[ml_highlight color=’#000′ background_color=’#ffff99′] Questions? Email me at carey@careyhead.net! [/ml_highlight]

Are you ready for your kid to

  • Be a better communicator,
  • Be a better listener,
  • Develop poise under pressure,
  • Build confidence in the face of confusion and ambiguity,
  • Burn energy, and
  • Have fun?

Improv may be just what you’re looking for!

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[ml_clearfix /]What is Improv?

Improv refers to any form of spontaneous storytelling or theater, and is quickly gaining recognition as a valuable tool for business training in developing greater mental agility, teamwork, and communication skills.  Organizations from universities to corporations such as Google, Yahoo, McDonalds, and GE Healthcare have integrated improvisation into their training programs.

Improvisation isn’t about comedy, it’s about reacting — being focused and present in the moment at a very high level.

–Robert Kulhan, adjunct assistant professor at
Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business

You may already be familiar with improv from the TV show Whose Line is it Anyway? This is what is known as short-form improv: improvising around a set of rules, or “game.”

While this class will certainly prepare students to do short-form improv, our focus will be on Chicago-style improv. This is a slower, longer, and more intelligent “long form” of improvisation which challenges performers to build strong characters while creating a coherent narrative.

[ml_alert size=’1em’ color=’#e64646′ background_color=’#f5f5f5′]Watch The Improvised Shakespeare Company create a Shakespearean scene in this clip from their show:

(turn the volume down for the intro, then up for the clip) [/ml_alert] [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEiKGPakd6c&w=640] [ml_section_head main_title=’Why Learn Improv’ sub_title=’- OR, the easiest question in the world -‘ readability=’ml_readability’ /]

So many of the biggest names in film and TV comedy started in improv: Mike Meyers, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Steve Carrell, Chris Farley, Seth Meyers— and these are all from one theater in Chicago.

More importantly, however, is that improv teaches important skills for life and business. Consider this from the Keenan-Flagler Business School at UNC:

Business leaders need to be outstanding communicators, innovators, decision makers, change agents, critical thinkers, not to mention be able to handle ambiguity, promote teamwork and collaboration, and to be the best coach and mentor they can be. It is a tall order indeed. Developing these leadership abilities that are so critical to organizational success will force many leaders outside of their comfort zones.

Talent management professionals should view improv as a powerful resource in the development of these skills. In many ways, the tools and techniques of improv are uniquely suited to help business leaders develop these critical skills and behaviors.

Or this from KQED’s piece How Improv Can Open Up the Mind to Learning in the Classroom and Beyond: 

Not only does it hone communication and public speaking skills, it also stimulates fast thinking and engagement with ideas. On a deeper level, improv chips away at mental barriers that block creative thinking — that internal editor who crosses out every word before it appears on a page — and rewards spontaneous, intuitive responses

This extremely hands-on, interactive course will introduce students to the principles of improvisation, including:

  • The 5 basic elements of storytelling
  • Characterization
  • Status
  • Active listening
  • Supporting your teammates
  • Risk-taking and making daring choices
  • Failing with grace and style!
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The best part of learning through improv is that students acquire the skills by playing games which are fun, cooperative, and an amazing mental workout. Don’t be surprised when you find your kids practicing at home, or introducing their friends to these games.

The Show

Queue the fun! The class culminates in a performance by the students for friends and family. You will be amazed and delighted at how creative, fast-thinking, and confident the kids are, as they create scene after scene on the spot. You’ll get to join in the fun, shouting out locations or relationships or difficulties the actors will face. It’s the best final exam ever!

The Curriculum

Beginner Session

Week 1: Introduction to improv and the 4 rules

Week 2: Supporting the team: Yes, and…

Week 3: Supporting the team: Listening

Week 4: Storytelling I: build the platform, break the routine, and introduce trouble

Week 5: Storytelling II: raise the stakes and re-incorporate to conclude

Week 6: Scene support: object work

Intermediate Session

Week 1: Getting started with characterization

Week 2: Building a character from scratch

Week 3: Status: conveying high vs. low status

Week 4: Changing status

Week 5: Bringing it together: being affected by the story

Week 6: Bringing it together: committing and justifying

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Class Details

Are you interested in learning about upcoming classes and workshops? Sign up to our announcement list, and we’ll let you know when classes start again!