One of the nation's longest running improv nights keeps on improv-ing
Although it’s consistently successful here in Melbourne, The Big HOO HAA! is actually imported from Perth, where it all began.
“I started with HOO-HAA! Perth in 2003,” Nussey explains. “I first got involved as I auditioned for a play and the director wanted me to improve my improv skills so he sent me along to some rehearsals. It wasn't long before I was hooked. My first show was during a 24 hour HOO-HAA! in Fremantle at 6am. We used to perform at the Fremantle Hotel and the bar opened again at 6am so we called it ‘holy hour’.”
It’s largely thanks to the migration of young people from Perth to Melbourne that The Big HOO HAA! blossomed in the windy city. “The Big HOO HAA! started in Melbourne because so many of the Perth players had already moved over here,” Nussey recalls. “We'd been talking about it for a while and when we heard that senior player Jimmy James Eaton was also making the move, we decided we'd better get onto it. When we got everyone together for our first few shows back in July 2010, we had seven people (which was a challenge in itself because the show needs eight).
“So for a while our shows had small teams and swing players who were on both teams. A couple of months later we auditioned and our ensemble grew to incorporate new players who hadn't started with us in Perth. The Big HOO-HAA! thrives on an inclusive, warm and supportive atmosphere and our newer players have embraced that with open arms. Luckily for us, fantastic players keep leaving Perth for Melbourne, so our ensemble gets stronger and stronger.”
Now featuring many a recognisable name, including Charlie Sturgeon, Jason Chatfield, Liam Ryan and Simon Taylor, The Big HOO HAA! is a refreshing treat each week with a rotating cast of hilarious performers.
Nussey is happy to claim that doing The Big HOO HAA! makes her “absolutely without question a better person. Working regularly with such a fun-loving, hardworking, supportive ensemble means we have a smile on our face (sometimes to a creepy extent) all the time. To be a good improviser you need skills such as confidence, working with a team, accepting and committing to other people's ideas, supporting other people, thinking on your feet, calmness in high pressure situations, to take your work seriously but not yourself and to be always looking to improve. All of these things make life easier.”