Inspired by improvised comedy at the Edinburgh Festival, Hannah, Steve and Tai enlisted improv guru Jon Dick to recruit and direct what might be Oxford’s first improvised comedy group.
On 19th January 2004, the Imps performed their debut public show at The Wheatsheaf in Oxford. The show was an instant hit, and the Imps have been performing to full houses ever since. The Imps have also enjoyed success with a number of week-long residencies, including full length-improvised musicals, funk inflected comic jams and affectionate 1950s radio play send-ups. Past years have seen the troupe perform marathon twelve hour sets, put on double-header shows with the Oxford Revue, and preside over murder mysteries inside the city’s forbidding cloisters.
The Imps have performed at the Edinburgh Fringe for a full run every summer since 2004 (and at the Gilded Balloon since 2007). They were awarded a prized Sell-Out Fringe award in 2008, 2009 and 2013. The Imps have performed across the globe, having thrice toured the USA (Chicago, Nashville, Providence and New York), performing at altitude in ski resorts in the Alps, holding workshops in Bosnia, and improv battling Utrecht group Parnassos in the Netherlands every Easter. In addition, they’ve performed across the country from London to York, triumphantly debated at the Cambridge Union, and entertained audiences at festivals such as the Stratford Fringe, Truck and Wychwood Music Festival. They’ve also made a number of appearances on BBC radio and television – most memorably storming to victory on Eggheads, BBC Two’s much loved early evening quizarama.
The Oxford Imps celebrated their 10th anniversary with a one-off show at the Oxford New Theatre to a thousand happy faces which featured ex-Imps Robin & Partridge, Joe Morpurgo, Morgan & West, Ivo Graham and Rachel Parris. The show gained five star reviews and deemed the Imps ‘a force to be reckoned with.’