MARCH 2017
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How the GII Symposium came to be:

Like the unsuspecting spark of creative synergy within an improvised scene, Theresa and I met in Orange County, California.

She teaching at Chapman University and myself at the University of California, Irvine - less than 20 minutes away from one another, we found one another out of the entire world. Both of us have a passionate drive to comprehend improvisation deeply, studying directly with the masters including Keith Johnstone and Paul Sills, and yet in considering the landscape of improvised theatre, we felt like there was something missing. In both of our journeys, we discovered a lot of improvisational thought silos and teaching based upon how one was taught rather than questioning the why behind the how. Critical thought, analytical data, pedagogy, and evolution seemed to need further development for improvisation to be seen beyond a simple comedic pastime.

As such, we decided to launch the Global Improvisation Initiative to activate an international exploration about the art and impact of improvisation in depth and collectively, appreciating the rich history and diversity within our field in order to best serve the infinite possibilities of our future. The kickoff of this endeavor is the Global Improvisation Initiative Symposium 2017 on May 12-13, 2017, which seeks to be an international gathering of theorists, scholars, practitioners, educators, activists, and players to promote the evolution and advancement of improvisation for future generations. This year, we wanted to focus specifically on scholarship, pedagogy, and process as we launched the endeavor collaboratively from our two campuses.

With so many of the best improvisational (both theatrical and applied) teachers coming from all over the world, we look forward to examining key questions and themes that will help us move the art form forward and inspire the long time, experienced improviser. Workshops with master teachers have done that for me and that’s one of the reason’s we are bringing such an incredible group of artists together for this event—to go beyond being useful to being transcendent—like that spark in an improvised scene.

Joel Veenstra
Registration for the Global Improvisation Initiative Symposium opens March 22, 2017!

For more details and a full list of guests, visit:

Do YOU want to host an iTi Conference?

The International Theatresports Institute
is NOW accepting bids for
the 2019 Conference!

Important Dates:

March 1, 2017 – Opening request for bids

July 30, 2017 – Last date for bid submissions

November 6-11, 2017 – Announcement of winning bid

At the 2017 Conference in Dubai, UAE the winning bid
for the 2019 conference will be announced!

The iTi wants to bring the conference and Theatresports all over the world!

If you are interested in hosting the 2019 conference please contact us at for more information

Julian Faid:
Improv for Good

Read the article!

Generating ideas around the world!

In each newsletter we will ask a question and invite you to share your answer. Answers will be placed in the following months newsletter.

March’s Question:
What kinds of workshops do you think continue to be useful, even for long time, experienced improvisors?

Amy Shostak, Vancouver, Canada
To me, I love when experienced improvisors still want to workshop and experiment. I think workshops that focus on "what if" questions are useful for experienced players. What if no one else entered scenes? What if we were among the audience? What if we did the whole show backwards? I think these questions can keep our curiosity about the art form piqued. If you look at painting, for example, it was those "what if" questions that keep that art form changing.

Torsten Voller, Steife Brise, Hamburg Germany
I think every workshop is useful. Even Beginner Classes are cool to attend and I like to remember the basics and remember the wild energy I used to have. It is like a Yoga class where you can train to go deeper in in the posture in every class. On the other hand, I think workshops that you fear the most can be most helpful. For example, I never wanted to do a clown-workshop. In hindsight, it was one of the best workshops for me ever. So looking for possibilities to leave your comfort zone (even a little bit) is cool.

I think a lot of actors / artists/ humans love to be free in their decisions. So they should find their own way to leave the comfort zone. And in my case, the more you push me - the more I like to stay in my cosy comfort zone.  So if you lead a team or you are working in a team, you can find some colleagues to give you feedback and give you hints. Try new stuff with no pressure just to have a look in these new not-so-comfy-zones. You can become a role model for your colleagues just by living these new ideas in the company. We at Steife Brise are trying to open up to get new faces and new ideas in the company.
Domeka Parker, Brody Theatre, Portland USA

The greatest, most talented and all around most impressive improvisers in the world are not those who solely do great work with other great improvisers. They are the improvisers who can perform great work alongside players of any skill level.

