22 Oct Improv: Not just for Grown-Ups!
Hello, I’m Jennifer! I’m an improv performer, teacher, coach, director and general enthusiast – and I firmly believe that improv is not just for grown-ups. Why should we get all the fun of making up nonsense, meeting new friends, building confidence, being utterly silly and connecting with other people who all support and laugh with each other no matter how different we are? Doesn’t that sound like something kids need?
Yeah – that’s why I set up the Kids & Teens Improv classes through The Nursery & The Maydays. I could fill pages and pages with my enthusiasm, but instead I asked the participants and teachers what they think…
From the 7-10s
Molly (Participant, Age 7),
Victoria (Teacher, Outside Age ‘grown-up’, Inside Age:10)
How would you describe improv?
Vic: I’d say improv is a game where you give gifts to new friends. Being generous creates more fun!
Molly: Improv was amazing! I laughed a lot, and danced and played games. My favourite game was called Emotion Bus, where everyone pretended to have different emotions.
What’s the best thing about Improv Club?
Molly: During lockdown, mum and dad had to work from home a lot, and often I was by myself. But every Tuesday afternoon I got to have lots of fun with improv. It made me very happy. It was really great to play with kids my own age.
Vic: My students! Wow, they’re clever and creative. We’ve invented brilliant games from scratch, born from the group’s original ideas in the moment. ‘Me-Bay’ was last term’s runaway favourite. They amaze me every session.
What are the teachers like?
Vic: I’m curious and can be very silly… The last show I was in, I was a rose-gold iPhone SE asking the shop manager to put me on a better shelf. People laughed, I’m not gonna lie.
Molly: The teachers were really nice!
From the 11-14s
Lorenzo (Participant, Age ‘almost 13’),
Francesca (Teacher, Outside Age ’grown-up’, Inside Age: 5)
What is Improv?
Lorenzo: We play randomised games like the hand puppet relationships, funny mind teasing activities,overlapping story-lines,one word at a time tales, also crossover stories and many more. Everyone works and plays together as we all create funny stories, weird relationships and just enjoy ourselves the whole way through. You can always speak your mind freely and feel like you are in a safe space.
Francesca: Improv is taking inspiration from something and making something else from it without having a plan. It’s a set of skills you build & drill which then mean you can have maximum fun working as a team with other folks who love to create. Improv is whatever you, I & we want it to be.
Why do you like being part of Improv Club?
Francesca: It’s always an honour to be part of anyone’s learning journey & I wish I had found improv at such an early age. Beyond being an entertaining art form, the skills are so transferable throughout our lives & help wire our brains to be resilient, creative & adaptable & those are all things we need lots of. Plus, my Kidsprov kids are from all over the world but all share a sense of community & play. They also make me & the group laugh from start to finish which is a tonic for soul!
Lorenzo: After joining these sessions I have felt that it has boosted my confidence and pushed me outside of my comfort zone. It has encouraged me to participate in other activities and as I got more use and comfortable I had been getting more excited and started looking forward to seeing all my new imaginative friends whilst we all play fun games, participate in wacky activities and co-operate in random improvisation adventures and tasks. I’ve felt that these unique and interesting courses have been a great experience to do with confidence boosts, upped courage and many more lessons learnt along the way that could be useful in actual life decisions and general actions.
What are the teachers like?
Lorenzo: My main instructor is Francesca, and just like many other Nursery/Maydays teachers is very kind, welcoming, funny, talented, a little crazy and a lot of fun to be with. Myself, and I think I can speak for the many who have tried this course, have been completely welcomed with open arms and many smiling faces.
Francesca: I think I’ve always been improvising my whole life. If it wasn’t making up stories & plays with friends as a tween, it was improvising a fashion show featuring my dinosaurs & Barbies with my Nan. When I was in my musical improv show with my team Dreamweaver Quartet, I got to play an East end gangster tarantula, who loved to play games, but got moody when brushed the wrong way…ha ha!
Some final thoughts from the teachers Francesca & Victoria
What’s the best thing about improv?
Francesca: The best thing about improv is the people & surprising yourself by allowing yourself to be free to fail joyfully & in doing so, making some beautiful mistakes!
Vic: Making your friends laugh. There’s no feeling like it.
Would you prefer to have ears and a nose made of sausages, hands made of snakes, or legs made of goop?
Francesca: I reckon I’d go with sausage ears & nose…as long as they were veggie bangers. I need my hands for thumbs upping my pals & my legs for tango-ing!
Victoria: OBVIOUSLY the hands made of snakes. Obviously! I’d win every video game ever invented!