Improv as a company training tool, or a personal development growth method isn’t anything new, however, its value as a training tool is increasingly being recognised. It probably doesn’t hurt that some of the most bankable stars in showbiz (Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers, Key & Peele, Bill Murray…) have improv training.
That’s a great boost for improv training in general, and has most certainly had some influence in improv’s massive growth recently. Improvisers are funny. But the thing is: (and this is somewhat controversial, but important) being funny isn’t at all important for improv.
Of course, if you want to be a comedy star, you need to be funny, but if you want to reap the benefits of improv in your work or personal life, being funny isn’t relevant.
Our lives are in quite a large part, completely unscripted click for more info. We all make up stuff as we go along. At the Academy we put a framework and vocabulary to those abilities, encouraging you to access more of your resources. The focus is on how you can apply the improv skills and principles for your personal and professional development.
If you’re heavy into improv already, you’ll know about Del Close and Keith Johnstone, maybe Viola Spolin and David Shepherd. And you’ll know the names of big time American improv training institutes such as Second City, UCB, and iO. Marbles Improv doesn’t ascribe to any one of these schools or ‘gurus’.
We have, through our years of individual training, performances, and late night conversations over ‘one last drink’, developed an approach that utilises all of these experiences, but doesn’t exclude or pick sides.
Besides, we’re really trying to apply the skills of improvisation outside of the stage, something that is known as Applied Improvisation.
In practice, what that means is we have an experiential approach in which you learn in a safe environment. There’s clear explanations and purpose to every activity, with time for questions and debriefs. Again, being funny isn’t important, although the classes are always fun.
We’re not training you to perform on stage, we’re training you to perform better in life. (Of course, if you want to get training for performance, we have some tracks for that).
The premise is simple. Improv performers don’t know what will happen onstage until they’re up there. Each scene begins with a suggestion from the audience. The performers start with that prompt, making up the story as they go along. Although they improvise, the process draws on time-honored principles—the first among them being “yes, and.” Simply put, “yes, and” means performers accept whatever their scene partners do or say as part of the reality of the scene and then build on it with their own contributions. They must be present in the moment, listening carefully, and contributing freely. These skills turn out to be particularly useful in workplaces that rely on adaptability.