As we grow in our improv communities we often find ourselves in packs of players all with the same level of skill. Though it is gratifying in many ways to play with those people we are bonded to and trust the most, it is a good practice to reach beyond our pack. It is especially important to reach toward upcoming packs, burgeoning improvisers with less experience. When we play with beginners we grow. We learn to navigate seemingly impossible situations. We hone our ability to make our partner look and feel good on stage. We practice trust and patience in a new way and as we learn these things we encourage and inspire the beginners we are learning from.

I say all this to emphasize the importance of entrance level workshops for experienced players. Revisiting the foundations of improvisation regularly is imperative for consistent growth and sustained skill. “But it’s boring”, you say. “I know this stuff. I’ve done it a million times. I mean I teach this stuff!” To this I say, I invite you to find new perspectives inside this familiar exercise. I invite you to go deeper, focus on a new aspect of the work, watch how the other students are engaging in it, observe the instructor, listen for new ideas, new angles on old ideas. If you truly engage with a playful spirit and an open mind, you will never walk away from an entrance level workshop empty handed. I promise.

By reflecting we are constantly growing and challenging ourselves which makes every performance become an opportunity to reach new heights. It is important to always remember we are actors who specialize in improvisation. It is our job to engage and entertain an audience with compelling stories and provocative characters. When we also delight and entertain one another, we are at the apex of our strength. But to allow ourselves to play only to entertain one another, which is where I often see some of the laziest play, is to deny the audience the true gift of our work. Improvisation has no boundary. There is no plateau to the work. And when we feel we are standing at that place, this is exactly the right time to sign up for an all levels or entrance level workshop. That is where you will regather your tools and begin to climb again.

Dan O’Connor, Impro Theater, Los Angeles, USA
Continue taking classes and learning new things! I think the biggest challenge for improvisers who have done and seen it all is to play like improvisers who have not done and seen it all. We ask seasoned players to perform with enthusiasm and to avoid going to any bag o’ tricks they may have.  We have tried to keep learning new disciplines and to vary our points of view. My two cents is take a viewpoints workshop (Anne Bogart) or a dance class-something that gets you in to your body. In addition acting, writing directing, singing classes as well. Maybe a cooking or a sculpture class or practice meditation if you have not tried it. I think any practice that can help you be present and remain curious is going to help you as an experienced improviser.

Theresa R. Dudeck, Keith Johnstone Biographer, Chapman University, California, USA
In Keith Johnstone: A Critical Biography (Bloomsbury 2013), I write about Life Game and why Improbable theatre company returns to this format every few years.  For Improbable, revisiting Life Game is like returning to the impro classroom.  Keith began work on Life Game in 1985 as Theatresports was spreading like wildfire around the globe and, in many cases, getting too competitive or the rules and regulations were getting altered to make the format more “safe.”  So Keith returned his improvisers to the classroom and to what I call his “Impro System.”  Life Game came out of that return and provided a noncompetitive format to create narrative, evoke laughter and pathos, and most importantly, benevolence.  Life Game is all about taking care of the guest!  Even “unsuitable guests,” says Lee Simpson, co-artistic director of Improbable.  Lee is referring to those guests that challenge your expectations, the not-so-perfect guest (or partner!) that gives the improviser an opportunity to practice patience, to develop a broader point-of-view, and, as Lee put it, to experience “the deeper expression of accepting an offer” (Dudeck 183).  Life Game, at its best, is an expression of benevolence.  So, my recommendation is Life Game workshops or simply getting back to what Life Game is all about, that is, to impro’s underpinning theories and essential practices for creating good narratives. 
Want to join in the conversation?

Here is the question for April:
What elements make a show the kind of show that you think about long after the final bow?

Send us your ideas!!
Theatresports is one of the first improv formats
invented by Keith Johnstone.
A mix of sport and theatre which deserves its own episode of Ex Machina!
Note From The President

Impro leads the way to change

It is an exciting time of social change for most of us. Globally we are seeing movements, growth, improvement and awareness of social issues in a way we've never experienced before.
In some cases our art form, improvised theatre, is leading the way.

We have learned many of our member groups are experimenting, educating, entertaining and embracing gender identity issues on stage and off, enlightening audiences and developing the change-making artists of tomorrow. From gender specific workshops and panels to female or non-binary identifying ensembles, we are seeing a change in attitude and in audience perception. Improv, by its immediate nature, is ideally suited to present these specific points of view in a way that audiences can accept and embrace.

