Cultural Talent Tom Wilcox: ‘Groningen always feels alive!’

Cultural Talent Tom Wilcox: ‘Groningen always feels alive!’

Short bio:
From: Liverpool, England
- Member of the Stranger Things Have Happened comedy group
- Teacher of English at Hanze University Groningen


Every first Thursday of the month, USVA is filled with students who are in for a night of improvised comedy performed by the Stranger Things Have Happened comedy group. The comedy nights consist out of improvised games and short scenes that are improvised based on interaction from the audience. GroningenLife! got curious and interviewed Tom Wilcox, one of the members of the group, to get to know a bit more about the culture scene in Groningen...

What do you like most about Groningen?
I would say the atmosphere. I often find that other cities miss something when I visit them.
I think the atmosphere in Groningen is so unique because it is a real university town. You can do lots of things and everything is nearby. Also, Groningen is the only large city in the North of the Netherlands, and therefore there is always something going on. However the city is still small enough to be manageable. As Groningen has a large student population, it means that the city is really fresh and young, and the city is constantly changing. Nightlife and culture life is really great; the city always feels really alive!

What do you think of the culture scene in Groningen?
I think its great, there’s just so much to do! Groningen has a great underground music scene; Vera and Simplon are great examples for that. And especially: the festivals! Groningen has so many festivals. And it seems like more and more keep coming. Festivals such as Noorderslag, Eurosonic and Noorderzon always attract so many people. I believe it’s really good for Groningen to have the festivals.

When and why did you start acting?
I joined the theatre group GUTS (Groningen University Theatre Society) from the University of Groningen and stayed there for around three years. That was the first time I really wanted to see if I could do acting. Especially when I was a kid, I always felt kind of embarrassed when I was on a stage and wanted to get off as soon as possible. With GUTS it was the first time I really wanted to try to do it well. I wanted to see how I could do it, and rather enjoy acting instead of being afraid of it.

What made you want to start acting in a comedy group?
It kind of developed out of GUTS in a way. We started with a small group with other members of GUTS. Together with people from that group, we did a lot of improv comedy in rehearsals for plays. One of our group members decided to make a show out of the improv comedy. None of us was really enthusiastic in the beginning; we thought people wouldn’t be interested in it! But, the guy in our group was really motivated to start with it, so I joined. And I found out I really enjoyed it.

What advice would you give to other young actors in Groningen?
Just go for it! Join a theatre group in Groningen. It might even be better to join one in Dutch, since it will be a really good start to practice the language and meet local people. Also definitely check out USVA. There is currently a drama class offered both in English and Dutch. But besides that there are also quite a few Dutch theatre associations. There’s plenty to go for, so don’t be afraid to go on an audition and try stuff out!

What is it like to be part of the comedy group Stranger Things Have Happened?
It’s definitely good fun! We’ve been around for two and a half years now, and I’ve been in the group since the beginning. It’s hard work, well, not really, but we pretty much rehearse once a week and have a show on Monday eve. So it already takes up two nights a week. Often we also have a serious theatre project going on, which we have right now. And then the Hanze University, the University of Groningen and many student organizations also book us quite often. It’s a time consuming hobby, but definitely a fun hobby.

Interested in more? Good news for all comedy fans: In June 2012 the Stranger Things Have Happened comedy group will introduce NORTH: comedy series about international students in Groningen.


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