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!
Also, for portability, bookmark this page on your mobile device so that you can generate workshops on the go!
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.
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.
To energize mind, body, and voice, to create group mind and introduce the idea of failing joyfully and supporting one another even in failure.
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.
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.
Goalie aka Firing Line
A word association and disassociation game that puts individual players in the hot seat.
Students make a back line, with one student (the “Goalie”) standing facing them.
One by one, students “shoot” words and/or phrases at the Goalie. It’s the Goalie’s job to then fire a word back at the shooter that is associated with the first word.
Students continue to shoot words/phrases in rapid-fire succession at the Goalie, attempting to trip him/her up (to “score”). The challenge for the Goalie is to only associate with the word just shot at him or her, and not with an earlier word.
If the Goalie appears to have associated with an earlier word, or if he or she hesitates or stumbles, then the other players can shout, “Goal!!” Another student then becomes the Goalie.
Continue to play until five goals are scored.
To free the mind from notions of being clever or witty; to encourage a direct response to impulse; to put a player in the hot-seat to train his her performative impulses; to challenge and support fellow players.
Goalie is most fun when the Goalie is a team player—prepared, performative, positive and open to offers. This is why the game is sometimes used as “punishment” for players who have been habitually blocking, negative or resistant in rehearsal; it can serve as a wake-up call for the player in question and as a tension releaser for the group.
The whole game can be reversed in two ways: one, by challenging the Goalie to disassociate from all words; and two, by having one student toss words to the whole lineup of players. The game then becomes a “Red Rover” situation, where the lone player tries to trip up the line, at which point the at-fault player joins him or her on the other side. The game ends when the originally lone player has every other player on his or her side.
The next step in status work—observation and changing of habitual status.
Students create a backline. Have each improviser enter the playing area with an obvious status choice. Once you feel they have clearly established status, ask the next improviser to take a turn. Have each student try high and low status at least once.
To use simple physical changes to indicate status; to establish strong status at the beginning of scenes.
Director should push students to play a status they are uncomfortable with or use the least. More advanced students can try playing a low status character who behaves in a high status way and vice versa, to show the subtleties of status and how it can manifest in scenes.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Sit, Stand, Kneel, Lie
Four players begin a scene. One player must always be sitting, one standing, one lying down, and one kneeling. When a player changes position the player whose position they’ve adopted must justify their movement into a new position. No two players are allowed to be in the same position at once.
To improvise and justify within the rules of the game while creating a scene.
A great game for reminding players of the use of levels and to be observant of their team mates movement.
Fairy Tale Perspective
The fairy tale perspective game is a perfect first step into perspective narration.
A famous fairy tale and the secondary character whose perspective we will see it from are solicited from the audience. The Secondary character begins a monologue which introduces them as the narrator and describes the environment and characters. As these elements of the story are described by the narrator, the other players create them on stage in preparation for the first scene. The narrator then breaks from the narration and enters the scene. The narrator moves from scene to narration to forward the story and to provide the audience with background information or to explain their inner feelings.
This is a truly excellent and challenging game, but not the best game for a full team to be able to create a story as it relies quite a bit on the narrator. To add life to this game it is important that all of the other players focus on feeding the narrator with offers that forward the use of the audiences suggestions.