Based on recent work and thinking of Keith Johnstone, participants play games to learn improvisation skills like pleasing their scene partner and staying happy when they fail. For high school, college, & professional performers. Here is a handout for a short improv workshop: NC Thespians 3:22:14
For High School
In this workshop, students learn to create invisible objects and imaginary worlds. They work with partners and learn to: focus on a partner, accept a partner’s offers, lead and follow. They develop kinesthetic awareness, tune into body language, and non-verbally communicate ideas, characters and feelings. They learn the basics of creative thinking. They explore ideas in groups through improvisation and discussion. They create and perform original mime skits that incorporate their new mime skills.
The Durham Arts Council Says:
Mime Artist Sheila Kerrigan impressed students of George Watts Montessori with her multi-talented theatrical repertoire in mime, juggling, and improvisation….At George Watts [Elementary School], Kerrigan began the after school program with a little mime show followed by instruction of simple mime gestures such as being stuck in a box, leaning against a wall, and climbing a ladder. She then proceeded to guide the children through collaborative creative processes during improvisation exercises. Students passed around an imaginary object and transformed it into something new with each subsequent turn. Students then broke into small groups to plan a silent theatrical performance. A showcase of their creations was followed by a discussion of what the audience perceived the performance content to be. Stories took a range of humorous plot lines from playground activity to fishing adventures. Finally, Kerrigan closed off the afternoon with a little juggling practice.
Especially geared for youth-at-risk and reluctant writers, this residency begins with setting guidelines for behavior together. The group brainstorms and discusses hot topics for a performance. Students write short pieces on topics that are important to them in genres that make sense to them. They collaborate on taking their writings from the page to the stage. If all goes according to plan, the residency culminates in a performance conceived and created by the performers about the issues that keep them awake at night and get them out of bed in the morning.
For adults and children age 9 and up, this juggling workshop features juggling performance pieces that point up the importance of failure as part of learning something new, the value of setting a positive mental attitude to attain success, and the virtue of persistence in achieving goals. Participants learn a basic juggling pattern and some variations, and they learn how to juggle with a friend. This workshop offers a fun way for families to play together and for anyone to improve coordination.
For students of theater and communication, and anyone who wants to understand what people are saying beyond their words, this workshop breaks down and demonstrates the elements of body language and non-verbal communication. Participants observe and qualify movement in others, learn to bring their unconscious reactions to body language into consciousness, change specific aspects of their own movement, and observe how their feelings and thoughts change as they change their own body language. They learn a variety of pathways to deep listening that lead to establishing rapport with others.
For drama students and professionals, this residency helps them create strong, believable, fully-physicalized characters. Students will experience a variety of physical approaches to character development such as image work, energy work, animals, honing kinesthetic awareness, sharpening focus, developing a physical presence, exploring rhythm and dynamics, and studying and practicing body language principles. Sessions begin with a warm-up, continue with guided physical approaches to character, improvisations based physical explorations, reflections on character discoveries, and end with reflection on learning and growth. By the end of the residency, students have experienced a variety of physical approaches to character and have found one or more physical approaches to characterization that work for them. They will have a sense of how physicalization can strengthen their focus and enlarge their stage presence.
Ms. Kerrigan’s residency was very beneficial and enriching for my 8th grade Movement class. It complemented our unit on gesture and made valid in very obvious ways how vital gesture and expression are to movement and choreography. Sheila presented very well and maintained a good rapport with the students. I was impressed with her clarity, humor and thorough approach to the material. –Mary Grady Norkus, Durham Academy