Q&A with Monica Gaga

We were delighted to be able to talk to Monica Gaga earlier this month about how improv can be used to empower young people, the transition to online learning and her upcoming guest workshop at the Bristol Improv Theatre…

Q: Hi Monica! We can’t wait to host your workshop at the BIT on using Improv to empower young people. Can you tell us a little bit about what to expect from the workshop?

Expect to leave this workshop with a smile on your face and the tools to build, deliver and evaluate a youth engagement programme. I have designed this session to be fun with a mixture of practical and discussion based activities that you won’t need a background in the arts to enjoy.

Q: In this chaotic and unpredictable year, online teaching and learning has been something many students and teachers have had to quickly adapt to. Can you tell us about some of the challenges this might pose?

The digital divide means that some young people may struggle to get online and if they can, finding the space can be difficult. This something we will consider when looking at youth engagement in the workshop. We will also touch on how to turn what we may see as cons into pros as we work in an ever changing landscape.

Q: Conversely, what are some of the positives of online teaching and learning? How might you empower young people online?

I definitely am not missing the commute and for some young people they can participate in more as they do not have to rely on the availability of their parents or guardians to take them to sessions. Being able to take ownership in your own growth can be so empowering for young people and the start of them being able to make informed choices.

Q: And where/how does improv fit into this?

Improv is about working with the unexpected, accepting and building on what you have and when you throw in some of the other principles of improv like listing, the power of place and taking the fear out of failure you have a fantastic vehicle for change, growth and empowerment.

Q: What do you hope people will take away from this workshop?

A fresh look at how to engage youth people and tap into the power of play for their groups and theirselves.

Q: Finally, can you tell us one of your favourite things about improv? Do you have a favourite memory of a great event or the aspect that makes you particularly passionate about your work?

I love that moment in a session or a project when the young are really in the moment, they are present, they are engaged and they are having a great time. It’s then I feel they are ready to grow, are open to change and most willing to take charge of that journey.