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.

Horseshoe

Horseshoe is a great Brain Fry exercise. Brain Fry games are impossible to win. The joy of the game is in challenging and expanding your ability to focus and concentrate. If you play to win you will only frustrate yourself.

Rules:

Players form groups of 5 – 15 and stand in a horseshoe shaped line facing center. The group numbers off consecutively from one end of the line to the other. The player in position one always starts by calling out another player’s number. The player whose number is called must immediately call out another player’s number (other than the player’s that called theirs… no call backs.) If a player hesitates by laughing, saying “um” or just taking too much time they must move to the end of the line. When a player moves to the end of the line all the players after their number rotate down one number. Position one then quickly calls out another player’s number.

Objectives:

To stimulate connection to impulses within the framework of rules. To get players to a higher state of awareness and presence in the room.

Comments:

Horseshoe can be frustration at best if all you want to do is be good enough at it that you’ll get to the number one position. The fact is that this game is a great exercise to train people that only through relaxation will you FIND (not create) awareness. It is a good rule to keep players eyes up in the game as it is a tendency for players to try and block out visual stimuli by staring at the floor… but the game isn’t happening on the floor. Make sure that they are aware of each other and try to follow (or sense) the flow and become part of it. This may sound very artsy but improvisation is based on communicating impulses and therefore these “Jedi like” senses are necessary. It is also a good idea to have no talking except for the calling out of designations. This will allow for the first position to start the next round immediately when the player leaves to move to the end of the line.

Adaptations:

Once you’ve mastered numbers use other categories such as the alphabet or colours to designate the positions. For an intense Brain Fry combine all three methods.

Exercises

Radio Dial

This game is a variation of Story Story Die in which each player is assigned a style in which to tell their story.

Rules:

Three to six improvisers form a line on the stage. The MC sits downstage of them, facing the line Each improviser is assigned a style in which tell the story. The narrator/ MC designates who speaks by pointing at them. When the finger moves, the speaking improviser stops (mid-syllable if necessary) and the next improviser picks up EXACTLY where the previous one left off.

Objectives:

To develop awareness and spontaneity. To tell a complete story together within the rules of the game.

Comments:

Concentrate on the story – listen to each other and keep it simple. If the action advances out of hand, the story will lose coherence.

Following

The act of Following is the next step in the evolution of Mirroring. Partners need not face each other in Following, which allows for an even greater range of possibilities for movement when leading and a greater amount of interpretation when following. Through this work players can communicate and connect without the need for sound.

Rules:

Players, in partners, stand next to (not facing) each other. One player leads while the other player follows the action simultaneously. Upon the moderator’s command the leader and the follower switch.

Objectives:

To flex player’s ability to communicate through movement. To allow players to express impulses through movement. To allow players to explore the boundaries of simultaneous movement.

Comments:

Players do not have to be two feet from each other, nor is it a rule that the follower must keep constant eye contact on (or with) the leader. In actual fact for the follower to get simultaneous movement they must anticipate the action instead of echoing the action. Be sure to play around with what it means to follow someone… Follow, create, enjoy!

Adaptations:

Group Following (follow the leader): 1. One player is the leader the group follows. 2. Moderator calls for a switch in leadership. 3. Group finds new leader within group by following and amplifying first movements in group until one person is left leading.

Practice Games

More Specific

A game to practice making specific offers.

Rules:

Get a few players up to perform a scene. At any point during the scene, the audience or director can yell out, “More specific!” and the last offer that was made must be redone in a more specific way. “More specific” can be called out multiple times until the players are specific enough. For example: “It’s over there.” -> “It’s on the counter.” -> “The watch is on the marble counter.” -> “The Rolex is on the brand new marble counter.”

Objectives:

To show how being specific can open up new possibilities in a scene, reveal character and make scenes more interesting.

Comments:

More specific doesn’t always mean more elaborate. Make sure the players are getting specific about the offer that was just made rather than adding in outside details. Try calling out more specific on physical offers as well.

 

Three Rules

A simple introduction to games/rules in scenework.

Rules:

Three students stand on stage. Each is given the suggestion of a rule that will govern their scene, for example: “Sarah can’t say the letter S, Dan can only use the right side of his body, and Marika screams whenever someone talks about the weather.” A regular scene then occurs, with the rules incorporated.

Objectives:

To incorporate rules and games into regular scenework; to justify rules within a scene; to listen; to accept and forward offers within rule-based scenes; to support but challenge fellow players.

Comments:

Students should play all rules to their maximum ability. The scene is also an opportunity for students to challenge and play with one another’s abilities while also being supportive, and conversely is an opportunity for the director to show how this done well.