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."
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."
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: