"Guelph - You Think You're Coming Just for University, But Everyone Stays. Everyone."
When Guelph is looking for the best laugh in town, they end up at 40 Baker Street hanging out with Jay and Hayley. This bubbly duo are the jazz hands and bright minds behind The Making- Box. When we think of community, we can't help but think of the inspiring events and relationships that The Making-Box fosters here in Guelph.
Give us a little bit of the story behind what inspired The Making Box..
Jay: When I was fifteen I discovered that the practice of improv theatre transformed people in their most open, happy, and connected selves. The Making-Box is an expression of the desire to allow others to be their most open, happy, and connected on and off-stage. Improv operates on a framework of listening, connecting and response that encourages trust, flexibility, and positivity. Ultimately, life itself is improvised too, so the benefits of improv go far beyond the stage and into every nook and cranny of day-to-day life; at work, in relationships and alone in our weird brains.
The name 'The Making-Box' comes from my Mom. Growing up, my family had a rubbermaid tote full of construction paper, scissors, pipe cleaners, glue-sticks, glitter etc... She called this contained The Making-Box. For my brothers and I, it was a platform to create from.
So what is going on in that Petrie Building? I heard you folks are up to something awesome...
Since these lovely folks interviewed for us, there's been an update about their crowd-funding campaign.. Click here to read more.
Hayley: We are! We just completed a wildly successful crowd-funding campaign to give Guelph it's first ever permanent home for live comedy and improv education. Guelph's new home for joy and empowerment will be on the second floor at 15 Wyndham St. N, directly above what was Dino's. It will be fully-accessible and gender neutral. It was an incredible experience seeing our community rise up to support us and each other. It proved once against that comedy builds community.
So we've heard that the Making Box is a place full of happiness, big smiles, and awesome high fives (there is an art form to it). So what can I expect if I come to The Making Box...
Jay: Finding joy in simple things is a choice. We provide a platform to make that decision easier. Our feature shows happen every 2nd and 4th Friday. We also produce monthly shows at Cornerstone and ANAF. Sometimes it's stand-up comedy, sometimes it's improv, sometimes it's neither but it's always welcoming, accessible and fun (expect for that one time...) We feature comedians you may have seen/heard on tv, online, in a podcast, on the radio and budding local comedians that challenging the art-form in new and exciting ways too. Our shows almost always sellout in advance. So, don't hesitate, celebrate!
Jay: Improv classes are gasoline on friendship-fire. The world would be a better place if everyone took one. Everyone discovers this when they try improv.
Hayley: When you first sign up for a Making-Box class, whether it be our Intro to Improv Drop-In (Second Saturday of every month!) or a seven week Improv Incubator course, you will find a group of other humans who are int eh same boat as you: kinda nervous. Even signing-up for an improv class takes courage and we're asking you to step out of your comfort zone and work with a group of people you often have just met for the first time! We don't turn a blind eye to the anxiety that can build there. The beautiful thing about improv and The Making-Box is we teach acceptance and positivity, so that group anxiety dissipates quickly. I can confidently say at every single intro course I have taught my students stand up and tell the group how accepted they feel and how confident they feel about their choices in our space. There is no such thing as a mistake in improv; only gifts and learning opportunities. It's magical. Bottom line - you can expect to make connections and friendships that come without judgment and spend 7 weeks learning and laughing with those people. Plus the added bonus of learning the fundamentals of improvisational theatre.
If you could give Guelph a slogan... What Would It Be?
Jay: Guelph - Making a Difference, One Salad at a Time.
Hayley: Guelph - You Think You're Coming Just for University, But Everyone Stays. Everyone.
Hayley: Guelph - We Got You Buddy.
Why/what do you love about being involved in Guelph?
Hayley: For me, Guelph has been a beautiful restart. I moved here from Toronto in July 2016, and my first year was the single most welcoming experience I have ever had.
Let me break it down for you: My first day in town I spent doing a detailed scavenger hunt my partner, Caleb, put together for me. He designed it so I would get to know all the best places to eat, shop, and poke around in. The next time I came to town I met Jay. Within 6 hours of meeting him, we decided I should join The Making-Box. My first class I taught at M-B brought me homemade snacks and promised to introduce me to people so I could make new friends. Every one of them followed up on those introductions and I meet countless awesome Guelphites, who I'm happy to call friends then and today. That first year was a whirlwind of being supported by local businesses, government, neighbours, and community. I left a city overflowing with opportunity. I was working for one of the most well respected comedy companies in the world. I chose Guelph because for every second I have lived in this town I feel accepted, loved, and celebrated. This is a place where a rising tide raises all ships. Guelph finds collective success and that is a rare treat.
Jay: Working with companies like Grey Rock.