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.

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

Because

Because is an excellent game to show the difference between horizontal narrative offers and vertical narrative offers. Vertical narrative offers advance the scene. Horizontal narrative offers take the scene sideways, often derailing a scene completely.

Rules:

Players circle or pair up. First player makes a statement (e.g. “The dishwasher was broken.”) The second player then replys by starting with “Because…” inserts the first players’ statement… and then adds to the story with another offer (e.g. “Because the dishwasher was broken Janet was running out of dishes.”) The next player then repeats the last line, starting with “Because…” and adds another offer to the story. This continues until all of the story elements are covered.

Objectives:

To eliminate the problem of shelving caused by horizontal narrative offers.

Comments:

Make sure your group uses all of the offers, not just the last offer made, as it will remind them of the focus.

Mirrors

Mirroring is often one of the first exercises improvisers learn and also, unfortunately, one of the first they discard. Mirroring is a fabulous connection device to get teams members working together. As players become more advanced expand mirroring into more adventurous territory rather than abandoning it as a beginner’s game.

Rules:

Partners stand facing each other . One player leads, the other mirrors (or imitates) the action simultaneously. Switch leaders upon moderator’s command without resetting physically.

Objectives:

To flex player’s ability to communicate through movement. To allow players to express impulses through movement.

Comments:

Players who are leading should try to allow for impulses for the entire body, using levels and different speeds. Variety will allow for greater control and focus. There is no rule that states players have to be 2 feet from each other, nor is there a rule that states that the leader cannot, after a little warm-up, alternate speeds in order to create a better mental workout for their partner. Followers should always be one fraction of a step ahead in order to keep the movement simultaneous.

Adaptations:

Follow the Follower: Players start by alternating leaders on the command of a moderator until the moderator calls out “Follow the Follower.” Each player, in fractionally anticipating the other players moves, will amplify their partners unconscious movement until the chain reaction creates fully extended movement. Mirror With Sound: Players can add sound when they feel they are ready. Sound should be as varied as the movement.

Practice Games

New Choice

A game that works on making offers without hesitation.

Rules:

Get a few players up to perform a scene. At any point during the scene, the audience or director can yell out, “New choice!” and the last offer that was made, whether verbal or physical, must be remade in a different way. It can be a slight variation on the original offer, or a completely different offer. “New choice” can be yelled out as many times as necessary until the audience or director are satisfied.

Objectives:

To get students out of their heads and in the moment of creating offers without thinking too much.

Comments:

The players have to remember that even if the audience is calling, “New choice,” they are still in control of the scene and should make choices that will result in a successful scene, using the basic scene structure.

If players get into a run of remaking an offer with only a slight variation, “I’m going to get some juice out of the fridge,” “I’m going to get a pop out of the fridge,” “I’m going to get some milk out of the fridge,” etc, coach them into trying something totally different, “I’m not thirsty.” This will often result in a big laugh and a lot of fun.

You can also get specific with which offer should be redone, “New entrance!” “New emotion!” “New dance!” etc.

 

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.