Uniikki Unikorni ja NET improv Oulun Taiteiden yössä 13.8.2024 Voimala 1889:ssä

Uniikki Unikorni esiintyy kello 18 ja NET improv kello 20

Vapaa pääsy!

Uniikki Unikornin Improspesiaali

Klo 18.00-18.50

Tervetuloa seuraamaan oululaisen improvisaatioteatteri Uniikki Unikornin Taiteiden yötä varten räätälöityä, jo perinteiseksi muodostunutta improspesiaalia. Esityksessä yeisön antamat ideat toimivat inspiraationlähteenä ainutkertaisille, hetkessä luoduille improvisaatioteatterikohtauksille. Kohtaukset ja hahmot syntyvät näyttelijöiden ja muusikon vuorovaikutuksessa – ja saattavat yllättää improvoisoijatkin itsensäkin.

NET Improv: Heijastuksia – improvoitu näytelmä

Klo 20-20:50

NET Improv koostuu kolmesta kokeneesta improvisoijasta ja muusikosta. Esityksessä keskiössä ovat erilaisista taustoista tulevien ihmiset väliset ihmissuhteet. Näytelmän tapahtuu yhdessä ja samassa paikassa, jossa tapaavat sellaiset ihmiset, jotka muuten eivät ehkä kohtaisi toisiaan.

Yleisöltä pyydetään tapahtumapaikka. Lisäksi yleisö vetää pakasta yhden Sitran Megatrendi-kortin, joka vaikuttaa esityksen taustalla. Megatrendit kuvaavat monenlaisia tulevaisuuden skenaarioita, joista osasta on jo viitteitä sekä paikallisesti että globaalissa mittakaavassa. Megatrendejä ovat esimerkiksi ”kaupungistuminen nopeutuu” tai ”sään ääri-ilmiöt yleistyvät”. Näytelmässä nähdään, millaisia vaikutuksia megatrendillä on yhteiskuntaan ja millaisia vaikutuksia ihmisillä on toisiinsa.

Esityksestä saa eniten irti, jos näkee sen alusta saakka. Tervetuloa! Niina, Erika, Tanja ja OP

Tapahtuma somessa:

Oulun tapahtumakalenteri (Mun Oulu)


Kiitoksia Voimala 1889:lle, jossa saamme jälleen esiintyä Taiteiden yössä!

Tila on esteetön.

Lämpimästi tervetuloa!

What did Tanja bring home from Flock festival 2024?

I had the privilege to participate in the first ever Flock festival of Flock Theatre in Amsterdam. The festival was produced by Laura and Gael Doorneweerd-Perry, Tanine Dunais, and Christianna Tsigkou. Also, a huge amount of volunteers took part in making the international festival happen and be welcoming.

If you have been to Impro Amsterdam, this was a bit smaller and cozier festival, that had a cute and hipsterish venue in an artistic block of shipping containers called Treehouse. Also, at an improv festival, it’s possible to get to know new people quite fast: especially if you do an improv workshop with them, often they feel familiar in a nice way. It is kind of easy to dive in to the festival community: when you share a passion, there is always a lot to talk about.  

There were a few themes that I have been reflecting still one week after the festival. This blog post is about those topics that will stick with me. 


At the festival, I participated in three workshops:  

– David Moncada Varela’s Improvisation for the camera (2 days)  

– Chris Mead’s Small time criminals (1 day) 

– Paul Berrocal’s Contemporary language (1 day) 

I made the workshop choices mostly based on the length of the workshop (I prefer long ones), the teachers, and the course descriptions. I did not know Paul at all, but as a language teacher the language-related theme sounded fascinating. 

By coincidence, there was quite a nice continuum of listening through repetition in all three workshops. The sympathetic pedagogue from Columbia, David, taught us truth and point of view, as he put it. Basically, the workshop was about authenticity and honest reactions, although we talked also about how the audience is able to (and wants to) live also negative and strong feelings, which we often hide in the real life, through actors. This kind of emotional/dramatic improv I love to watch and to do. David turned his experience of making movies by letting actors improvise a lot and live in the characters, into a beautiful workshop. However, the workshop name was tiny bit misleading: working for the camera had been more an inspiration for David, it was not so closely related to the content.  

