“Trust me, we have no idea what we’re about to do.” | Luke Healy on bringing The Free Association’s LGBTQFA improv to Vault Festival

Tell us about the show you’re bringing to the Vault Festival.

LGBTQFA is the monthly queer improv night at The Free Association, a theatre in East London. Every month, myself and a team of lovely and talented improvisers invite a queer guest to perform and tell us about their life. Based on everything we see and hear, we improvise an exciting hour-long show. It’s consistently my favourite night to perform on. The whole team is so open and warm, and that energy permeates the whole affair!

How did LGBTQFA come together within The Free Association?

Myself, and two of our other players (Doug Crossley and Chloe Godman) had thrown the idea around for a while at the FA’s weekly jam nights. At the same time, more and more queer performers were being cast on the FA’s house Harold teams, so it seemed like the perfect moment to try and bring something together. We reached out, and the FA top brass said yes.

The longer we perform the show, the more wonderful queer players come out of the woodwork, so hopefully this year we’ll be able to expand our numbers and give even more queer improvisers a spot on the night!

How do LGBTQFA performances differ from other shows put on by The Free Association?

From the beginning, we wanted the simple difference to be that the show would be performed entirely by a cast of queer improvisers, with all queer guests. Other than that, we decided that we wouldn’t attach any other gimmicks or twists, and simply trusted that our particular chemistry would give the show a distinct flavour. And I, at least, think it has. There’s no other show at the FA where you’ll see a scene about the all-trans reboot of Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers, I’ll guarantee you that. 

How much of a full length improv show is prepared in advance?

Our guest’s opening 10 minute slot is often scripted, as we’ve invited stand ups, sketch acts, and even a magician to perform — and they will prepare in whatever way they normally would. Other than that, the show is 100% improvised. When any of the LGBTQFA house players is on stage, trust me, we have no idea what we’re about to do. 

What is the most unexpected scene that has ever come out of one of your shows?

In one of our early shows, we had a scene where two men on a date were watching an episode of The Only Way is Essex (which was being performed by the rest of the team on the other side of the stage). They kept rewinding and replaying the same 30 seconds over and over because they weren’t sure they “got it”, so the rest of the team was forced to repeat their improvised lines word for word about ten times in a row. It just got funnier and funnier as it went!

What’s your secret to good improv comedy?

Jump, and trust that your team will catch you.

What do you hope people take away from your show?

I hope that people have a great time, and laugh their asses off. Nothing more ambitious than that!

Are there any other shows you’re looking forward to at the Vault Festival?

I’m really looking forward to How I Came Third in the North Korean Marathon by my buddy and excellent stand up Dan Kelly. In it he tells the true story of how he ended up running, and placing in the titular marathon. I didn’t get to see his first run of this show at the Camden Fringe last year, but by all accounts it’s brilliant. I can’t wait to finally hear this story!

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to break into comedy?

Take an improv class! It’s a brilliant way to meet other people who are also interested in comedy, and the most important thing you can have in any endeavour is a supportive and enthusiastic group of friends.

Oh, and probably just give up drinking alcohol now. Your comedy will be sharper, and you’ll save a ton of money!

LGBTQFA is at Vault Festival on 4th February. This show is one of a series of hit improv shows presented by the Free Association as part of a two-week VAULT takeover from 4th -16th February.

Book your ticket here.

Find out more about Vault Festival here.

You can find out more about LGBTQFA by checking out The Free Association website or following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.