Q&A with Katy Shutte

We talked to one of the UK’s longest standing longform improvisers, Katy Shutte, about her two upcoming workshops at the Bristol Improv Theatre…


Q: Hi Katy! Thrilled to have you hosting some online workshops at the BIT this winter! Can you tell us a little bit about what’s coming up?

I’m leading an immersive improv experience based on a pre-reality TV show called Ghostwatch from the 90s and I’ve (improv) gamified some of Brené Brown’s excellent research on vulnerability and empathy.

Q: Sounds great, we’d love to know more! Let’s start with ‘Ghostwatch’- where did the idea come from & how did you put it together?

Since improv moved to Zoom I’ve been wanting to do something where being alone in our houses can be terrifying! My last scripted show was a folk horror and I’m also borrowing heavily from the scary experience of watching Ghostwatch as a kid in the ‘90s. I’m basing the form on the beats in Ghostwatch and giving everyone separate missions, characters and tasks like a role playing game.

Q: And the same question for your ‘Play Like Brené’ workshop- for those who haven’t heard of her, can you tell us where your love of Brené’s work came from?

I saw Brené’s now super famous TED talk years ago followed by her series on Netflix. I was thrilled to come across this incredible body of evidence and work around vulnerability and I’d like to enjoy some of her modes of communication and exploration in an improv space.

Q:  What do you hope people will take away from these events?

From Play Like Brené I hope people leave with a positive, applicable way of using and spreading Brené’s work. 

After Ghostwatch, I hope no one can sleep.

Q: Within such a fab career, what has been your favourite part of teaching improv?

I love so much about teaching improv. I’m a theatre-maker, so I love how quickly conversations, concepts, themes and characters can just appear in our art form. I love improv festivals where people from all over the world and from different cultures and backgrounds can create work together, instantly. Online has given us a similar experience and I’m grateful for the hard lessons we are learning by exploring a totally different medium.

Q: Do you have any advice for people who might be new to improv and looking to find out more?

Give it a go. It’s nothing like stand-up, you don’t have to be a ‘funny’ or extroverted person. It’s all about support, creativity and fun and you might just find your new family there…