Real confidence is found when others have confidence in you.
There are many improv training grounds in London, and across the world, that teach improv purely as a comedy skill and route to performance.
At School of Improv, here in Newcastle, we approach the performance aspects in class as a means to bring about confidence, connection and change in everyone. We take the practical tools and over-arching principles of improv and put them to use, not only on the theatrical stage...
...we bring a whole lot of creativity and meaning to the stage we call life.
Learning to improvise is an Experiential Process.
Here, we learn through doing first, then by talking about what we have just done. Unpacking the discoveries we make as we move forward.
It’s very different to “here’s the aim, here’s what you are expected to learn, and here’s the formula to get it right”.
Improv is a creative method that involves making mistakes.
Does 'getting it wrong' scare you a little?
Or even excite you?
Good. That’s fine.
Keep calm and carry on reading.
The Fun Factor
Having Fun is the Optimum way to Learn.
When we're having fun our confidence bubbles. When we're having fun, we feel connected. When we're having fun, we are present.
Laughter is a release of tension. Laughing together breaks down barriers. Our inhibitions are reduced. Be it momentarily, at these times, we are less self-conscious. Less fearful. Less anxious.
When we having fun, we are more able to flirt around the edge of our comfort zone because, well - we're already more comfortable. (It's like being a little bit drunk without the aid of alcohol - and no hangover!)
We laugh a lot at School of Improv.
A Playground for Adults
A Social Learning Style
School of Improv can be defined as having an Interpersonal or Social Learning style, but that sounds way too stuffy! We prefer to call it a playground for adults.
Playgrounds are designed for games, and at School of Improv, games play a big part of our learning process. By ‘games’, we mean fun, interactive, social games. Co-operative, un-competitive games. Really great games! By playing improv games together, by rising to the challenge of the game, by seeking to solve the problems of the game, new skills emerge.
Improv trains Interpersonal Skills.
Social Skills, People Skills, or Soft Skills is a popular term with employers. It basically means the ability to communicate or interact well and harmoniously with other people. This could be one-to-one, as part of a team, or on a public stage. All key skills for improvisers.
Improv develops Personal Skills
Free thinking, problem solving, adaptability and resilience, self-motivation, decision-making and leadership. Learning the FUNdamentals of improv develops personal skills in all of these areas.
At School of Improv, we take a holistic approach. Improv will benefit different people in different ways, depending on what they want to learn from it, their reasons for coming in the first place, and how long they continue. From the get-go, they discover improv has a positive effect on more areas than anticipated.
The Fear Factor
“I’d rather jump out of a plane!” is one of the most common phrases we hear. “I’m not funny enough to do that” is another. “I’d just freeze” -we hear that a lot.
In all likelihood, if we threw two people in the spotlight and said ‘improvise!’ they would dry-up in terror, or shout over each other, compete, and possibly even humiliate each other in ‘trying’ to be funny.
The insecurity of being of being watched, the risk of making mistakes, the chance of failing, saying the wrong thing, the dread of making a fool of ourselves in front of others is such a vulnerable position to be in.
So this is where we start.
We harness the fear.
Improv and Anxiety
Fear. Makes our heart race. We become short of breath. We get hot. We sweat. Our raised body temperature can make our mouth go dry, and our face go red. We're flooded with cortisol and adrenaline. We're in fight or flight mode.
Excitement. The same things happen to our body. The difference is the mind-set.
Improvisers have a positive mind-set. We have trained our brain to overcome the fear barrier, and have the skills to take on the challenge.
Improv is the antidote to anxiety.
At School of Improv we learn to be happy to fail. Considering failure is drummed into us at school as a negative, that's quite a mind-flip! We play games designed to make us trip-up, and have hilarious fun doing it. We become bold and free and take risks. We become adept at getting out of trouble. We embrace mistakes, and turn them into the funny bits.
In class, we take steady steps to achieve all of this. There is no deep end. It's a safe environment. Expertly led. No one is humiliated here. No one is pressurised to do anything they don’t want to. No one is expected to be funny, or to be good at improv. Hey! We’re here to teach you that.