The Nursery’s improv training programme

The Nursery’s improv training programme

Levelling up

The Nursery is pleased to announce its new improv training programme. Beginning in autumn 2019, the Nursery system is designed to give the improvisational training necessary to become a professional-standard improviser. In parallel with elective and international visitor programmes, it will help us to expand our community of improv performers and enthusiasts. 

But why levels?

Here’s a thing that is confusing: improv classes (including ours) will often tell you that you can’t get anything wrong, that any response to an exercise is valid. You are, after all, just learning about and reprogramming how you respond to different situations. That’s what improv is for, right? So why have a levelled system? Surely anyone can play with anyone?

Well yes, you can, and playing with people with a very different experience level can be very valuable, but It would be silly to pretend that a complete beginner has the same needs as an experienced improviser. After all, you wouldn’t ask a first time tennis player to train with Roger Fererer. The former would find it frustrating and the latter, boring.

With the drive towards professionalisation and quality in improvisation and the Nursery’s expanding programme of touring and resident improv shows, levels ensure that classes can concentrate on a particular skill and know that everyone has the shared vocabulary and skills to work together without frustration or boredom. We can match people who have the same needs and know that what we are offering is useful at that point in their improv journey. 

So what does it look like?

The new system has five levels that take a new improviser from your first ever class to being able to perform a full-length show. 

  • Level 1 Spontaneity and Emotion – in which you will be given the skills to express emotion and act on instinct in scenes, using the full power of your unconscious mind to be bolder and more present. 
  • Level 2 Character and Game  – in which you will examine the idea of character. How do repeated patterns of behaviour create character and how this can be satisfying and easy both to play and watch.
  • Level 3 Storytelling – in which you will start to examine how storytelling and character change can lead to compelling content. 
  • Level 4 Making great scenes – in which you will concentrate on scenes and the skills needed to make them delightful and easy to play. What is a scene made of?
  • Level 5 Forms and formats – in which you will be introduced to a variety of different longform formats and see how they help you to create great scenes. 

And who is it for?

Improv training is not just for performers. Not all actors are great improvisers, and not all improvisers can act. Improv is for anyone who wants to be more creative, charismatic, calm and connected. It’s yoga for the brain and meditation with added laughter and at the Nursery we welcome people of all kinds. The beauty of improv is that anyone can be and do anything!

Here are some Nursery promises

  • We will never demand that everyone takes every class to be able to perform with us. All auditions are and will remain open. Our classes give you the skills to perform in our shows, they are not a prerequisite to do so. 
  • We will clearly describe and explain what the skills are learnt in each level and session and ensure that each level builds logically on the last. 
  • We will always have opportunities for players to mix with players of other experience levels. At #TNL, the House Party and in Nursery shows. 

Check out all our course here!

Jules Munns
Jules Munns
jules@thenurserytheatre.com

Jules is the Artistic Director of the Nursery Theatre. Jules is also the director of Impromptu Shakespeare and a member of the Maydays, as well as one half of Ten Thousand Million Love Stories.

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