At a Stranger Things show, you never know what to expect. Neither do we.
Stranger Things Have Happened is an English-speaking improv comedy group from the Netherlands that performs both national and international shows.
Improv comedy involves scenes that are made up on the spot by the actors, usually inspired by suggestions taken from the audience. The result is a unique and fresh show that remains unpredictable for both the audience and the performers. For over six years, Stranger Things has been one of the leading improv groups in the country, playing hundreds of comedy shows ranging from small clubs to big theatres.
Stranger Things hosts free Improv Comedy Jams at De Spieghel in Groningen every Monday night at 21.00 and a monthly improv comedy show at the Silo in Groningen! Tickets for these shows can be bought online. We are regularly employed by companies, clubs and other organisations to perform custom-made shows. Interested in hiring Stranger Things? Click on Bookings to find out more.
Aside from these comedy shows and plays, we also host improvisation workshops. Stranger Things actors have accompanied hundreds of people from all ages and nationalities in both workshops and full-blown courses. A minimal workshop duration is one hour, and can be tailored to the needs of your organisation.
We know Jelle for his wit and dry delivery, but only recently have we started suspecting that his dryness might hide a far more nefarious secret: that he is, in fact, a robot. It adds up: the deadpan stare, the disregard for convention, the slightly robotic dance moves he makes while drunk. So that's Jelle: a Turing test with a laughing track. And so far, it seems the robot is winning.
Chad hails from the murky south of the USA, but has relocated his southern charm to the bleak north of Europe. Originally a theatre actor, he has recently expanded his activities with feature films. Despite all this, improvisation remains his first love. As the only Stranger who wears glasses, he has no problem hitting other people on stage.
Ole was born and raised in Germany, but since we've never heard him speak actual German we're suspicious. Nevertheless, he is an accomplished improviser and frequently reminds us that he is 'classically trained'. In what, we have no idea. He is also the best choice for hugs and high fives, which has turned him into the unofficial group mascot.
'You don't Hoff the Hessels,' is a statement that was frequently heard in the corridors. We had no idea what that meant until we encountered Paul. We're convinced that he's the casting opportunity that Michael Bay has missed, but we're glad to take him in with all his rugged handsomeness, easy charm and... sorry, where were we?
Thomas was a musician before he became an actor. We don't mind, but he keeps bringing a saxophone to meetings. He's done theatre and television, and also teaches several improv courses at the Usva. But most importantly, he's very modest and the author of all biographies on this page.
Corina emerges from the deep dark past of improv comedy in Groningen, having been a member of both House of Mangoes and EQD. She was also a magician's assistant, and has the scars to prove it. This probably explains why she asked for a safety statute in her current contract, and why she has such a fascination with bunnies.
Naomi de Ruiter
Naomi is our resident Canadian. Her first experience of Groningen theatre was playing a 7-year-old boy, a role that she never really outgrew. A veteran of the English theatre scene, she is also the trainer of our student group Friends of Mine and teaches the Usva courses. She got into improv because she kept losing her scripts.
Kees de Vries
Kees is the founder of Stranger Things and is still alive to talk about it. He has performed, written and directed many plays, taking one of his productions to the Edinburgh Fringe, and teaches several improv courses at the Usva. He is currently both the trainer and regular host of the company. He'd love to do more, but there's only so much coffee.
Marjolein started off her theatrical career in GUTS. After a string of successful (and occasionally award-winning) performances, she decided to break free from the scripted tradition and embrace improvisation. When asked whether this took some getting used to, she readily admitted that she had improvised all the previous plays anyway.
Tom originally hails from Liverpool and has over a decade of stage experience in comedy and drama alike. He is also a successful DJ and has been known to fit in more than one performance in a single night. When asked how he manages such a lifestyle, he replied: 'Improv is my cocaine'. Then he jumped off the balcony and flew away.
Jeny Yáñez Villahermosa
Jeny is Stranger Things's pianist, and although we occasionally feel guilty for employing a professional musician to accompany our frankly silly voices, we haven't yet found any other person who can combine that musicality with the kind of patience needed to survive a night of us trying to make her play 80's pop songs. She knows all of them, too.