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About Improv Blog and Resources

The Suggestibles' School of Improv founders are Bev Fox and Ian McLaughlin.

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

They formed School of Improv in Newcastle in 2003, but their improv career stretches back 32 years to a rainy night in London.

As a young couple and pair of aspiring actors, Bev and Ian moved from their hometown Newcastle to London in 1987. After months of getting absolutely nowhere, they happened upon an advert in 'The Stage' looking for actors to take-part in an experimental course of improvisational workshops in Camden, led by Chris Johnston (author House of Games, and The Improvisation Game). They almost didn't get there as the rain was so heavy (and they didn't have a brolly!) but it was one of those nights that changes your life forever.

They were hooked on improv, and 2-weeks later they joined London Theatresports, and within a month were playing shows at the Arts Theatre and Canal Cafe, where they were spotted by an agent.

It was their lucky show! Canadian improviser, Alan Marriott was also performing and he was looking for a cast for his new idea - The Impro Musical. This pioneering show, the first of its kind in the world, opened at the Gate Theatre in '89 to rave reviews. The company (made up of Alan, Bev and Ian, Suki Webster, Niall Ashdown, Phillip Pellew, and musical maestro, Anthony Ingle) went on to have great success throughout the 90s, including European tours, sell-out Edinburgh Fringe shows, runs and residencies at BAC, The Banana and Donmar Warehouse. In '91 they performed The Impro Musical at the Fortune Theatre on Drury Lane, making it the first improv show to play a West End Theatre. In '92 their show was adapted for TV as The Bootleg Broadway Show, with a series for Tyne Tees and Granada, and then in '99 for BBC Radio 4.

At that same lucky Canal Cafe show, they met Lee Simpson, one of their favourite teachers of all time, and Lee is an original member of the infamous Comedy Store Players. Soon, they were guesting at the Store in Leicester Square, playing alongside Who's Line is Anyway? players such as Josie Lawrence, Paul Merton, Mike McShane, Greg Proops and Richard Vranch, for many years to come.

Lee Simpson co-founded one of the world's most influential improv theatre companies, Improbable, with Phelim McDermott. Bev performed in their first show, Improbable Tales at the Nottingham Playhouse and has worked with them on-and-off for the last 30 years.