Improv workshops with Patti Stiles

12th-15th May

Patti is whirl of energy and positivity and a direct link to Keith Johnstone himself. Patti served her apprenticeship with Keith Johnstone at the world-renowned Loose Moose Theatre before spending over twenty-five years interpreting and extending what she learnt there. In that time, she has become a legendary teacher for her fine skill, strong narrative and elegant style.

All workshops will be held at the Nursery Training Centre, 88 Borough High Street SE1 0LL and are capped at 14 participants.

Check out full descriptions below:

Gender and Genre – Thursday 12th May 7-10pm (£40)

Many of the genres we perform have characters that were created to reflect society of the time. Even if the author set the story in a different time, the actions or behaviours of the characters represented the social sensibility of the reader. These acceptable social rules were heavily categorised into male and female behaviour.
Today’s world is different. Our social dynamics and ‘rules’ of engagement encompass more freedom then rules of the past yet our storytelling is still shackled to historical roles.
For example, if we continue to categorise behaviour by gender, in reflection of today’s world, are we not perpetuating a form of sexism? Do the actions need to be linked to the gender for the story to be told? Do the stories remain genre ‘true’ regardless of ‘gender’ casting?
By questioning, challenging and exploring the purpose of the character in the story and removing the gender assumptions we break open new levels of impro play and possibilities.

Book here!


Leaping at the Risk Moment – Friday 13th May 7-10pm (£40)
People love patterns and routines.  They allow us to feel safe and give us a sense of accomplishment.  In improvisation patterns and routines can hold us back by creating a false sense of achievement.
Once people start to perform the audience trains us in bad habits.  Desperate to get it right we log in our brains anything we did that received approval from the audience.  A playing style can form, which becomes a regurgitation of past moments of glory.  Instead of being present, open for the adventure and taking risks; we are waiting for past moments to score a safe laugh.  Our work becomes more like scene based stand up, where we repeat the same gags but make it look like it’s the first time we’ve done it.
This is a pitfall many improvisers’ have fallen into.  They are now stuck in a pattern of building scenes to a moment, and then fail to take the next big leap into the narrative unknown.  Usually at ‘this moment’ instead of the leap, people lower the stakes, side step or throw in a gag.
Leaping at the risk moment takes us from the ordinary to something else.
Leaping at the risk moment means you could discover something wonderful.
Leaping at the risk moment may mean it doesn’t work.
If the audience trains you for success, then you’ll play safe and stop leaping at the risk moment.
I think people sense the risk moment but instead of identifying this feeling and leaping they feel pressure and settle for safe.  This underdeveloped skill holds many players and scenes back.
Lets leap!


Scenes that Matter – Saturday 14th May 10am-5pm (£70)
This workshops explores the real human stories that can be neglected in improvisation. We live in a complex, complicated and extraordinary world. Humans do amazing, heroic and horrific things. We have strong points of view on life and strong values we live by. We defend, love, fight, hate, suffer, thrive, collapse and achieve. So let’s use all of this, engage with life aorund us and make stories that reflect all this. This workshop challenges participants to witness and play these extraordianrey moments, and show humanity at its best and worst.
Please note: the content and language of this class will be challenging. The work will be intense, exhilerating and deep.


Scene Intensive Workshop – Sunday 15th May 10am-5pm (£70)

This intensive focuses on the skills for learning how to identify and develop a scene’s narrative by exploring, understanding and using Keith Johnstone’s techniques. We look at a scene’s platform, circle of expectations, identifying whose scene is it, advancing, raising the stakes and discovering endings. Also we look at how improvisers destroy stories by hedging, side-tracking and cancelling.

Many improvisers feel lost in the middle of a scene. They get an overriding sense of not knowing what is happening or feeling like they are in a snow storm of ideas. They are using what they’ve been taught. They are saying Yes And, applying Who, What, Where, and yet they still feel confused. They find themselves thinking and processing instead of responding to what is happening in the moment. Much of this confusion can be due to improvisers using a check list approach to narrative. Improvisation is not concrete, it alters moment to moment. improvisers need to play from impulse not intellect. Being able to sense and understand what is happening in the scene keeps us connected to the moment and our partner. Then the scene arrives.

Patti Stiles Biography

Patti has worked all over the world, in countries including Canada, the US, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Thailand. She is the Artistic Director if Die Nasty AU, co-director of Secret Impro theatre and has been Artistic Director of both Rapid Fire Theatre and Impro Melbourne. She was the first woman to improvise for 53 hours non-stop in the famous Die Nasty Soap-a-thon and has had a workshop room named after her at Impro ACT in Canberra. She is currently the Oceania representative on the Theatresports Institute Managing Board.

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