Nathan Keates

To know us better: Nathan Keates

Less than 15 days remain for starting our festival and time is running out!
Meeting our second instructor, Nathan Keates!


1) If you were to wake up in the body of another improviser, who would you pick and why?

Phelim McDermott is a super guy and an amazing human being. He is the co-artistic director of Improbable Theatre Company that use a lot of improvisation in their work. McDermott has won numerous awards, including Olivier Award for Best Entertainment, a Critics Circle Best Designer Award and a TMA Awards for Best Touring Production and Best Director. He is a hero in these eyes and a genius theatre-maker in most others’.

2) What do you work on your free time?

Ha, free time… I research improv and autism. I am currently writing a book on the topic and soon will begin my practical research. So, if I am not teaching improv or performing improv, then I am reading and researching it. 

3) Imagine that a cartoon character had to replace you on scene for one day. Who would you pick and why?

The genie from Disney’s Aladdin… that works. Voiced by Robin Williams, makes for a first good reason; he was a very talented and natural comedic improvisational actor. Being a genie works with the mindset of expanding possibilities not working in only one way; that is a decent second reason. Thirdly, I believe the live-action theatre production had Wayne Brady and the actor playing the genie at the time do a freestyle rap battle after the end of the production one night in the States. That is less of a good reason, but it is a reason. 

4) Which is the best/weirdest compliment you have received after a class/performance?

I guess: “…Nathan is love for impro.” But that could be missreading it. I also get video testimonials, so this happened one time in the Netherlands:

When you leave your phone for people to film stuff on… this happens #netherlands #tour #Groningen after Efficiency

Geplaatst door Nathan Improv op woensdag 29 juni 2016

5) How does a clown enter the world of improv?

All theatre includes a level of liveness, but clowns only have the moment. The results of what is perceived as improv is often very different to what happens in the world of clowns; however, the bridge is possible, but the skillsets are tremendously useful (more so). 

6) What personal trait has gotten you in the most trouble in improv?

I have been directing and teaching improv for some time now, so the most recent trouble is my incessant adding other points and comments on what was just a statement or celebration. So, by stating some other information I have come across as setting myself as superior – not a great trait to have people believe. I am learning to shut up when people were not desiring my additional information. We are all students to life and ourselves. 

7) How does psychology entwines in improv?

I guess we should keep it a secret to beginners that improv highlights the person improvising. The avoidance tactics that we so love watching for the laughter it gives the audience is the psychology that we watch. Whatever part of the improv journey the actor is in, we see the psychology of the actor or the character through the organic nature of improvisation. We people watch and are fascinated by humans. 

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