Olivier award-winning improv musical, Showstopper returns to the Lowry. We meet Salford Quays resident and actor, Jonathan Ainscourt who joins the cast creating a brand new musical every night.
How long have you been with Showstoppers and how did you get involved?
Jonathan: “I’ve been performing with the Showstoppers for about three years; I’d seen them in Edinburgh and in the West End, and absolutely loved them – so, when I saw that they were auditioning for new members, I jumped at the opportunity!”
This is the first stop on the 2020 tour. Have there been any changes to the format? What can audiences expect?
Jonathan: “Audiences can expect a fully-staged, two-act musical, with everything that entails – a thrilling story-line, amazing songs and dance routines, unforgettable characters, a fantastic live band – it just happens to be completely made up on the spot, inspired by audience suggestions for the setting, musical styles and title. The format is still a winner: you suggest it, we sing it!”
What is your link to Salford?
Jonathan: “I live here! I had been living in the centre of Manchester for a while, then moved to Salford Quays about a year ago and I’ve completely loved it; it’s so peaceful and beautiful here”.
Will you be including any local references in the show?
Jonathan: “That depends on where the audience decide to set it! The first Showstopper! I did at the Lowry was set in a post-apocalyptic flooded Manchester, so I remember we squeezed in a few nods to the local area”.
What are you most looking forward to about your Lowry dates?
Jonathan: “It’s wonderful to perform to a home crowd; there’ll be lots of my friends and colleagues watching, which always gives it an extra burst of excitement. Also, the Quays Theatre at the Lowry is one of my favourite spaces in which to perform and experience theatre – no matter where you sit, you feel completely connected to what’s happening on stage”.
What do you most enjoy about improv?
Jonathan: “I love the collaborative nature of it: the way you’re working so closely with the people on stage with you and, indeed, the people in the audience. The sense of creating something wonderful, together, from scratch, is so exhilarating”.
How do you keep your ideas fresh?
Jonathan: “Whenever we perform Showstopper!, there’s a new combination of people in the room with us, with new ideas, new energy and new reactions. It means we can automatically start afresh and create something that’s never been seen before”.
What advice would you give someone who would like to try improv?
Jonathan: “Absolutely give it a go. Have a look to see what’s going on where you live (there are improv groups, quite literally, everywhere) and sign up to a class or a workshop. Improv develops so many qualities that are helpful in all areas of life, not just performing – listening to the people around you, trusting your instincts, responding in the moment – and it is also ridiculously fun”.
Are there any shout outs you’d like to hear from the crowd?
Jonathan: “I’m rather partial to a historical setting… but anywhere exciting and evocative is fine by me!”
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Jonathan: “Come help us make up a musical! We’d love to see you there”.
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is at The Lowry on 16 and 17 January 2020. For tickets visit www.thelowry.com