Manchester improv troupe. He has delivered workshops on how to use humour  and improv in business, taking part in the BBC2 series ‘The Speaker’ and the BBC New Comedy Awards. John is author of Present Yourself! – An illustrated guide to speaking in public and building confidence.

 

Storytelling: getting your voice heard with Power to Change @ Locality 2017

Storytelling: getting your voice heard. John Cooper blogs about the break out training session offered by Power to Change at the Locality Convention 2017

On the 14th November I was invited by community business organisation Power to Change to deliver a break out session at the Locality Convention in Manchester. If you were there, hello! Public speaking   workshop. storytelling workshop  

Big thanks to Claire and the team at Power to Change for inviting me along. It was really quite inspiring to be around so many community leaders, people who ‘get things done’ for the betterment of their local communities.

The session was about providing practical techniques that would get their voices heard at local authority level,  to gain funding for their projects. It was a bit whistle stop as I tried to cram in a lot from what I’ve learned over the years;  being confident and comfortable speaking and sharing to developing empathy in a narrative.  I was  aware these attendees probably had their own story to tell, and indeed they did.  Everyone I spoke to over the afternoon and evening reception had an incredible story to tell. Choices they had made, often selflessly,  to make things better for those around them. Events they had made happen, goals achieved or journeys that had just begun with a sentence along the lines of  “…so I quit my regular job to go do this instead”.

The strength of character in the room was tangible ( I even shared a bit of my own story)  and I was pretty humbled at the end of the session when co-organiser Charlotte showed me the feedback from attendees while I sold some of my books.

Power to Change put on a great evening reception, highlighting the history of community business with a book launch and a play  by the Manchester Shakespeare Company.

Not a bad way to spend my birthday.

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workshops for community businesses. training for community business.