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

Environments

Creating worlds on stage is a fundamental skill. This game encourages players to create locations non-verbally as well as strengthening team work.

Rules:

The warm up leader calls out an environment, then loudly counts down from 10. Without discussion or planning the players create and explore the environment using the full space. Players may be objects or people.

Objectives:

To physically explore an improvised environment and all it’s possibilities. To force the improvisors to be present in the space, and work together without discussion to create full functioning environments.

Comments:

Don’t discuss it – do it! Explore all the aspects of the environment. If the environment is a movie theatre, there’s the possibility of popcorn, people to sell the popcorn, moviegoers, screen, seats, any of the myriad objects and persons that make up a movie theatre experience. Watch each other, try to create balanced stage pictures. If you see everyone else trying to be the screen, sit down and watch the movie.

Numbers/21

A quick and easy focus, group mind and teamwork exercise.
Rules:
Have students stand in a tight circle, shoulder to shoulder (or with arms around each others’ shoulders, if students are comfortable with one another).
Students look down and count to 21 by having one person at a time randomly contributing one number. There is no pattern to it, and students are expected to contribute the next number when appropriate (they may, for example, say two numbers in a row if the need is there).
If students speak at the same time, have them start over from one.
Objectives:
To develop group mind, focus and listening; to embrace the moment.
Comments:
Beyond the objectives, Numbers is also an opportunity to demonstrate that each performer is contributing to the success of the game, much like in scene work. There must be give and take by every member of the group in order to be successful. When the group isn’t working as a whole even something as simple as counting to 21 can be an enormous challenge. Numbers can therefore be a humbling experience for teams who think they’ve got it all together when they don’t. Numbers must be said with confidence, and no other talking or communication should be allowed. Watch for habitual patterns in the game, and try to change them.

A quick and easy focus, group mind and teamwork exercise.

Rules:

Have students stand in a tight circle, shoulder to shoulder (or with arms around each others’ shoulders, if students are comfortable with one another).

Students look down and count to 21 by having one person at a time randomly contributing one number. There is no pattern to it, and students are expected to contribute the next number when appropriate (they may, for example, say two numbers in a row if the need is there).

If students speak at the same time, have them start over from one.

Objectives:

To develop group mind, focus and listening; to embrace the moment.

Comments:

Beyond the objectives, Numbers is also an opportunity to demonstrate that each performer is contributing to the success of the game, much like in scene work. There must be give and take by every member of the group in order to be successful. When the group isn’t working as a whole even something as simple as counting to 21 can be an enormous challenge. Numbers can therefore be a humbling experience for teams who think they’ve got it all together when they don’t. Numbers must be said with confidence, and no other talking or communication should be allowed. Watch for habitual patterns in the game, and try to change them.

Exercises

Because

Because is an excellent game to show the difference between horizontal narrative offers and vertical narrative offers. Vertical narrative offers advance the scene. Horizontal narrative offers take the scene sideways, often derailing a scene completely.

Rules:

Players circle or pair up. First player makes a statement (e.g. “The dishwasher was broken.”) The second player then replys by starting with “Because…” inserts the first players’ statement… and then adds to the story with another offer (e.g. “Because the dishwasher was broken Janet was running out of dishes.”) The next player then repeats the last line, starting with “Because…” and adds another offer to the story. This continues until all of the story elements are covered.

Objectives:

To eliminate the problem of shelving caused by horizontal narrative offers.

Comments:

Make sure your group uses all of the offers, not just the last offer made, as it will remind them of the focus.

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

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.

Object Game

Rules:

Object is chosen from a member of the audience. Scene is played using that object. It may or may not be used as what it really is (eg: credit card may be used as a pocket TV…).

Objective:

To improvise and justify a complete scene within the rules of the game. This game focuses on the teams abillity to create a story about the object.

Comments:

Let the object tell the story in one way or another. If the story isn’t about the object, the object should be a main character, or the solution of the problem, or the ultimate goal, or Big Brother, or…