So I’ve been wondering if that reaction is more about the reputation or the reality of improvisation.
Reputation may be based on what people have heard or experienced for themselves in improvisation workshops. I’ve known that moment when the workshop leader asks for volunteers to step forward and perform something in front of the rest of the group – or worse, picks on someone. I’ve often had the feeling that such a request has suddenly taken the session into an uninvited dimension of fear.
In my view, it’s unfair to pick on people or to ask anyone to perform – unless that sort of performing is part of the deal. Perhaps it happens more than it should in improvisation classes because of the close connection with theatre. But you can be assured that in the Improvisation Academy, we’re sharing skills for life, not for the stage (though you can use them there too of course).
On the other hand, a certain degree of nervousness is absolutely appropriate. Improvisation is about managing our feelings of uncertainty and dealing with the unknown or unexpected. The point of a class is to create enough safety for participants to be willing to take some risks. That’s a bit of a paradox, but what is means here is: feel the fear and use the classes to conquer it – and we’ll create enticing conditions to give you a safe space to build your confidence by exploring the boundaries of uncertainty in a way that is as comfortable (and exciting) as possible.