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LMA All Hands – October 2017 Re-Cap

A big thank you to everyone who came to the LMA All Hands meetings in Melbourne and Sydney this month. For those of you who don’t know, the All Hands is our chance to come together informally as a community and share news, ideas and dreams for the future. The leadership team and Teachers use this time to share school developments, improvements, and plans, and it’s also a forum for everyone in the community to give feedback about what we’re doing well and what we can do better. If you missed it, don’t stress, we do them every 3-4 months or so.

Here’s a recap of the major topics that came out of both meetings.

Community is #1
You guys and gals are awesome! It’s been said before that while LMA is a comedy school, community is what we’re all about. So a big thanks to you for being a part of it. One of the comments that came up was about the observable difference between LMA and other schools – specifically how at other schools “everyone is their own star,” whereas at LMA everyone supports each other and works a team. This could perhaps be attributed to the “we not me” doctrine, or the Chicago Style “ensemble philosophy” we teach at LMA. And it’s certainly reflected in the makeup and spirit of all the people like you who make LMA great. We’re not saying one school is better than another (take classes everywhere!), we’re just really happy you’re here.

Building on Community
Historically at LMA classes have been held all over the place – small theatres, big theatres, office buildings, pubs, cafes, and more. One of the goals for next year is to consolidate our classes in a single venue. This will help bring us all together, give different class levels exposure to each other, and allow more cross pollination of ideas throughout the school. In Sydney it’s looking good that all classes moving forward will be held at AIM – it’s right across the road from Central Station, has lots of big, soundproof rooms, and a cafe/lounge area too. In Melbourne we’re exploring a similar option with AIM (they’re in Melb. too), and regardless of whether that works out or not, we won’t be going back to the Voltaire. For now, The Courthouse in North Melbourne is home, but watch this space.

LMA All Hands - October 2017 Re-Cap The Home of Improv and Sketch Comedy in Australia

More Shows, More Promotion of Shows.
You want more stage time, and we want to give it to you. The key to making this happen is having more teams (more on this below) and as we grow, we’ll be moving from fortnightly to weekly shows in both cities. We’re working on finding better performance venues in both Sydney and Melbourne and are also looking to expand LMA’s presence at Comedy Fest in Sydney and Melbourne. Details to follow.

LMA All Hands - October 2017 Re-Cap The Home of Improv and Sketch Comedy in Australia
Yes, and... awesome students too!

As for promotions of shows (you are sharing / telling people to come right?) We will be putting aside more budget to promote our shows across social and the interwebs in general. By the way, did you know that Facebook only has 4% organic reach? This means if you have 100 friends, only 4 of them will see your awesome post telling them about next week’s LMA improv show. So we’ll be investing a bit to make sure more people know what you’re up to. After all, good audiences beget good shows.

Student Tickets for Shows
Starting in 2018 it will be compulsory for students to attend at least one LMA show in order to move on to the next level class. As part of this new deal we are working with venues and ticketing agents to get discounted Student tickets happening. No word exactly when this will happen, but it’s on our radar.

House Teams
Our medium term goal for LMA is to have at least 8 House Teams in each city. Moving forward you will have to have completed Level 4 to be on a team. Once you’re on, you’re on, although you may get shuffled around periodically at the discretion of your Coach and/or Artistic Director. The ideal team size is ten people and while LMA will provide every team with a Coach, the teams will pay for their Coach themselves. Auditions for House Teams will happen again early next year.

Problematic Content in Classes
It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, school policy is to nip it in the bud. We’ve taken a clear position creatively on this and given direction to teachers on how to deal with it. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel or see something that makes you uncomfortable, tell your Teacher. If that’s not possible, talk to our Access and Inclusion Director, Vidya Rajan.

Interns / Mentorship
Shows don’t happen without Producers and Directors, so LMA will be implementing a program to help members of Teams and the wider LMA community acquire these important skills. And of course we’re always looking for people to join the LMA Teacher Training Track.

The Future is Sketchy
From the very first days of LMA, Eran Thomson (LMA’s Founder) has had a vision of creating, producing, and filming Australia’s own version of Saturday Night Live. And while the school has dabbled in Sketch comedy in the past, 2018 will bring more structure and vision to the program. Look for things like the “Sketch-a-thon” a weekend sketch writing / filming bonanza, a new sketch show put on by LMA’s Artistic Director, Dan Pavatich, and LMA Teacher, Josh McGee, and last, but not least, some special workshops and collaborations with our friends in Chicago.

That’s the basic summary. Thank you again to all who attended. We’ll do it all again in a few months. In the meantime, if you’ve got thoughts or ideas you need to share, please get in touch.

LMA All Hands - October 2017 Re-Cap The Home of Improv and Sketch Comedy in Australia
More sketch is more better.