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Strong Female Lead: Lightbulb Improv

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Your favourite Netflix genre is coming to the stage in Lightbulb Improv—a platform for Canberra’s female songwriters, improvisers, theatre performers, and comedians to shine.

Looking for more strong female leads in your life?

Lightbulb Improv co-founder Amy Crawford is too. It’s no secret that most creative industries and the art they produce have long been dominated by men, but over the past couple of years, women and underrepresented minorities have begun to take their place on centre stage.

With this in mind, Amy and her fellow co-founder Lou Maconachie decided to create a platform for Canberra’s incredible female songwriters, improvisers, theatre performers, and comedians to shine.

“Lightbulb Improv has always had its roots in storytelling, and we wanted to do a duo piece that focussed on women’s stories,” Amy explains. “We realised though that our perspective could never be broad enough to represent all women’s views. In twenty minutes we had come up with a variety show called Strong Female Lead.”

On 7 March, Amy and Lou will kick off the Strong Female Lead event series with their brand new show Tidying Up, inspired by the cult of Marie Kondo. Their comedy explores the fact that reality is never as neat as it is portrayed.

“Sometimes I want to yell at the TV, ‘Why do you two care more about where the saucepans go than why your marriage is falling apart. And why do you have three identical saucepans anyway?’ Lou takes a more philosophical view, she thinks it’s fun to consider the tidying up all as one big metaphor for how the relationships are faring in the house.”

In true improv style, Amy and Lou will ask the audience to define the relationship between the two characters and to decide who is the Marie Kondo fan and who is the cynic.

“We’ll then create comedy from that information and whatever sparks joy in us on stage!”

HerCanberra favourite Laura Campbell will emcee the night with support acts from Sarah Campbell and her original songs, Helen Way in a weird and compelling theatre piece and Laura Griffin performing spoken word.

Strong Female Lead is a natural next step for the Lightbulb Improv team, who have always done things a little differently.

“Lightbulb Improv was established by women, and 60 per cent of our troupe are women. That’s not at all common in the improv world. Our Lightbulb troupe members have told us how supported they’ve felt under what they joke is our matriarchal leadership style.”

“We want to bring that same feeling to the broader female artistic community. We want to provide a performance opportunity that supports women to share their talent and thoughts in whatever creative form they wish.”

Amy hopes the Strong Female Lead series will give Canberra’s women a chance to connect with each other in a new way, providing opportunities to perform or just be immersed in the local artistic scene.

“Some people may consider Canberra a boring public servant town but often hidden under business attire is a woman of immense creative talent.”

Amy and Lou hope to produce a Strong Female Lead event once a quarter, because Canberra’s women have way too much talent to squeeze into one show. You can also catch the Lightbulb Improv troupe at the upcoming Canberra Comedy Festival performing Truth or Dare on March 20 and 21 at The Street Theatre.

the essentials

What: Strong Female Lead
Where: Smiths Alternative
When: Thursday 7 March, 7.30 pm (doors open 7 pm)
How much: $10/$15
Website: smithsalternative.com

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