St Patrick’s Day 2023: Improv’s Irish poster girl

In the city’s thriving improvisation scene, there are no female entertainers more visible than Sarah McGillion, the founder of various groups, including If These Walls Could Talk

A vibrant improv scene has been emerging in Denmark over the last ten years – or rather you could argue seven and a half years, tracing its rapid acceleration to the exact date in 2015 when Irish performer Sarah McGillion arrived on these shores.

Quite simply, McGillion gets it done. Barely a fortnight passes without yet another social alert for one of her shows. Lygten Station in Nørrebro is her venue of choice, although she is known to tread the boards all over Copenhagen – and even further afield.

She has quickly become ‘the face’ of improv in the capital with her company Inconspicuous.

Career in improv too

On top of performing frequently and teaching improv students, Sarah also runs a company that is hired by businesses to teach employees valuable improv theatre skills such as communication, listening, team-building, and presentation skills.

But while she has clearly made a home for herself in Denmark and forged a career doing what she loves, surely she still misses the ‘old country’ – particularly in the build-up and then subsequent celebration of Ireland’s national day.

To find out more, CPH POST felt there was no better opportunity than this St Patrick’s Day supplement to find out more about her.

When did you come to Denmark and why?

Seven and a half years ago. I came to study IT cognition because my background is computer science and maths. IT cognition was this great degree with interdisciplinary study between psychology, linguistics and computer science. There was a great professor here and a great program, and I came here to study and then I never left.

How was the transition to Copenhagen having grown up in Ireland?

I’m from just outside Dublin. A place Called Enniskerry, but I went to school in Dublin. You’re always lucky when you move as a student, I think. Because you’re surrounded by lots of expats and people who are eager to make friends. There are lots of activities, groups and hobbies and things. Finding an apartment was tough though. Yeah, I think I’ve lived in eight places since I’ve lived here. I’ve moved a lot.

You are no longer a student; where do you find most of your friends now?

I used to do a lot of theatre when I was a kid. When I got here I wanted to start doing that again. I joined a theatre and met a lot of friends who are expats. That became a huge part of my life and kind of the focus of my friend group. I still do have some really good friends from university, but I’d say the majority of my friends are people I’ve done improv or theatre with. It’s also cool as well.

How did the theatre help you adjust to life in a new country?

I think you come out of your shell a bit. Especially with improv because you’re encouraged to build a safe environment together, support each other and be a little silly. One of the coolest things about improv in Copenhagen is that there’s so many engineers and computer scientists that are a part of it. You might think that everybody in the theatre is an artist or an actor, but a lot are technical people who have a super creative side that they don’t get to release at work. When you’re an expat, it’s really cool to meet people of all different walks of life.

Why improv?

I just got a huge rush. I also teach students how to do this on stage. And often because everybody works a day job, it’ll be in the evening. And I’ll finish the session at nine o’clock or 9:30 and I’m just so excited, so energised. I think you’re lucky when you find that thing that does that for you. And then that’s kind of your calling. I could talk about improv forever; I get really energetic and really passionate!

What were your expectations when you started out?

I was hoping to find that joy I had doing theatre as a kid, and also friendship. I was looking for friends. I also realised I was in my mid-20s and I didn’t really have a hobby. It was to meet new friends, find a hobby. The idea wasn’t actually even to get on stage originally. It just happened quite quickly. The idea was honestly just to do classes, meet people and have fun. It kind of transformed quickly. I got on a team and we were performing weekly and I loved it. It can be quite addictive performing. I love performing. I love to be creating something that’s never been created up on stage with some of my best friends. While entertaining an audience.

What draws you to teaching  improv and improv skills – especially to business clients?

I really enjoy teaching business clients, because we often have people who have more of a shell. Because they’re in a workplace or a professional setting, they don’t want to look silly, and they don’t want to make mistakes. After a successful session, when you see people have kind of cracked that shell a little bit, or people are bonding or a bit more open, there’s something super-awesomely rewarding about that. I also love to teach students who want to be performers, because they have this hunger and excitement. And whenever you teach, you learn something.

What will you be doing for St Patrick’s Day?

I have a show. We’re doing a mediaeval fantasy-themed show. It’s at Lygten Station at 7pm. It’s my team SuperCut with another Irish guy. So there you go: two Irish and a Danish-Canadian. The three of us will be improvising mediaeval fantasy. We create a movie on stage live for the audience based on the title the audience suggests. And then we create a movie. The second half of the evening we do the deleted scenes or the director’s commentary or whatever the audience wants to see more of from the movie that might have ‘got cut’.

What’s the Irish community like in Denmark? Where is it? How are you able to feel it?

I honestly don’t know. I have one very good Irish friend. He’s the producer and co-host of the podcast Coping in Copenhagen, and he performs with me in SuperCut. We met by accident. I think he tried to organise an improv workshop And then we bonded. similar personalities, and it’s quite easy to bond when you’ve got similar references. I’ve seen on facebook that there is Gaelic football in copenhagen.

Sarah will next be performing in ‘A Knight to Remember: The Spontaneous Medieval Fantasy’ at 19:00 on March 17. Tickets cost 60 kroner and are available from

Check out our entire 2023 St Patrick’s Day supplement here.