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

Three Noses

Physical warm ups shouldn’t only be about students being prepared and comfortable in their own bodies; rather, they should also be about learning to be comfortable sharing spaces with one another. Three Noses tackles that notion head-on (pun fully intended).

Rules:

Students walk loosely around the room, with no specific pattern or aim.

The director or a chosen caller will announce a number and a body part (remind students to keep it clean and possible), for example, “3 noses!”

Students must then group up and touch the called body parts together (safety first!).

This can manifest in lots of different ways, for example: “4 right legs,” can be different than “4 legs.” Challenge your players.

Objectives:

To get physically warmed up; to connect with other students in the room and to be aware of space can be shared on stage; to joyfully and generously work together to achieve goals; to accept offers of all kinds, whether physical, verbal or otherwise.

Comments:

Stress that students should use good judgment and caution when coming together, but that enthusiasm is key. Students should treat the game like a “hot potato” situation—they need to jump on the offer of their fellow players’ nose or leg and joyfully add to it with their own nose or leg.

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.

Exercises

The Room

An excellent game for creating shared environments.

Rules:

The first player enters a room and mimetically creates an object that defines the location. The next player enters the room, uses the first object and then creates a second one found in that location. One by one the rest of the players enter, use the previously created objects and create a new one.

Objectives:

To increase the ability to create detailed environments, and to eliminate the problem of having players “walk through tables.”

Comments:

Mimetic abilities are a great tool for the improvisor to create environments on stage. Players should work to achieve a level of clarity in expression without feeling that they need to master the art of mime. Some players tend to create elaborate stories in order to use all their objects, often times destroying the objects or combining the use of two objects in improbable ways. The focus of the exercise is to create a shared environment, not to be funny and creative (often a mask for a desire to avoid the exercise.)

Adaptations:

Have players remain in the environment as characters after they have created their object. Allow players to interact as their characters.

30 Second Scene Starts

Two of five elements, drilled.

Rules:

Two students are brought up onstage. Players take approximately 30 seconds or so to set up the first two elements of the Five Elements (WHERE AND WHO). Exercise ends when students have established a clear Where and Who.

Objectives:

To establish a clear Where and Who; to learn about the beginnings of Five Element scenework; to give and accept offers.

Comments:

This is an opportunity for students to explore the beginnings of scenes without the pressure of finding problems and resolutions. Students should avoid hesitation and jump right into position, even if they don’t have an idea. It’s not about being funny, it’s about clarity—the clearer the scene start, the clearer the scene will be. The humour will come out of specific characters in a specific place interacting.

Practice Games

Evil Twin

A justification game that challenges the “straight man.”

Rules:

Three players stand onstage. Two players will improvise a scene. The other player is one of those player’s evil twin. At any point in the scene, the twin can shout, “Freeze!” after which he/she tags out their twin, and continues the scene by doing something “evil.” Once the evil act has been committed, the original player tags back in and continues the scene. Both onstage characters must justify the evil act within the scene as though the “good” character did it. It is then the “good twin’s” job to correct the evil within the scene. Play continues thusly, with the Evil Twin tagging out whenever he/she feels like.

Objectives:

To accept and justify offers; to support and challenge your fellow player; to make choices that are true to the scene and the characters.

Comments:

Great setups for this game are things like first dates, or meeting your in-laws for the very first time. The game works best when the justification is true to the scene and the characters, not by blaming outside forces or saying something like, “I don’t know what came over me!” Can be challenging, but work at it by taking a lot of time in the setup to get used to the characters and environment. That way, the justifications can come from those two elements.

Adaptations:

Both characters can have Evil Twins if you’d like. It steps the game up a notch.

Alphabet Game

A restriction game.

Rules

This scene has 26 lines. Each line of dialogue must begin with the next sequential letter of the alphabet. There is no real need to start with ‘A’. Ask for the starting letter from the audience.

Objectives:

To work within the limitations of the rule and still create a full story.

Comments:

Don’t allow the rules of the game to dominate the scene – the “stunt” version over emphasises the letter progression. The challenge is to create a full STORY in which each consecutive line of dialogue just happens to begin with the next letter of the alphabet. Trust yourselves.

Adaptations:

Every line spoken on stage must start with the next consecutive letter of the alphabet. This challenges the tendancy with this game to use long paragraphs of exposition to advance the story to avoid the structure of the game.

Each character on the stage gets a letter: all of their lines must begin with this letter.

Alliteration: each character gets a letter, then has to use that letter as many times as possible within the scene.