As part of the Professional Development at my local primary school I have been training the teachers in using drama in the classroom. As part of this I have been running classes over the various age bands. It is such a pleasure to see children aged from 5 to 11 embracing characters and from the various relationships between them develop full and satisfying stories .
None of this is planned, nothing is scripted or storyboarded. The children do this with such unabashed enthusiasm because improvisation is about saying yes; it is an abandonment in the belief that anything is possible. It was moments of magic and my skills helped facilitate that creativity. To be part of this was such a joy.
It is the same joy that will be generated at Circa Theatre these holidays when The Improvisors perform Improv for Kids where we tap into the younger audiences’ imaginations. None of the three cast members, the musician or the lighting Improvisors know what they will be doing until they get the children’s ideas for characters and places and food and hobbies and TV shows and relationships – in the world of improv anything is possible when imagination is king or queen.
The Holiday shows are always popular – and I’m not only talking about being popular with the enthusiatic audience but also with our performers. So much of the work of The Improvisors is in the corporate world of Award Dinners or Conference Sessions. In the hotel dinning room or Conference Room 2, the audience have seldom made a formal contract with the performers to be entertained. They are in the middle of a meeting or a dinner, focusing on an agenda or a menu and have to be won over by us – their respect has to be earned.
But in the holiday shows it is so refreshing – the children and their caregivers have purchased tickets, and planned to come and travelled with an expectation that they will laugh and a willingness to be immersed in the world of improv – no computers, no hi-tech special effects just an empty stage with skilled improvisors who are in the moment to listen to any suggestion and work as a team, giving and taking, yielding and taking, making and responding to offers. The result is stories that have never been seenbefore and will never be seen again. And we were there for that piece of magic.
Enjoy the journey.
- Tim Gordon – The ProActors