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with threatre company director & improv comedian Eji Osigwe

Villa Maria brand ambassador, Angela Lewis, was joined this week by a theatre company director and improv comedian, Eji Osigwe, in the latest instalment of our #VillaMariaTalks events.

With this week’s focus being on Talking Tech, we asked Eji how his career has been shaped by technology and what he thinks about how conversations have been impacted by the rise in technological communication.

What role do conversation and technology play in your career?

Primarily, I am a theatre director, based in Manchester. We do lots of comedy, largely improvisation and we are all about using improv to make people laugh. Improvisation is basically centred on keeping the conversation moving, so it is a massive part of my life.

I am also a website developer for a company called Reason Digital, who try to use ‘tech for good’. Their thing is really taking technology and making sure that we are using it for good causes, such as charities, using positive activism to find something and make it happen.

Not that this is a bad thing but a lot of technology at the moment is generated for profitable gain or to push specific ideas so tech for good is really about looking at a specific cause and trying to find technology that will help people in specific situations. We are trying to use technology to help people deal with real-life issues.

How did your career take its course?

I actually started in stand-up comedy. I was 17 and naïve and didn’t know how scary it should have been but just loved to chat. Conversation, especially in improvisation, is central to your success, and I found that I had a real passion for it. After 7 years of travelling around the UK, I decided to begin helping others get involved in performing comedy and performing better as individuals by starting up ImproQuo, the comedy and theatre company.

What is the greatest skill that you need for successful improvisation and communication?

Once you know the core concepts it’s simple. An example is saying yes. Saying ‘no’ will stifle your progress but saying yes means you are always moving forward. It's like learning to play the piano, once you know the keys you can play!

Do you think the rise in communication via technology is a concern for society?

It can be a concern if it is the only way you are communicating. Of course, this is bad for your physical and mental health. However, if you supplement technological communication with face to face communication, I think tech can be a vital tool for conversation, and it can really help people with their confidence.

Do you think technology is enhancing conversations?

I think technology is enhancing our conversation, I think it is good for us. While it can be exacerbating issues that we have, with people being confrontational, I think that ultimately the access that the internet and social media has created means that we can be in contact and have wider opportunities to communicate, which is a really positive thing.

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