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The Improvisation Academy

Home > London > Performing Arts | Courses | Shows | Theatre
Published June 17th 2014
Learn to create personal impact and speak effectively
I recently attended the Improvisation at Work course held by The Improvisation Academy at the Poor School in London. The main leader of the course is Paul Jackson, who has extensive experience in teaching how to apply improvisational tools to challenges at work and in everyday life.

Photo courtesy of The Improvisation Academy.

The course uses an innovative approach to tackling common work frustrations, such as interpersonal conflict, fear of mistakes, or presentation anxiety. I arrived at the course as an amateur speaker with no experience in improv, but left with confidence and a new skillset to apply to my formal presentations and daily communication with others.

I found the atmosphere of the course to be comfortable, safe, and inviting. The course leaders are particularly skilled in welcoming and engaging every participant. For instance, a group of about 15 participants went from being complete strangers to knowing everyone's name after just one simple (and fun) five-minute game. There is no pressure to participate, but the course is so much fun that you'll definitely want to get involved. One course participant stated, "I enjoyed the interactive and supportive style of the weekend - where we were constantly doing exercises or games and the whole group was involved. I felt constantly stimulated and energised."

Photo courtesy of The Improvisation Academy

It was jokingly mentioned during the day that the course was about "the two Fs: fun and philosophy," but this statement is actually quite true. The exercises, games, and structured dialogue drawn from improv theatre are fun, but they also convey a deeper lesson applicable to work and life scenarios.

For example, we played a game that caused everyone to experience making a mistake in a group setting, but in the context of fun. This game illustrated the importance of resilience and of not taking mistakes overly seriously. Surely that is an important principle for improv performed on stage for entertainment, but it's perhaps more important for learning a new approach in dealing with life's slip-ups. In considering the applications of the course to daily life, a participant stated, "I have learned a few lessons about myself and how I approach situations and this has helped me in everyday life since the weekend. I have been more able to focus my attention in a more constructive way."

Photo courtesy of The Improvisation Academy

As someone who had no experience in theatre performance, much less improvised performance, I was a bit nervous about the course. However, I was delightfully surprised at how easy it was to learn these new skills and to speak without fear in front of a group of complete strangers. In fact, I only attended a portion of the course, but left feeling confident and inspired to speak more freely with new people and in new situations.

I highly recommend The Improvisation Academy. Individuals or organisations interested in resilience training, team-building, presentation skills, and conflict-resolution will find the courses particularly useful.

Currently, The Improvisation Academy is offering the Improvisation for Life and Improvisation for Work courses as an evening or weekend option, as follows:

Improvisation for Life

Evening option: Thursdays, 7-10pm
Sept Oct 2014: 11/09 - 02/10
Venue: Diorama Arts Studios, 201 Drummond Str., NW1 3FE

Weekend options: Sat Sun, 10am-5pm
October 2014: 25/10 26/10
Venue: The Poor School, 242 Pentoville Road, N1 9JY

Improvisation for Work

Evening option: Thursdays, 7-10pm
Oct. 2014: 09/10 - 30/10
Venue: Diorama Arts Studios, 201 Drummond Str., NW1 3FE

Weekend options: Sat Sun, 10am-5pm
November 2014: 22/11 23/11
Venue: The Poor School, 242 Pentoville Road, N1 9JY

Please see the website for further booking details.
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Why? Learn unique skills for presentations and daily communication
When: See website for course details
Phone: 44 (0) 1727 843 820
Where: Diorama Arts Studios, 201 Drummond Street, NW1 3FE; The Poor School, 242 Pentonville Road, King's Cross, London, N1 9JY
Cost: Variable - see website for details
Your Comment
Hi there, if you are still interested in a roadshow, please email
by Angelina Castellini (score: 0|4) 2879 days ago
Sounds like a really useful workshop for lots of aspects of life. Do you think they'd do a pared down roadshow?
by Cressida Ryan (score: 2|121) 2969 days ago
Hi there, apologies for the extremely delayed reply. If you are still interested in a roadshow, send us a message :)
by Angelina Castellini (score: 0|4) 2879 days ago
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