My favourite things in David’s workshop were that exercises in general were long as we had a lot of time and we did many pair/group exercises where we reacted to each other (to kinesthetic impulses as David called it) while music was playing at the background. We focused in listening and reacting, and David talked a lot about improv being reacting to external impulses. To practise this, we used Meisner-inspired repetition exercises. Here a made-up example: 

– You took a step back.  

– I took a step back.  

– You took a step back?

– I took a step back.  

– Are you afraid of me? (This moment David calls “a point of view” of a character: now we know something about the two characters’ relationship.) 

– I am afraid of you. 

We finished the workshop by getting characters from David (for example, a divorced couple), creating past and memories for them, and acting a 15-20 minute long scene that we did outside the workshop space, in a restaurant, and at the yard of it, to see how our acting changed. I loved this, as this reminded me of (Nordic) city larp that I have done (larping at public places) and which I deeply love. The workshop was quite memorable and inspirational, for so many reasons. 

Tanja and Ross doing a scene, teacher David at the background. Picture by: Anne Gelebart.

With the most enthusiastic teacher, Chris from UK, we got into a one specific (movie inspired) genre and got tools, like status, reacting and storytelling, to play scenes and stories. The genre, small time criminal stories, was inspired by Coen brothers (e.g. Fargo, I think also for example Tarantino’s Pulp fiction was mentioned). In those stories, criminals try to live their life and usually make a lot of mistakes on the way, ending up deeper and deeper in the trouble. One of the tools related to listening and reacting was repetition, again the Meisner way. For example, we look at each other, make observations, and say those aloud. Despite the exercise being the same as in David’s workshop, every teacher has their own way to introduce these exercises, therefore it felt different to do it with tiny bit different guidelines, different people, and after different warm-ups. And, quite nice dialogues we made with keeping this in mind: repetition actually fits the genre like a fist into an eye, as we say in Finnish. Repetition worked quite well with status play also. For example, in an exercise where both characters admire each other and try to raise the status for each other, repetition was a functional tool (made up example again):

– You are here. 

– I am here. You are also here.  

– I am truly here.  

– I am happy to have you here. (and so on) 

With Chri,s we did a lot of exercises with half a group (about 6-7 persons) and in the end, for a 1-day workshop, we had surprisingly many chances to do scenes. 

My last workshop was about the rhythm and power of talk and pauses in scenes. Paul is from France/Switzerland and he used scripted theater as the source of our inspiration. We practiced repetition to get into the flow and rhythm, pausing and reacting (Meisner was not mentioned, but as we talked later, I heard that naturally Meisner was there as one of the sources for Paul’s thinking). However, this time, we did this in a circle and played a lot with the repetition and the rhythm, like: 

– I would love to dance with you.  

– You would love to dance with me.  

– You would love to dance with me? 

– I would love to dance with you.  

– She would love to dance with me.  

– She would love to dance with her. (And so on, we had made up fixed sentences for each participant in the circle.) 

Afterwards, we got into the different ways of delivering a line by reading excerpts of actual, but very different kind of scripts. We tried to keep in mind what we heard, when we then moved on to improvised scenes. Again, we talked about listening, tactical pauses (that we would maybe not dare to use in real life), and reacting: we can answer immediately, speak on top of each other, react “too late”, or not react at all. It is not always about what you say, but how and WHEN you say it. All in all, this was quite different from many other workshops I have done recently, but very thought-provoking one.   

In the workshops the “be affected” principal was also mentioned a few times when we talked about reactions. In other words, let the impulses that your partners offer to you have an effect, let it land in you. Be open and be in the present.  


Being affected and open for external impulses has much to do with something I call here authenticity in improv. An honest reaction (surprise, disappointment, curiosity) is so lovely to see in a scene, may it be in improv rehearsals or on a stage. Authenticity, vulnerability, and being affected by impulses also have quite much to do with another love of mine, clowning (oh, so much improv and theatre clowning by taught hospital clowns have in common).  

