We were delighted to have a chance to speak with Ella Galt and Kiva Murphy, directors of Barcelona Improv Group, an innovative Barcelona-based theatre company that has been performing, sharing and teaching improv for more than a decade and just recently opened up a new theatre space in Eixample, with brand new programming for kids and teens!
Where are you from originally? How long have you been living in Barcelona?
Ella is from Melbourne, Australia and has been living in Barcelona for 11 years, and Kiva is from Dublin, Ireland and has been here for 8 years.
Tell us more about your background and experience.
Ella earned a B.A. in Theatre Studies at Monash University and since a young age has appeared in numerous plays, short films and musicals. Her credits include performances at The Melbourne Fringe Festival and with Jocular Theatre in Barcelona. She toured Italy with children’s theatre company Pidgeon English, and completed a formation course in Dance at CMD’H in Barcelona. Ella has over 15 years of singing, theatre and improv experience, and creates committed and vibrant theatrical improv. Since joining BIG in 2012 she has trained with some of the most renowned improv teachers and coaches in the world and has studied, performed and taught in festivals around Europe.
Kiva Murphy grew up in Dublin to Irish/French parents and headed to London to spread her wings when she turned 21. Since then she has worked as an actress, improvisor, teacher, clown and theatre creator. She began working with BIG several years ago as a teacher, and joined the cast in 2019. Since then, Kiva has gone on to build her improv credentials teaching, performing and learning from the best in festivals across Europe. As an actress, Kiva has been kept busy with feature films and in 2015 set up No Guilty Bones, a theatre company that creates devised work leaning heavily on storytelling, puppetry, clown and audience interaction. These award winning shows have gone on to perform across the globe from New York to Edinburgh.
When did you start Barcelona Improv Group?
Barcelona Improv Group has been offering improvised comedy and theatre in Barcelona for 12 years, but the leap to open a dedicated venue for rehearsals, classes, professional training and performances in May this year represents a huge shift for us and for the city’s English-language theatre scene. Driven by increased interest in improv during the pandemic, we’re hoping to expand the company’s reach with our own theatre space.
“For years, BIG has brought so much joy to its members, students and audiences, so we’re very excited to finally be in a space that elevates and celebrates what we do.” says Ella.
What activities/services do you offer?
In addition to BIG’s regular adult programming, we’re organising a summer camp for kids and teens, intensive summer retreats, specialty courses with visiting teams and teachers, jams and performances, and professional training and development for companies.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Our teaching philosophy for improv is learning through fun. Improv is inherently confidence-boosting, connecting, and liberating, and so our teaching is supportive, positive, and joyful. Even shy or unsure folks leave our classes with a huge smile on their faces.
Anything else you’d like to share?
While BIG has been performing, sharing and teaching improv for over a decade, and its teachers have plenty of experience with kids and teens (Kiva as a clown doctor in children’s hospitals, and Ella as a theatre and singing teacher for kids and teens), this is the first time BIG is officially opening up our curriculum to include the youngest potential improvisers, and we are so delighted to be bringing our favourite art form to the young folks of Barcelona!
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 10pm
Ages: 8 – 16 years and adults
Neighbourhood: C/ Comte Borrell 143, 08015 (Eixample)