SWISH Improv

Members of the only improvisation club on East Carolina University's campus, SWISH Improv, pose together for a group photo.

East Carolina University’s Swish Improv club invites all students who love to be funny to join its team.

Swish is a team that participates in improv, a funny and unscripted performance where the story is based off of topics retrieved from the audience. Giving them names, places or anything that comes to mind, the team then has to come up with a performance based off the audience’s words.

It is a show that is unique for every performance and hilarious for the entire audience to enjoy, according to Jake Weddle, one of the co-captains of the team.

Weddle, a senior double majoring in communication and theatre, is one of the captains of the improv team, and explained improv wasn’t just having a fun thing to do with your best friends, but also an important tool that can be used in everyday life.

“You have to accept the given circumstances that you are in and make something of it,” Weddle said. “The ability to do this and move on from there is not only important in the world of improv, but also a good skill to have in life as an adult.”

Swish’s next performance, titled “Swishentines” for Valentine’s Day, is on Feb. 22 at 11 p.m. in Messick Theatre Arts Center, room 206.

A member since freshman year, Weddle said the group has fluctuated since his first time in the club, and he himself has gained endless life skills due to it. They try to have 10 to 20 people, a lot for an improv club, for variation of comedy and personalities in their shows, according to Weddle.

Swish has also ventured out into the community for their shows as well. In the past, they have done shows for the Magnolia Arts Center and Turnage Theatre.

Joyce Cooper, co-captain of the team and a sophmore double majoring in professional acting and theatre education, said the club is open to all majors who want to learn more about being a performer and being comfortable on stage.

“Swish is a collaborative environment where students of any major can come and learn the rules of improv, and how to work together as a team and as an individual performer to further your education of the ins and outs of that art form,” Cooper said.

Since the club is based in the School of Theatre and Dance, it is hard to branch out into other majors, and for other students to hear about the Swish Improv Club, according to Weddle.

All of the members boast about their time and the close relationships they have made, the life lessons they have learned while in the improv club, as well as having a fun and hilarious time while doing it.

“I hope that they gain a better sense of listening to each other, it's a very important thing in improv and acting, as well as in life,” Cooper said. “Learning how to listen to each other and react based off of what you hear and how it makes you feel is something that I have gained from my time in Swish.”

Practices, which are usually two to three times a week depending on if they have a show, are essential to getting comfortable on stage for their live shows. They practice games and situations that could be thrown their way, according to Weddle.

Swish usually has auditions once or twice a year. The older members make sure to help and support the new members, or what they call ‘noobs,’ in their efforts to get comfortable with improv on stage and in front of a live audience, according to Weddle.

“When I was a ‘noob’ I was terrified to perform in front of everybody,” Weddle said. “Improv is really fun thing if you like playing games with some of your closest friends, but I also think improv teaches you really good skills to have in life as well.”

Matthew Donahue, a senior professional acting and musical theatre major, said the group has allowed him to express his passion for performing and his overall love for comedy.

“I have always been a goof and joking around, and I really wanted to be a part of a club to make friends that accept me and, ultimately, just make people laugh,” Donahue said.

Swish is open to all majors and encourages students to become a part of their fun and loving environment. They have shows once a month in Messick and auditions will be announced for the upcoming year via the group’s Twitter and Instagram.

“To me, Swish is almost like a therapy, we go through our college lives and stress about ‘What test do I have, what homework do I have’ etc. and we don’t have a moment to breathe,” Donahue said. “To me, swish is a breath, and it has been a bright light in my life.”

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