I also thought of authenticity and connection while watching the shows at the festival. We saw a show called Backgammon by Tanine and Christianna, where they drew inspiration from their background as an Iranian and a Greek woman. This was very powerful: they played an intense game of backgammon in the middle of the audience, and then we saw a monoscene where they took advantage of their backgrounds: they talked about traditions of their culture, people, even used idioms and proverbs of their mother tongues. It was a delight to see that, as Tanine teaches wonderful diversity workshop where she supports people in seeing their background as a strength in improv instead of a deficit, that she brought to stage what she teaches. (It must be noted, that they did not play as themselves, but as characters still.) Also, in a show by other locals, Jeroen and Rosanne’s Show #2, there was something in their connection, emotions, and acting, that made me think of authenticity. Authenticity relates also to another element of the shows, real-life stories, that we heard.  


I of course enjoy watching improv that has emphasis on comedy, but I may have melancholic soul as I do enjoy often the most when an improv scene touches me. There was quite much storytelling embedded in many of the shows in different ways. In a show called The True North, we heard two senior local Amsterdamers tell stories about Amsterdam, and the stories functioned as offers for the improv players to do scenes. This is something that we have done with my home group too (asking short stories from audience members) but the stories of the locals in this show were quite long, the storytellers had a microphone and they were at the side of a stage, so they really got their spotlight. 

Another touching format was called The Scandalous Women of Amsterdam, where we first saw a picture and heard from improv players some short life stories of interesting or somehow peculiar women who had lived in the city: a boxer who never lost a fight, an assistant for Nazi military, a person who opened the first gay bar of Amsterdam. Then we saw scenes inspired by these stories. A silent scene (without words but with music) in a restaurant seeing people fall in love was a perfect ending for one of the show evenings. As a woman, I just adore this concept. (Also, when I think of people from the Netherlands, only men come to my mind, so it was quite informative too.)   


Flock Theatre productions often draw inspiration from existing stories, and that’s also one of the reasons how I fell in love with them back in the days. Due to that, some of the shows where something that I waited for the most. During the festival, we saw improv versions of Matrix (AI was also used in defining scenes) and Transperceneige (Snowpiercer). What surprised me was a Moliere-inspired comedy – I have never laughed so hard for an improv play, from the first to the last moment of the play. How delightful it was to see what improv is capable of. When the stakes are high by setting (the train where people are stuck with each other and try to survive, the pompous (stereotypical) roles of noble Frenchmen and their servants), the scenes are intense! One day (this is long-term plan that has been boiling for quite a while), I want to use some Finnish stories also in creating a long improv play. 

Picture of Transperceneige by Mathieu van den Berk / Flock Theatre. The costumes! The stage! The audience seats!

And then there was a mind-blown kind of experience: 


David Moncada Varela was the soundpainter of a show called Soundpainting (see about the soundpainting concept this Soundpainting page). He had three improvers, two dancers (I fell in love with the body language of both), a violinist, a drummer, and a visual artist. The idea is that the soundpainter is like a composer/conductor, who uses special, international signs to make his “orchestra” to move, sing, talk, and make sounds. David used also the audience: the audience talked and reacted a few times to his signs/gestures too. “I don’t know what I’m doing” came to be one of the themes of the performance. I think the phrase came from the audience at some point, then the actors and orchestra grasped it. Dance often touches me, and these dancers were able to convey huge emotions through their dance. When the violin (and the sad eyes of the violinist), the emotion-full live drawing (to the fabric around the dancers and improvisers through a projector) and at times hectic, at times monotonic talk and movement of the improvisers were combined with the dance, the result was magical. I cried almost through the whole performance/soundpainting. 

This performance reminded me of the fact that improvisation is not just for the theater. The musicians, the visual artists, and dancers also use improvisation. How come we so rarely work together? Now that I think of it, at the festival, we saw artists from many fields. There were many musicians with different instruments (a cello and an accordion in Matrix!) in different shows. Also, Babette Hinterleitner was also live-drawing during the improv shows and printed us stickers to remember the shows, how cool was that? 

So, in general, I got again a huge amount of things to bring back to home, and I will probably write also a bit more later, for example about safety in improv and drama.

Good luck with organising the next Flock festival!

I was affected. 

With love, 


How improv philosophy gets affected by other arts and thinking?

Improv teacher and improviser Chris Mead has a great newsletter called Improv Fables (you can subscribe it in his website)  in which he gives tips of things (movies, books, videos, theater shows etc.) that have hit him. He also shares improv longform thoughts that have been very meaningful resource for me.