Inclusion of all people, of all races, all orientations, is one of the things that makes an improv company a comfortable and welcoming place for everyone, on stage and off.
Is your company embracing the change? Let us know what your troupe is doing to learn, to develop and to include. Have you held a workshop? Hosted a seminar? Performed at a conference and learned something in the process?

Improv is evolving, and we are all celebrating that evolution. Tell us all about it, and we'll share your (r)evolution with the world.

Karen Brown Fournell,
ITI President

Note from the ITI Office Administrator:
Welcome new members to the ITI!

Just Improvise – Perth, Australia – Theatresports™

Happy Playing!

There’s an APP for that!

Did you know that there is a Theatresports APP?

Loaded with almost 400 improv games
a glossary of improv terms, a suggestion creator and much more!

Visit the APPLE App Store and download it today!
Did you miss the ITI Newsletters featuring the IDEATION article where we asked;
How do you prepare to direct a show?

The answers are in the 02/12/2016 newsletter.
What's up Kids?!

Grading High-school improv - part two

By Veronika Hana Grubic, SILA - Slovenia

In my last article I explained why we kept giving grades to improv scenes in ŠILA - Slovenian High-school improv league during the years working with kids.
I will continue by explaining how our grading system is structured:

Each scene gets two marks, one from the two judges and another one form the audience.
The judges mark consists of two numbers - each judge gives the scene one mark, they add both numbers and divide them by two, to get the final mark from the judges.

The judges have a form they use and it goes like this:

Scene mark criteria:

A) Interpretation and synthesis of suggestion/data used in scene
(implementation, understanding, stage presence, spontaneity)

B) Forms of expression and how they are used
(diction, gesticulation, mime, use of space)

C) Teamwork
(individual work for the team)

You can give a mark form 1-5 in each category and there are pedagogically structured definitions, which each mark represents. The middle, 3 is for a classic scene using lots of stereotypes. And everything over 3 are good structured scenes that have character work, space, story,… and so on.

This system works for us, and I hope we will learn more about the work of other youth organisations in the future.
Looking forward to some international collaboration.

Have fun!

Congratulations to ŠILA on celebrating
your 20th birthday this month!


What is your group name?

Frilynt Norge is the organisation. MINUSMANUS Is the name of the program, and the winning team of 2016 was called “Kjekke Unge Karer” (Translates to “Handsome Young Lads”)

What is your name?

My name is Marius Granholt (administrator) and Heljar Berge is the professional artistic director and MC.

Where are you located?

We travel all over Norway to arrange impro-classes and the Theatresports Junior-Championship. Our main offices are in Sandefjord, near Oslo.

When did your group start?

Frilynt Norge started arranging the Junior Championship in 2011 and did a big profile change to the concept in 2016, including the name change to “MinusManus”.

How did your group start?

One of Frilynts main goal is to arrange courses, workshops and camps for theater interested youth. In 2011 Heljar Berge and Frilynt initiated a collaboration with Norwegian Theater Council to make a national Theatresports competition. We started out with around 80 contestants, an in 2016 we had a total of over 400 youths participating.

What shows does your company perform?

The participants perform Theatresports.

How often do you perform?

We have between 12 and 20 shows a year including the big central gathering and finale at our biggest event; Splæshcamp. There are usually different teams playing at each show.

Where do you perform? (Description of place not address)

Our participants perform in local youth centers, hotels, big and small stages. We try to introduce the concept to as many people as possible.

What is the oddest impro moment you or your group has had?

Definitely when this 13 year old boy got a mental block on stage and ended up getting all of the 400 people in the audience to sing “Macaroni” and clapping for about 5 minutes. Every time he tried to end the song, the audience started singing again! So simple, but yet so entertaining!

What is your, or your group, most uplifting or memorable impro moment?

We experience these uplifting moments almost on a daily basis. Watching some of these kids going from not daring to step foot on stage to full on singing a bombastic ballad about revenge, or proclaiming their love for tomato carrots. That is truly inspiring and uplifting.

What do you feel are the strengths of your company?

Every single one of our youths have a lot of different strengths, but if have to pick one I think it would be ENERGY! They are full of this energetic stage presence, making the audience love what they see from their first sentence or movement.

Anything you’d like to say to all the international improvisers who are reading this?

Keep on inspiring and motivating young people to play! I believe that is the best way of ensuring a playful and creative future for Improv Theater.

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