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

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.

Big Booty

A great energizer and impulse warm up; Big Booty is a positive way to get your group into the idea of failing joyfully while working that improv impulse muscle.

Rules:

Students stand in a horseshoe formation, with the student at the right hand end of the horseshoe dubbed Big Booty. Other students number off from 1, going clockwise starting with the player next to Big Booty.

Students stomp rhythmically, one foot at a time (1,2,1,2) while energetically singing the Big Booty song: “Big Booty, Big Booty, Big Booty. Aw, yeah.”

Big Booty starts from there, calling his/her own name, followed by “Number” and the number of a player in the horseshoe. For example, the first turn is as follows:

All: Big Booty, Big Booty, Big Booty. Aw, yeah.

Big Booty: Big Booty Number 5.

Number 5 would then pass to another player as follows, immediately: “Number 5, Number 7.” Number 7 then follows, “Number 7, Number 4,” and so on.

The call can be passed back to Big Booty, but there are no callbacks.

When there is a hesitation or an error, all players (continuing to keep rhythm by stomping) loudly and energetically call “Aw, shoot!”

The player who made the error then joyfully goes to the end of the horseshoe and becomes the last number. All other players move into vacant places left, adopting the number of the place in which they stand. For example, if Number 4 made an error, he/she moves to the end, becoming the last number (say Number 8). Number 5 moves into Number 4’s spot, becoming 4. Six becomes 5, Seven becomes 6, etc. Play continues.

Objectives:

To energize mind, body, and voice, to create group mind and introduce the idea of failing joyfully and supporting one another even in failure.

Comments:

In the outside world, your students will be expected to be right, to always do well, and to apologize for mistakes. Big Booty is a fun, high-energy way to take students away from the real world, where failing is bad, and thrust them into “improv world” where failing is joyfully celebrated.

Adaptations:

Once your students are pro at Big Booty, you can add a dance break to the mix. For example, if Number 4 receives the call, a dance break would look like this:

Number 3: Number 3, Number 4.

Number 4: Number 4, Number 4, BREAK IT DOWN!

The students then create dance music and dance around joyfully for four beats, at which point Number 4 gets things going again: “Number 4, Number 7.” Play resumes from there.

Exercises

Family Portraits

Characters are created in more ways than just what we say. This exercise proves that.

Rules:

Students make a backline. Director gets a suggestion related to genre (40s gangsters, sci-fi shipmates) or to character trait (the secret family, the silly family). While the director counts down from 10 slowly, the students arrange themselves in a “family portrait” related to the suggestion. Students should look at each other and make a strong character choice within that world, freezing in a tableau at the end After the countdown, we freeze the portrait and the director states what he/she thinks the characters all are. Students then un-freeze and explain who their character actually was.

Objectives:

To create believable characters; to commit; to accept and forward offers; group mind; to make non-verbal, emotional/physical offers.

Comments:

The emphasis should be on finding unique, believable characters within the suggestion, and contrasting or complimenting the characters being created by the other students. This should lead to discoveries within character/genre worlds beyond stereotypes. For example, the mobster family probably has a bunch of tough guys in it, but maybe they have a sweet little mother, too? Or perhaps a skinny, mathematician brother who’s not in the business? By using powers of observation instead of just speaking character choice, students can find new ways of approaching character.

Adaptations:

Can also be a school picture, work portrait, etc.

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

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…

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.