John-Paul Flintoff is a journalist for The Sunday Times, a film-maker and author. For six years, he was feature writer and associate editor on the Financial Times magazine. His most recent book ‘How to Change the World’ (Pan Macmillan) has been widely praised by critics and the public. As a committed environmentalist, he cofounded Transition Belsize, one of the largest and longest established Transition initiatives in the UK. As an artist, he has exhibited at Leighton House and at the Royal College of Art. He’s been a member of the faculty at London’s School of Life, since 2010. He has done two TEDx talks, in Greece and in Ireland. He works with companies including Google and Microsoft, and London Business School, using his training in theatrical improvisation to help people towards ever greater spontaneity and creativity.
2 Minute Interview:
How does your performance/workshop/talk at NOW Festival relate to being in the moment?
It’s almost impossible to improvise if you aren’t in the moment – in performance, anyway, though less so if you’re improvising with “stuff”. When you have no script or score to follow, you can only find out where you are going by paying attention to what is happening right now, and building on that. Impro games aren’t about turning everybody into a performer – they teach life skills that can benefit everybody.
What are you most looking forward to doing within your NOW Festival slot?
Getting people on their feet and experiencing the games and exercises for themselves. It’s delightful to see a kind of dawning realisation on people’s faces as they notice that they have developed habitual Ways Of Being – and have the choice at any moment to be completely different.
Do you have any tips on how the audience can best benefit from your performance/workshop/talk at NOW Festival?
I would ask people to think before they come about what they would most like to get out of the experience – and then to ask themselves how they might (consciously or unconsciously) undermine that…
At NOW Festival (Wilderness):
One of the main reasons we don’t achieve as much as we could in life is the belief that we aren’t ready. But some people don’t seem to be held back that way. They act as if they already have what they need in front of them – and find it in materials that others overlook, situations that others regard as unpromising, and innate personal qualities that others take for granted. This is the skill of improvisation: to accept the world as it is, not with resignation, but playfulness and ingenuity.