Well, 12 people arrived for the opening of the Improvisation Academy, ranging from those with no previous experience of improvisation to a couple of seasoned performers and trainers.
The main theme of the session was ‘Yes... And..’, which is the classic technique that improvisers on stage use to build a scene with their fellow players. The basic idea is to accept what is offered (‘Yes’), then to add something to it (‘And’).
One question was to what extent are the skills and attitudes represented by ‘Yes... And..’ transferable beyond the theatre, to be applied in our everyday work and lives.
I know some improvisers who stretch the application to its utmost and test their every response in life against the principle. Others – and I’m among them – prefer to look for contexts in which ‘Yes... And..’ has a relatively obvious and direct application. The group this week suggested using it in any circumstance in which people are deliberately aiming to collaborate to develop new ideas.
And at the end of the session, they were primed and ready to put their skills to the test over the next week. After which, I hope, they’ll show up again for the next class.
Perhaps you’d like to join us...