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Why Improv?

“When you study improv you’re studying how to play again and how to access that part of your mind that’s not judgmental. It teaches the students to actively listen and accept what another person says as the basis of something that can grow. It’s about truly collaborating, not just having your own agenda. You also have to be non judgmental about your own ideas. For teenage girls it’s gigantic. Boys, too, are afraid of being wrong or not being clever or interesting enough.

We play a game where I tell them to name five vice presidents by the time I walk around the circle. If you run out, make up a name. At first it locks them up because they don’t want to sound stupid or silly. A lot of it is creating an atmosphere where they don’t have the time or opportunity to judge themselves.

I try to reinforce the idea that you don’t have to know where you’re going when you begin. It’s about developing the ability to be focused but to be loose enough to let go of how things should be. When they do something scary and realize it’s not as bad as they thought, a smile creeps over their face that’s kind of amazing.”

Mary Carpenter, Middle School Theatre Teacher

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