Workshop Generator

Use this page as a quick and dirty workshop creator. Every time you reload this page, you’ll get:

  • 2 random Warm-ups
  • 2 random Exercises
  • 2 random Practice Games

This should give you a template for a fun workshop of 45 minutes to an hour.  This randomly generated template is a fun way to try out games and exercises you might not be used to.  This is, of course, no substitute for a well designed workshop put together to address the specific needs of your team, however this randomized template may open you up to skills or ideas you might not often address!

HAVE FUN!

Also, for portability, bookmark this page on your mobile device so that you can generate workshops on the go!

Warm Ups

Corridors

A great, low-pressure exercise for commitment-phobes.

Rules:

Students form a backline.

The director gives the players a theme, like Christmas or Recreation.

The director asks half of the group to step forward.

Simultaneously, the players perform an action and a line of dialogue that corresponds with the given theme.

The first group steps back and the remaining players step forward and do the same thing until the director believes the theme has been exhausted, at which point he or she gives them something new to explore.

Objectives:

To commit to the moment; to respond to offers quickly and on impulse.

Comments:

As this is a simultaneous exercise, the director can be looking for commitment and attack rather than listening for content. It frees the performer up to simply respond without fear of Big Brother listening in. Best when handled as a drill and performed at a very fast pace.

Adaptations:

Advanced groups can perform this activity in three stages: first, a mimed action; second, an action and related statement; and third, an unrelated action and statement (the second two can be reversed).

Rather than always having the same groups come out at the same time, individuals can also choose their time to go out. It’s good to set a base number of performers who must be out at one time (i.e.: more than half). This may mean performers go out more frequently, not just every second time. It keeps them on their toes.

Samurai

An opportunity for students to let loose vocally and physically, Samurai is a great way to break the students’ bond to the outside world and welcome them, ninja-style, to the improv world.

Rules:

Students stand in a circle.

Each creates a Samurai “sword” by putting their hands together, palm-to-palm.

Raising his/her “sword” above his/her head, an improviser lets out a classic ninja yell and brings his/her hands down, “stabbing” across the circle at another improviser.

When the first Samurai has their “sword” up, the other Samurais to his/her right and left have an opportunity to use their own “swords” to stab the first Samurai’s soft underbelly. They will let out a yell when they do so, bringing their arm-swords across the first Samurai’s belly in a lateral motion (they do not actually touch the person, just cut across).

Once the “stab” has been passed, the receiver will raise their sword and let out a yell while passing the stab to another player. The players on his/her left will attack the players belly while shouting, as with the first Samurai.

Play continues until players are thoroughly riled up.

Objectives:

To warm up physically and vocally and get in touch with impulses; to get energized and excited about improv; to let loose and let go of inhibitions.

Comments:

Sometimes it’s hard for us to let go of the stresses of the day and the habits related to looking cool and looking good. Screaming your little Samurai heart out is a good way to get over this.

Exercises

Object Transformation

Rules:

Players form a circle facing the center. One player begins by creating and manipulating an imaginary object (without the use of sound.) The player next to them takes the object and begins to use it in the same way. The player then slowly transforms the movement until a new object being manipulated in a similar yet different way is created. The next player in the circle takes the object and the game continues until the circle is complete.

Objectives:

For players to become aware of movement and their own physical space. This, in turn, prepares players to be conscious of their activities within scene work. This exercise can also be use as a Justification exercise.

Comments:

Players should make sure to connect the original objects movement as closely as they can. This game can also be played as a partner exercise.

Adaptations:

Transformation Game (See Movement Exercises.)

Dating Game

A classic reinterpreted for character purposes.

Rules:

Played with four students. One leaves the room (or plugs his/her ears). Other students provide character endowments for the three others, like “nervous doctor,” “arrogant astronaut,” etc. The fourth player returns and asks three questions, with each of the three “contestants” answering. After the questions the “bachelor/ette” should guess what the endowments were.

Objectives:

To hone character; to make offers and accept them in character; to play the game of the scene.

Comments:

A fun and fast character game, which works best when played in the game show style. Feel free to add a “host” character to keep things moving.

Adaptations:

Several rounds can be played, and the game can be adjusted to include other “games” (seeing the first dates, Jeopardy-style rounds, etc.).

Practice Games

Typewriter

This is the classic third person narrative game.

Rules:

Get a suggestion from audience (e.g. Fictional title for a story.) One player is the writer and narrates the story. The other members of the team perform the actual scene that is being told including the dialogue. Players pass the advancing of the story back and forth between narrator and stage until the story has been told.

Objectives:

To explore the principle of narration and work as a team to advance a story.

Comments:

One of the first hesitations a new team will have is to take over the scene from the stage. Most new players will just want the narrator to tell them what to do thus ridding themselves of any need to create a story. It is very important to get all of the players to advance the scene.

Fast Forward

A fun and fast scene that heightens listening.

Rules:

Two or three players do a scene. At any point in the scene, the director can call, “Fast forward!” The students in the scene then “fast forward,” like an old-school VCR (bodies in fast motion, voices sped up, etc.) When the director calls “Stop!” the scene continues in the future. Scene continues, taking advantage of the fast forward whenever appropriate, and continuing the scene as though everything has been fast forwarded to a new point.

Objectives:

To hone listening and offers; to use physicality; to adapt in the moment.

Comments:

Listening is key here, and students should be extra-aware of offers in the scenework, as once things have been “fast-forwarded” they can’t get that information back, but will be expected to incorporate it in the “future” of the scene. More advanced groups can begin to play with the idea of “pimping” here, in that they can manipulate use of the fast forward to their own aim. For example, “Grandpa, why don’t you tell that really long story about the war?” Which would probably prompt the director to yell “Fast forward!”

Adaptations:

More advanced groups can add other “tape directions” to their scenes, such as rewind, pause, chapter skip, etc. Even things like “menu,” “record” and “special features” can be added if the group is up to it.