Five lessons from an night of improv

One of the fringe benefits of belonging to the Peterborough Pop Ensemble is the chance to grow personally through various workshops. One such workshop, facilitated by Ray Henderson and Dan Smith of The Improv Experience, was focused on improv, or improvisation. It’s a form of live theatre in which the story is made up as you go. As a form of team-building, improv can be a valuable tool to help draw out personality and build trust. Here are five things that I learned from a night of improv with my fellow choristers:

  1. Listening is, by far, the greatest asset we all have when we are a member of a team. If you listen, you learn and when the time comes, your responses will be relevant.
  2. Appearances can be deceiving: those who seem outgoing may have more trouble with improv than those who are generally quiet in a group.
  3. Being playful can be liberating. Simply allowing silliness into the room is the first step in being vulnerable, which is, in turn, the first step in relationship-building.
  4. Working together is harder than it looks. For example, you never have any idea what your partner may say or do, but when the goal is to continue at all cost, you have no choice but to trust them, and more importantly, trust own response.
  5. Laughing til you almost pee actually causes a great deal of tension in your cheeks – good tension – but it also takes a vast amount of energy. You go home utterly spent!