Isabelle Culkin talks to Shellshock! President Adam Murphy about Shellshock!’s upcoming collab show.
This weekend The Assembly Rooms Theatre is hosting a weekend of comedy. One of its offerings is That Comedy Show, which will be compiled of performances by a number of Durham-based comedy groups. It promises improvised comedy from Shellshock!, sketches from Just Deserts and “people standing up” from Stand-Up Durham.
Shellshock! President Adam Murphy will be hosting the evening. The evening is the brainchild of sorts of Murphy who is very keen on collaboration generally within comedy, and is one of his aims for Shellshock! as President. “One of my main aims is try and do more collab shows, just in the comedy scene as a whole.” Murphy wants there to be less divide between different comedy groups, even if they do focus on different aspects of comedy.
This desire for collaboration is at the heart of Shellshock! as a whole, even in the way they function as a society. Murphy explains that Shellshock! work differently to some of the other comedy groups in Durham in that they don’t have an audition process. “If we auditioned we wouldn’t get to work with so many people.”
Shellshock! run weekly workshops on a Tuesday in PG20 from 20:00 till 21:30. “Our workshops are run by our workshop officers Ryan Murphy and Adam Robinson, and in each workshop we’ll do about three games.” The first few workshops of this term will work a bit differently though. “The first two workshops will be in smaller groups, so that people who don’t want to perform straight away and just want to try can do just that.”
Murphy stresses that “there’s no pressure to get involved” and that some people come to their workshops “just to watch”. However, there is obviously plenty more opportunity for anyone who wants to get more involved. “If people want to take it further and be performers, then there are Saturday workshops.” These workshops get into the more technical side of developing the knack for improvised comedy.
Murphy has plans for much further collaboration as the year goes on. “Hopefully we’ll have a professional group from Bristol called Degrees Of Error come and do a collab show with Shellshock! soon.” For now though he’s excited about That Comedy Show. It’s the product of a lot of personal work for Murphy. “I’m trying to see what I can do.” That might be true, but it seems that he and his fellow Shellshock! members are also keen on seeing what other people can do too. After all, he adds, “I think everyone is funny in their own way”.
‘That Comedy Show’ is at The Assembly Rooms Theatre on Sun 18 October, 20:00. Book tickets here.
Photograph: Ryan Murphy