He has this thing ”ask from Chris” going on in his newsletter, and I asked what else than actual improv courses or improv resources have affected his improv thinking (newsletter #119). Now, Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal: How stories make us human is on my reading list.

Chris also got answers from other improvisers, and those were lovely: video games, football, quantum physics, and anthropology, just to mention a few.

My question was inspired, for example, by the work of improv teacher Gael Doorneweerd-Perry. Since I experienced how he integrated Hayao Miyazaki* inspired storytelling and things we can learn from comics (editing, perspectives) into improv, it opened my eyes for what are all the things improv can take inspiration from. Not to mention here Laura Doorneweerd-Perry’s My brother Lionheart long improv play (based on book by Astrid Lindgren) which has been one of the most emotional experiences of improv for me.  

Since I asked the question, I have been thinking also what has affected my thinking of improvisation. I tried to do a list of 3, but did not succeed, so it’s a list of 4 points. 😀 

1) Clowning

I feel clowning or theater clowning as we often call it in Finland, is a sibling to improv. I have been taught mostly by hospital clowns of Finland and Portugal. My clowning path is just at the beginning, so sorry for all who think I do wrong to clowning but this is how I have experienced it this far:

Clowning makes visible what we don’t have in improv. How I have done improv has often been a) taking an idea/inspiration from the audience b) acting the scenes and kind of forgetting the audience until the next question for them is presented because we are invested in the scene that is going on. Clowning is about you in front of the audience, and, in a way, clown exists in a relation to the audience. It is about sensing the audience’s reactions: their laughter, their sympathy, their lack of interest. Stereotypically, clown makes the audience laugh and if you don’t amuse them, you have failed. With hospital clowns I have learned, that the whole wide range of emotions and reactions of the audience are fuel and a mirror for a clown. Some of the most touching moments of my life have been watching another clown in a workshop.

Now, with improv,  I’m in a place where I love the idea that we don’t need to ask the audience anything to do a wonderful long improv play but I also wonder, how as an improviser I could make the audience feel something during improv play and how I can sense them. One huge difference is that, unlike in clowning, in improv we don’t use direct eye contact with the audience so often. When doing improv, we don’t always literally even see the audience sitting in the darkness.

In a sense, clown work also has helped me to loosen the ”basic rules” of improv. Of course after the beginning phase and learning the basics, you will start playing with creating the platform (who, where, what, why) of a scene and acceptance. The problem with basic rules or elements are, that sometimes one can get stuck in their head, thinking how to build the scene. Clowning teaches and pushes you to be present in a moment, in a curious, open, and vulnerable state, clown state. You may be confused, scared, excited, but there is no reason to hide that from the audience: instead, you start playing with those emotions.

Still, as one of my favourite teachers, Pedro Fabião, puts it, there still has to be  both present, the horse (the energy, the force) and the horse rider (an actor who’s playing the clown), to make clowning work. So, be present and open, but also in control. Interestingly, that is what I have been learning lately and what now interests me most in improv.

2) Drama education

In the universities in Finland we have a subject called drama education (draamakasvatus). It provides tools and skills to guide a group (may it be kids, youngsters, older people, in a school, in a theater, in retirement homes, in camps) to do drama. We learn things like drama genres (forum theater, process drama, devising, mask work, clowning), skills like directing, dramaturgy, acting, and then there are reflexive and informative courses. Basically, the studies are about: if we go into roles, what can we experience. Pedagogical skills are linked very tightly into all this: How to create a safe space and a common ground to start from (drama contract)? What do I want the group to learn or experience? How could we try to do that? How to reflect, how it went? We also do small projects: we have literally learned by doing drama ourselves.

When I applied to and then started the studies at the open university, I had quite much an impostor syndrome: I have barely done traditional, scripted theater and I am not so interested in doing it in the future either. But these studies were pure gold as they opened my eyes to how many ways improv can be applied in the field of drama. Knowing the basics of improv was a great asset that supported learning but also made me again fall in love with improv from a bit new point of view: improv exercises are great in group building, character building, world building, experiencing things from different perspectives, deepening understanding of someone’s actions and inner world, going through and reflecting what was done and experienced. Although I had applied improv, drama education kind of widened my thinking about what improv is capable of. 

