It’s been a remarkable year for English-speaking entertainment in Copenhagen. The Improv Comedy Copenhagen Theatre and Café (ICC) opened its doors last August but has already made a huge impact. In June the ICC was awarded Best Stage in Copenhagen by AOK, beating competition from The Royal Theatre and Eventyr Teateret amongst others. Not bad for an English-speaking venue that specialises in an art form most people here have never seen before.
This cozy, 50-seater space is run by two Danes, teacher and performer Stefan Pagels Andersen and entrepreneur Kasper Jacobsen. Together they spotted a gap in the market – the thousands of ex pats, students, tourists who communicate in English – and dove right in. it made sense to offer them something fresh and innovative.
“It’s amazing to see how well people in Copenhagen have accepted an art form I really love my self. Even more amazing to see how talented our many performers are, and the high level of quality they put on that stage every single week! It’s safe to say we’re very proud,” says Pagels Andersen.
He trained for three years in Chicago, the spiritual home of improv, and brought back with him long-form American formats that have proved a hit here in Denmark. With shows on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, they are clearly doing something right.
“Winning the AOK best stage in Copenhagen award gave us the “approval”, within Denmark, from outside the ICC community that what we are doing is something special. Reaching this point would not have been possible without all the wonderful people who have been helping out along the way. It is absolutely amazing to be a part of something where so many nationalities are working side by side with a common goal,” says Kasper Jacobsen.
ICC recently acquired a new training centre entirely devoted to training new performers and build on its ever-growing community. Not only that, but businesses are also taking improv into their programs. For the past six months ICC has been facilitating workshops for some of the biggest companies in Denmark, including Danske Bank, Schneider Electric and Maersk as well as the Fortune500 company Petronas that flew in 21 HR-executives from Malaysia to do improv.
There is a new run of courses set to start at the end of July that are open to everyone, from complete novices wanting to see what all the fuss is about to experienced performers looking to finesse their stage work. Of course, there’s also the shows themselves, which are unpredictable, ingenious and very, very funny.
As someone who is now a regular performer at ICC, I can honestly say that the world of improv has really opened my mind to what can be done on stage. Improv is liberating, empowering and truly collaborative, and a lot of fun. In a world that is increasingly fragmented, cynical and insular, the power to ‘say yes and’ to something inspirational and positive has never been more needed.
Improv Comedy Copenhagen
ICC Theatre, Frederiksholms Kanal 2, 1220 Kbh K
Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm