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Guest Blog: Pippa Evans On YES QUEENS Reunion at Battersea Arts Centre

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The Yes Queens will perform Live from the Grand Hall at Battersea Arts Centre on Sunday 18 October, 7.30pm.

Guest Blog: Pippa Evans On YES QUEENS Reunion at Battersea Arts Centre
Pippa Evans

On Sunday, 18 October, the Yes Queens will be reunited after six months of being apart. Back in February, if you'd told me I would be getting teary-eyed at the thought of being in a room with five other people, I would have told you you were nuts. Yet here we are, a few days before our first live-streamed show, and I am already nervous, like I'm going on a first date but with five old pals. I'll be wearing waterproof mascara for sure, anyway.

But what is Yes Queens, I hear you cry? Well, once upon a time, there was a theatre producer called Julie Clare. Julie loved improvisation and she wanted to gather the top female improv talent in London, to create a show that celebrated funny women, making it up as they go along. Julie lifted a conch to her lips and gathered all the improvising women. When they were gathered, she named them Yes Queens, for they had the grace of (Disney) royalty and also love to say YES (particularly to French fries), such is the command of improvisation.

The Yes Queens made up shows together, merrily, but then along came Covid, shutting all our theatre spaces and stopping us singing and joking in the same space. We sat in our living rooms, trying to play Yes And on our own, but it just didn't work. We tried meeting on Zoom and playing, but it just wasn't the same. As improvisers, things got very bleak when we started to reach for our nemesis - scripts.

One night, I found myself learning a speech from Macbeth (not even a famous one) and I thought 'I have to get back to making things up!' Clearly the universe heard my cry, for not two days after my Shakespeare binge, along came Battersea Arts Centre who said 'Would you like to do a show in our beautiful Grand Hall?', and the Yes Queens leapt about with excitement.

Improv is always better when the improvisers are in the same room with each other, because it's an art form that asks the performers to read each other's physical offers, not just play with words. So many physical offers are subconscious offers - a certain way you are holding your hands or a twinkle in the eye. When we, as improvisers, pick up those cues from each other, it is so satisfying for the audience and the improvisers because we can see we are creating magic out of the tiniest offers.

So we will be delighted to play in the Grand Hall on Sunday. Our audience can communicate with us directly via the internet, which means we shall still be able to get your suggestions: you will still be in charge of the show. Six women, making up sketches and songs for your delectation. I mean, I can't think of a better way to spend my Sunday evening.

The Yes Queens will perform Live from the Grand Hall at Battersea Arts Centre on Sunday 18 October, 7.30pm. £10 tickets here: https://bac.org.uk/whats-on/yes-queens/


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