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A Common Language

Okay, the dust has settled a bit. No rest, heading to West Camp next week. But very excited. Our newest camp in Ireland bumps right next to our original camp. I can’t help to feel a tad nostalgic. When I started Improv Utopia 8 years ago I would have never thought it would be in Ireland, let alone Yosemite and Pennsylvania. Our mission has always been to bring people together. To create community, camaraderie in nature. Connect improvisers like never before. To share our ideas and spread them to anywhere we could. Bringing this camp to Ireland brought that to a whole new level. I was completely inspired by everyones work.  The commitment and the trust was awe inspiring. It was great to see that, even though we are worlds apart, we speak a common language. A language that is not seen in this world so much today.

Yes and, positive thinking and the sharing of ideas is at the base of what we do. At the end of camp I always say “Take what you’ve learned, take it back to your communities and share.” We must run our teams and businesses the same as the philosophies we hold dear. We have found, in the USA at least, if you don’t do this your business will fail, no matter how big it is.

A common language, but many differences.

Let’s embrace that! At camp I saw us speak the same language but I saw us doing variations on improv. We need to keep embracing that. We should be exploring. Stay influenced and inspired by our surroundings, our communities, our countries. “Chicago Improv” is great, but at the end of the day ask yourself, “What do I bring to improv?” You are the change in improv. Improv is changing before our eyes, we are in a new era. And look in the mirror, it’s you! You get to tell us what improv is going to be like now and that’s amazing and a duty. Taking workshops and gaining skills is great and we should keep doing that, we should never stop learning, but lets not conform to a certain style. Create your own style based on your upbringing, your likes, your passions and change improv again. Make your own forms, shows and classes.

My promise to the improv world is to keep embracing what you bring to the table, to offer you the skills and knowledge to get you there. Camp is always about learning as much from our campers as we give to them.  That’s what I love about camp. I’ve learned so much from all of you. You’ve made me a better person, teacher and performer. So thank you.

As always, work together, make art together. We should not be competitors, rather collaborators.

The People 

It takes a community to run camp. Behind the scenes at camp is an amazing thing to see. So many passionate improvisers working to make this experience amazing. Without these people camp would not work. It just wouldn’t. I can’t thank them enough.

Neil Curran is the first I’d like to thank. Without him, IU Ireland would not have happened. His continued work for the community in Ireland is amazing. And let me tell you he doesn’t do it for a penny (schilling?) HA! The work he’s done to create a bigger scene in Ireland is absolutely amazing.

Jacque Arend – Jacque is my soulmate when it comes to camp. She loves this place and you can see it in her work and what she brings to camp. She pours her heart and soul into it.

Chris Moody – Beyond being a great performer and teacher himself, Chris has added so much to camp, and has helped make decisions and given ideas to grow camp beyond what it could be while honoring its mission. When we did our first East Camp, it was Chris that helped make it all successful and showed us that we can do this and expand even more. Without Chris, we aren’t where we are.

Josh Nicols – Our head counselor. This man is the embodiment of what camp is. I can’t thank him enough for all the wonderful things he’s brought to our camp. If someone said, what is camp. I’d say “Hang out with Josh for an hour at camp.”

Erin McGathy – Erin stepped up and said “I’ll do arts and crafts” She killed it! I mean killed it. You all saw. Erin is an amazing person, artist and performer. Ireland is lucky to have her. She’s also a great friend.

Brian James O’Connell – This man is improv. He lives and breathes it. Sacrifices for it. I hope you all had a chance to really meet BOC. He has been by camps side since it’s beginnings and continues to be a shining light a beacon for improv.

John Abbott – You will all get to meet this man soon. He is in charge of placing you into your workshops but he’s so much more then that. He’s my right hand man, my partner in crime. Always has sound advice and always thinks of the campers first. And he loves improv.

Jaclynn Cherry – Jaclynn was supposed to be in Ireland but could not make it. If you get a chance to go to the Detroit Improv Festival…DO IT it’s one of the best. Jaclynn is such an amazing human and is basically our communications director making sure you are all set and have all the info you need, but beyond that she’s just awesome. Go to DIF!

Teachers – Craig, Carla, Jaime, Katy and Neil. I can’t thank them enough for bringing their talents to all of you. I’m so extremely lucky to know some of the best there is. Not only are they great teachers and performers, they’re just great humans who love this art form. Being in this business for a long time now, you can tell the difference. These folks are the best of the best.

Counselors – I am incredibly lucky to have some of the best campers ever who have travelled near and far to be with us. Our counselors are people who have been to our camps and have gone above and beyond in improv. They represent what camp is and are always making it an even better experience for everyone.


Much Love, and until next year!

Nick Armstrong

Founder/Camp Director

Improv Utopia