Oops, I haven’t done one of these since 2019, right before the pandemic. The pandemic rewired our brains and priorities change I guess. But here I am, the end of another year taking stock of achievements, successes and learnings from the year gone by.

Hightlights

 

  • Scene+Heard

Staged the experimental show “The Company Ink” in Smock Alley Theatre as part of the Scene+Heard Festival with my improv duo partner, Jenna O’Brien. From an audience perspective but festival brings alot of talent and opportunity to Dublin in an era when the arts faces man challenges.

 

  • Big Wins for Improv in the Corporate Space

– Took on 8 brand new corporate clients in addition to my existing corporates.

– The Improv module I designed and deliver for the Irish Management Institute’s Diploma in Leadership continues to score very highly among participants.

– I also secured a tender teaching a Communications course for managers in the public sector. While the client didn’t ask for Improv, the whole course is designed with Improv tools and exercises blended with traditional literature and best practice with the subject matter. During the pilot phase, one of the testers commented that he had never experienced anything like it before! The next step is pulling back the curtain and showing them it was improv all along!

– I delivery a 90 minute interactive talk on Effective Teams and Improv for a department in the Revenue Commissioner at their offsite event. Definitely one where I expected resistance but the group but they embraced the content and the feedback afterwards was great.

 

  • TJ & Dave in Dublin

Marking the 10 year anniversary of having first seen TJ & Dave in Chicago, I finally got them to Dublin and they put on a stellar show. I wrote more about it here.

 

  • Helped run a very successful Improv Utopia Spain

This was such a joy to do. “Boutique” Improv Utopia in my second home’s neighbourhood in Spain. Big thanks and love to Nick and the Improv Utopia team for continuing to have fate in me. Roll on 2024!

 

  • One of the best years for Improv Fest Ireland 

Feel very blessed and fortunate that the festival continues to do what it does. This year we received the “Remarkable Arts Label” from the European Festivals Association as well as secure EFFEA funding in partnership with a Hungarian improv festival. We had another year of packed out audiences and we have the best team we ever had behind it all. Very grateful for them.

 

  • The Improv Playground

The Improv Playground continues to grow and really be a hub for improv in Dublin. We have such so many regulars and each week we have new faces at our drop ins. Very grateful for my partner in crime with its all, Quinton O’Reilly. Playground not only provide a safe and accessible space for people, but also helps bring others aspects of improv to people, growing audiences for all improv shows in Dublin.

 

Lowlights

Given we tend to focus on just the positives with posts like this, and improv is all about embracing failure, its only appropriate I share my lowlights for the year.

 

  • Eye Appreciate You

I had 3 eye/retina procedures and surgeries in 2023 and with at least one more planned for 2024. It had a huge impact on work and life. (recovery from surgery means doing absolutely nothing for 2-3 weeks). I foolishly broke doctor’s orders and did a Neil+1 show when I was supposed to be recovering but thankfully nothing bad happened. My vision is pants in that eye even though the retina is stable. The next surgery may restore some vision. Fingers crossed.

 

  • Friendships

Friendships have suffered this year. It’s common for my age and gender, but with improv being a hobby for many and how I make my living, it adds an extra layer of complexity. Couple that with my atrocious ability to call and text people (I dont like bothering people!) and friendships start to suffer. I fully intend to do better here in 2024.

 

And that’s a wrap. Wishing you all a great 2024!

2023: My Improvised Year In Review
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