What is improvisation?

Improvisation is theatre without a script. Funny or touching, strange or calm and naturalistic, it all has one thing in common: the performers hear it for the first time at the same time as the audience.

Nursery improvisation classes focus on the emotional truth and human connection in the scene. Although we teach with a theatrical focus, there is no need to be an actor to take our courses, just a person!

Frequently Asked Questions

Tell me more about improvisation!

Improvisation is shared creation. Improvisers make it up on the spot, often working from a suggestion from the audience. We build ideas step by step, using the core principle of “Yes, and” or, as it is sometimes called, “Accept and build”.

Improvisers are encouraged to closely listen and add to what their partner is offering and discover what is really happening in an interaction. This creates complex and beautiful ideas and scenes simply by the accumulation of a sequence of smaller steps.

Do I have to be an actor or comedian?

Not at all! We believe everybody is creative and that anybody can enjoy and benefit from improvisation. Many of our students play just because it’s fun, with no intention of ever going onstage.

So who will be there?

The Nursery runs improvisation classes for all abilities and experience levels. Our students includes nurses, civil servants and programmers, lawyers, students and scientists.

Do I have to be funny?

Absolutely not. A lot of improv is funny, yes, but it doesn’t require individual performers to be razor sharp wits. Instead it uses the magic of agreement. No one needs to be funny or clever or wonderful by themselves, rather we make everyone look brilliant by fearlessly supporting each other and each other’s ideas.

Isn’t it scary?

A lot of people find the idea of standing in front of an audience really intimidating, but we are on a mission to show that it’s nowhere near as bad as you think. In fact, it’s really fun!

You may well get an adrenaline buzz from it, but teacher and your classmates are the safety net and will not allow you to fall.

What happens when it all goes wrong?

At the Nursery we don’t believe in mistakes. Because in an improv class you are never alone. The collaborative nature of the art means that you rely on your partner and your partner relies on you, you will have fun together.

What might happen in an improv class?

Exercises, games and performance forms that allow us to create collectively. First you will warm up to get your body and mind relaxed and the ideas flowing. Then, working in pairs or larger groups, you will make up stories and scenes. It might look a little bit like a theatrical scene, or storytelling, or some games or just a group of people standing in a circle messing around!

What should I wear?

Whatever you are most comfortable in. Our rooms can get a little hot in summer, so something light is often a good idea.