The leader of Theatre Royal’s popular Act Your Age Workshops, Graham Allum, has appeared on television in a sketch during Michael McIntyre’s Big Show on BBC1. Graham was part of a concerted effort to convince a member of British Airways staff that he was helping to lead a workshop for people with a fear of flying, before revealing that he had actually been backstage at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane, where Michael McIntyre’s Big Show was being recorded in front of a huge audience. In the setup, Graham entered the room, decorated to look like a typical small conference room, acting like a nervous passenger dragging his hand luggage, wearing a life jacket and a concealed earpiece which allowed Michael to relay requests for him to do on the spot.

The main focus of the Act Your Age workshops is to help participants to improve their improvisation skills, and it was these skills which Graham was drawing on for his appearance in the sketch. As the prank continued, Michael instructed Graham to ask the instructors if ditching a plane would be classed as an emergency, and when the answer was given as yes, Graham was instructed to inflate his life jacket. Michael was reduced to fits of laughter on stage, watching via a live feed screen, and said of Graham “I think he took that as far as it could go!!” – which is actually a great way to sum up the aims of Graham’s workshops too.

The Act Your Age workshops encourage participants to release their natural creativity through the development of Improvisation techniques, fun and the use of expressive theatre games. The workshops aim to help you to release your inner artist, work creatively with other people and make you laugh a lot. Meet old friends, make new friends and exercise your creativity as a part of this vibrant group meeting for a theatre workshop and to watch the occasional production together. Whether you have acted before – or not – this group could be for you.

The workshops start up again in January, for more information and to find out how to get involved visit Act Your Age.

The full segment can be watched online via iPlayer 37mins onwards (available for 10 more days).

(pictures via BBC iPlayer)

The Act Your Age Workshops are supported by Suffolk Community Foundation