3) Slice of life – storytelling (on screen)

I love deeply longform storytelling, that is not only fishing laughs. And the long improv plays that I love the most, are the ones where I can see that there is an effort in world building and relationship building – and when we just get to spy other lives for a moment. In general, while following a story I’m not so interested in the character or story unless there is a reason to feel something for the characters or to identify with them. Therefore, I enjoy also the stories that do not build up to a high turning point. 

If I try to put this into words, it is maybe easiest to do with examples. When I was young, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie touched me and is still my favourite movie. Miyazaki’s anime movies I have loved a lot, lately also Celine Song’s movie Past lives, which basically explored one woman’s relationships and emotions of the main characters. Another fresh example of this kind of storytelling is the film Perfect days by Wim Wenders, which was quite much just snippets from everyday life of a man in Japan. Still, there may be rich worlds and a lot of emotions involved in the story. Related to emotional storytelling, Korean (serious, realistic) romantic dramas** are my go-to when I feel the need for escapism. In those stories, often the emphasis is on characters’ relationships and emotions instead of action. (There are obstacles and there may be also dramatic turning points still though.) The storytelling of emotions is quite beautiful: when the camera spends 2 minutes just having characters’ faces on the screen, people looking at each other without anyone speaking, it feels magical. What are the emotions these people go through? How those can be reflected on almost motionless bodies? There is no hurry with the plot, story also is built slowly, and not all struggles are fixed instantly. The episodes are often long and usually series are also only one season long which must have a huge effect on the dramaturgy.

4) LARP (Live action role playing)

Starting to recently larp has changed my life: I have totally and deeply fallen in love with it. My biggest love in improv are long improv plays, and when I got to my first larp I thought, “wow, others are playing a larp, I am acting in a long improvised play”. It’s engaging and fun, when your co-players have created your character and their relationships together with you in advance: their memories, their habits, and their thoughts of each other. It’s so easy to start the actual larp day, when the world is already there and I just open the door. However, it must be taken into account that what I do is mostly relationship/character-driven Nordic (slow) larp, and that is different than many other ways of playing larp. For example, it is often a player-driven game (in comparison to game leaders giving a lot of directions and guidelines). 

For example, lately, I have been playing a campaign in which we explore the lives of young unemployed adults who are not doing so well and who are in a social work program that is trying to support them. It’s up to us players how we end up navigating our characters, their insecurities, difficult relationships, and their future. I get to be immersed in this wonderful, sad, and thrilling life of Saaga for one whole year. For example, I have built the character by getting to know her (long) backstory that was written by our game leader, by creating music lists with my co-players, with pre- and after-briefing the relationships and events of larp games with other players, and by Snapchatting with others in characters to keep them up to date of my character’s life. How easy, natural, and immersive it is then to once in a while play a day of her life. In improv I have rarely done this kind of build-up, but how interesting it would be to actually get to know a character I play a bit better.

If you have a list of things that have affected you, I would be happy to hear. 🙂 Contact me or Uniikki Unikorni in Facebook, Instagram or by email (tanja.seppala@uniikkiunikorni.fi).

Tanja Seppälä

Who I am?

I am a language teacher who does improv as side thing, but I have been involved with improv since 2010-2011 in my hometown in Oulu in North Finland. My home group is called Uniikki Unikorni, but I do also improv with NET improv and I am a part of clowning collective REDit.

* Hayao Miyazaki has directed for example anime movies My neighbour Totoro, Sprited away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s moving castle, Boy and the crane.

** My love for Korean dramas was lit by Crash landing on you, and one of my later favourites is 24, 21, which explored the growth of a young ambitious woman on her way towards a professional fencing career. That is one of the most beautiful portrays of a woman for me. Of course there are other kind of genres of Korean drama too (for example Parasite and Squid game are quite a different genre), so also more comedic romantic dramas.

Tuokiokuvia – jatkotason improtyöpaja la 13.7.

Kiinnnostaako sinua merkitykselliset kohtaukset ja kohtausten rauhallinen rakentaminen? Tämä paja on sinulle!

