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

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.

5 Things

A fun word association game.

Rules:

Students stand in a circle.

One student initiates by pointing at another and asking him or her to say 5 things as fast as he or she can based on a category of his/her choosing: “Five songs you like.”

As the student names off each one, the rest of the class will count along, cheering when five have been said.

The student who just named off five things will then point to another student and name a new category.

Objectives:

To revel in wordplay; to free your mind and commit to the moment; to support your teammates.

Comments:

Encourage speed and not cleverness; the more enthusiastic and attentive the player’s teammates are, the better the player will do. Support! It’s not necessary to be clever, either, or witty. Just to sell the idea and commit.

Exercises

Yes, And

A fundamental exercise teaching improvisers how to properly accept offers and contribute to the scene.

Rules:

Put the players in pairs. One student will start by making a statement such as, “We are going on a vacation.” The other will follow up by first saying, “Yes, and…” agreeing with the first statement and adding new information. “Yes, and we are spending a week in Paris.” The players will go back and forth making “Yes and” declarations until they reach a natural conclusion.

Objectives:

To show how simple and effective the concept of “Yes and” is in improvisation. To make a habit of always accepting with new information.

Comments:

Encourage the students to respond to what was just said and expand on that idea, as opposed to listing a series of disconnected ideas. In the example above, the students might get into the trap of just listing activities they did in Paris, “Yes and we arrive at the Eiffel Tower.” “Yes and we eat fine cheese.” “Yes and we see Versailles.”

It is more effective to explore the first idea, “Yes and we arrive at the Eiffel Tower.” “Yes and we take the stairs all the way up.” “Yes and we can see the whole city.” It allows a story to reveal itself.

Also, encourage the students to physicalize the actions of the story and make statements in the present tense.

Adaptations:

This game can also be played in a circle or in small groups.

 

Emotional Transfer

A great game to encourage players to alter their emotional states.

Rules:

Two improvisers start a scene with opposite emotions, and over the course of the scene they switch.

Objectives:

To introduce the value of emotional transfer into scene work.. To heighten awareness.

Comments:

Don’t jump right into the transfer – establish the opposite organic transfer WITHIN the reality of the scene.

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.

What Comes Next?

A game that explores an audience’s expectations when it comes to forwarding a narrative.

Rules:

Get a few players up to do a scene. They can start establishing a platform based on a suggestion, or they can start by asking “What comes first?” Either way, after the first beat has been explored, the players stop (or are stopped by the director), and ask, “What comes next?” The audience or other players decide what will happen next in the story, and the players perform what the audience tells them to. The game continues until the natural ending is found.

Objectives:

To show how the audience are great, natural storytellers and help students find ways to advance a scene that are satisfying to an audience.

Comments:

Make sure the students are exploring the beats that the audience have told them to. Do not allow them to advance without first stopping and asking, “What comes next?” The audience doesn’t have to give a lot of details, the details are handled by the players.

Adaptations:

This game can also be a great way to explore a genre for a Style Event.