The director of Birmingham Improv Festival, Jon Trevor, looks forward to this year’s five-day programme of comedy which promises to be bigger and better than ever
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
How long have you got? I have been an actor, theatre director, writer, salesman, university lecturer, journalist, CEO of three SMEs, trainer, facilitator, consultant. I’m an adopted son of the West Midlands, arriving in the early Nineties to run a touring theatre company. I then set up my own theatre company, creating a series of quirky shows, including A Brief History of Time – the stage show which toured nationally with the blessing of the late Stephen Hawking. I struggle with staying still – perhaps I’ve just got a short attention span. I no longer call myself a jack-of-all-trades, but a rather more respectful term – a wide achiever.
IT’S WHAT I DO
With this particular hat on, I’m the director of the Birmingham Improv Festival. This year we have forged a partnership with the wonderful Midlands Arts Centre and pulled together a stunning five-day programme of 18 amazing improvised comedy shows from the top companies in the UK and beyond. It’s my job to make sure that everything is in place for the festival to run smoothly, and that everyone gets paid!
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE
This is the fourth Birmingham Improv Festival, and we’ve got bigger and better every time. I would like Birmingham to become the Edinburgh Festival of Improv, making it every improv company’s burning ambition to come and play here. I’d also like to spread the joy and fun of performing improv as widely as possible around the city, and I’m thrilled that this year we have been awarded money by Arts Council England to offer free workshops throughout the area.
Building the improv scene in Birmingham from literally nothing 12 years ago to the thriving community we have now, with workshops, shows and classes happening every week. As a small festival we continually punch above our weight.
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED
Performing and teaching improv has taught me that absolutely everyone is creative, whatever they think of themselves. People are amazing when they allow themselves to be and I adore watching newcomers discover how funny they can be without even trying.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM
I’ve been here 25 years, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else now. Brummies are so friendly, funny and down to earth. I love the melting pot that the city is – you can eat your way round the world and never venture beyond the Ring Road. And I love that dry Brummie sense of humour.
Sorry, remind me what that is? Maybe try asking me again when the festival is over!
Get to Midlands Arts Centre from 28 September to 2 October to see an amazing variety of improv shows! Tickets at: https://birminghamimprovfestival.com/