Lauantaina 13.7. klo 12-16:30 (sis. puolen tunnin lounastauon) Kaijonharjussa Oulussa


Inspiroiva kohtauksen alku kannattaa koko kohtausta. Tässä työpajassa tutustumme improperiaatteisiin ”explore, don’t invent” ja ”keep it simple” käytännön harjoitusten kautta.

Sukellamme improkohtausten tekemiseen niin kutsutun pehmeän maailmanrakentamisen (soft worldbuilding) ja kontekstivetoisten kohtausten kautta. Käytännössä tutustumme erilaisiin tapoihin luoda tuokiokuvia eli kohtauksia, joissa luodaan yksityiskohtaisia maailmoja, merkityksellisiä hahmoja ja tunnelmallisia kohtauksia. Osana maailmojen luomista on esimerkiksi kohtauksen maalaaminen (scene painting), musiikin hyödyntäminen ja miiminen työskentely hahmossa. Lämmittelyksi teemme muun muassa ryhmäyttäviä, kohtauttavia harjoituksia.


Tanja on toiminut mm. kieltenopettajana, tehnyt enemmän ja vähemmän säännöllisesti improa yli kymmenen vuotta ja suorittaa draamakasvatuksen aineopintoja.

Työpaja pohjautuu enimmäkseen ranskalaisen, Amsterdamissa vaikuttavan improvisaatioteatteriopettajan Gael Doorneweed-Perryn oppeihin (mm. Hayao Miyazakin Ghibli-vaikutteisiin improon sovellettuna) ja hänen ajatteluunsa tarinankerronnasta ylipäätään. Lisäksi vaikutteita on improkavereilta, muilta impro-opettajilta ja teatteriklovneriasta.


Lähetä ilmoittautumismaili ke 1.7.2024 mennessä, tanja.seppala@uniikkiunikorni.fi. Työpaja järjestetään, jos ilmoittautuneita on 1.7. mennessä vähintään 6.

Ilmoittautumiseen saat vastauksen. Jos kurssi toteutuu, osallistujat saavat maksuohjeet. Maksun tulee olla maksettuna ennen työpajaa, ellet ole sopinut muuta eräpäivää.

Kerro ilmoittautumismailissa ihan lyhyesti improvisaatiokokemuksestasi. Voit kertoa myös, jos sinulla on joitain erityistarpeita. Käymme kuitenkin aluksi kierroksen, jossa voit myös kertoa tarvittaessa rajoituksista yms.

Ilmoittautuminen on sitova. Jos joudut perumaan paikkasi, voit itse myydä paikkasi jollekulle muulle, mutta muista ilmoittaa siitä ohjaajalle.

Oikeus muutoksiin pidätetään.


Paikka: Tai shin mun -kung fu -seuran sali, Kaijonharju, Oulu

Aika: lauantaina 13.7.2023 kello 12–16.30 (4 h, sis. puolen tunnin lounastauon)

Hinta: 40 e / 20 e (opiskelijat, työttömät, eläkeläiset ym. aleryhmät)

Ilmoittautuminen: ma 1.7. mennessä, tanja.seppala@uniikkiunikorni.fi

Ohjaaja: Tanja Seppälä / Improvisaatioteatteri Uniikki Unikorni, klovneriakollektiivi REDit

Kurssille otetaan korkeintaan 14-16 osallistujaa


Huom! Impron perusteiden (hyväksyminen, kyllä – ja -periaate, yhdessä rakentaminen, kuunteleminen, moka on lahja) riittää. Ei haittaa, vaikka et olisi tehnyt improvisaatioteatteria vähään aikaan. Työpaja voi sopia myös larppaajille, mutta mainitse ilmomailissa, jos et ole tehnyt varsinaisesti improimproa ja lähetän hieman perusinfoa käsitteistä, joita käytän.

Työpaja sisältää jonkin verran (musiikin mukaan) liikkumista eli liikeimprovisaatiollisia elementtejä lämmittelyinä. Ota mukaan mukavat vaatteet ja vesipullo.

Jos mikään epäilyttää (esim. onko työpaja sopiva sinulle), lähetä mailia ja voit kysyä mitä tahansa, mitä on mielen päällä.

Toivottavasti nähdään!


Tanja Seppälä