FLEXIBLE AND EFFECTIVE TEAM TRAINING

The Nursery provides expert training for businesses of all sizes, delivered by some of the most experienced improvisation teachers in the UK.

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Benefits of Improvisation

Communication

No man is an island, and we do our best work when we are able to lose our individual ego and be a part of a team. Improv helps us to concentrate on the task, getting happily lost in a productive flow state.

Creativity

Nothing is more intimidating than a blank sheet of paper, real or metaphorical. Where do you start? And what about the fear that you ideas won’t work? Improvisation helps you defeat the inner critic and innovate easily and fluidly.

Charisma

Ever wondered why some people fade into the background and some people seem to effortlessly hold the room and everybody’s attention? The ability to be present and engaged with whatever you are doing is a core skill of improvisation. Contrary to common conception, charisma can be taught.

Calm

In a world where information overload is a way of life and you find yourself scrabbling for down time, learning to respond to new challenges without panicking is essential. Improvisation helps you to look at and train your stress reactions so that the next time you are under pressure, you can remain calm and make the best decision.

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Class Overview

Applied improvisation classes at the nursery take the principles and techniques we have learnt over ten years of making improv shows and apply them to contexts outside the theatre. Whether they are part of a wider staff training programme or conference, or a stand alone bit of fun, improv classes combine deep experiential learning with laugh out loud fun.

Below you can see some of our standard classes, using improvisation for a variety of applications and outcomes.

Not just a bit of fun: An Intro to Improvisation

Perfect for bringing together team or as an away day experience, the Nursery’s Introduction to Improvisation class is experiential learning at its best. Both challenging and fun, this class will build, up-skill and test your team by giving them the skills to create stories together, modelling mutual support and cooperation through laughter. You don’t have to have any acting experience, or even be funny; the Nursery’s team are experts at making even the most nervous of participants feel comfortable and unlocking their inner creative genius.

Over the course of the session, your team will be introduced to the core principles of improvisation and have the opportunity to practice in a positive, supportive atmosphere. Working mostly in groups of 2-4, participants will reflect on their own habits and opportunities for growth, while all the while laughing and bonding with the others in the room.

This class is equally effective for those who have been working together for a long time as it is for new teams.

Time: 1-3 hrs

Content:

  • Core improvisational principles (group support, accept and build)
  • The mindset of presence and playfulness
  • How to accept, embrace and learn from your mistakes

We’re doing what now?: Fear and the psychology of change

Few of us love change, whatever the context. We grumble, avoid it and hope that the long-anticipated restructure or tech upgrade won’t happen, or that when it does, we will be able to ignore it and continue as normal, turning inertia into a personal coping mechanism.

But change can no longer be avoided: it is the norm. Technology advances faster than we can get used to it and any company which does not respond to unstable market conditions and new working practices will be muscled aside by another more agile one that can. There is no normal any more.

In this workshop, participants are helped to understand their own relationship and responses to change and shown how to rebrand threatening and scary as exciting and dynamic. Through curiosity and openness, participants will learn how to see change as an opportunity for personal as well as organisational growth.

Whether your organisation is planning a change, has just been through one, or is in a constant state of change, this workshop will help nurture an environment of fluidity and responsiveness that will ensure you thrive in uncertain times.

Content:

  • Why we are resistant to the new and how we can hack our brains to embrace it
  • Learning to let go of old ideas
  • Practice in accepting and working with the immediate and the new

All together now: Team dynamics and idea creation

Group creation be a huge challenge. Egos, hierarchies and organisational and personal habits get in the way of the fluidity of communication that group creativity requires. Ideation can be a grinding, combative process rather than a delightful one.

In this workshop, the Nursery’s trainers will use a combination of their personal experience in creating improvised shows with an understanding of the psychology of group creativity to enable participants to model creativity in different contexts, reflecting on their habits and blocks to become more present, productive team members.

Participants will learn to shift their attention from the individual contribution to group success, concentration not on individual glory, but the task at hand. This liberating lack of ego ensures quick and effortless results, whatever the context.

This workshop is suitable for individual creatives as well as teams that work together more regularly.

Content:

  • Creating an atmosphere of support and creativity, so that all team members are contributing
  • Rebranding our experience of success and failure
  • The four skills of creativity with guidance on how to develop each one

Presentation, storytelling and executive presence

The old adage goes that at a funeral, most people would rather be in the box than giving the eulogy. Public speaking is above sharks on most lists of worst fears. Many people over prepare in an attempt to control and micromanage the entire experience, and end up dull and stressed in performance as a result.

In this workshop, participants will be shown how to see understand presentations more holistically, removing the fear and pressure that we out on ourselves, enabling participants to stay live and responsive to the situation, whatever question they might get at the end!

Presenters will also learn to understand the biology of stress and performance in a way that will help them to see the audience as a partner and friend in the event. Then, depending on the length of time available, participants will be introduced to the three act structure and shown how to apply them quickly and easily, making preparation for presentations stress free and efficient.

Time: 2-5 hours

Content:

  • Status, calm and the biology of adrenaline and cortisol
  • Presence and working with the audience
  • How to prepare for your presentation quickly and effectively

Emotional intelligence, pressure and handling difficult situations

We all know what stress and fear feels like physically: the sweaty palms, raised heart rate and shallow breathing, but there is also the psychological that comes with it: the inability to think, the knee jerk defensiveness, empty brain or desire to just get out. Fight, flight or freeze. Useful when faced by a tiger, but not when faced by a difficult customer or disappointed manager.

In this workshop, participants will learn to understand the science of stress and adrenaline, helping them to understand how and why these reactions happen and ways to deal with them, both quick, immediate hacks to longer term strategies and attitudes. Armed with this knowledge, they will be put through a series of artificially pressurised environments, from fast happy-fail games to performance-style situations, learning to stay present, engaged and productive where before they would have shut down.

Ideal for groups that are currently faced with wicked problems, or unexpected information, this workshop takes the terrifying and makes it fun.

Content:

  • What stress and pressure is and how it works
  • How to minimise these effects, both in the short and long term
  • Rebranding stress as excitement

Deep Listening, being heard and the quietest voice in the room

Most teaching of listening is in fact teaching people to pretend to listen: nod, make eye contact and use some of the speaker’s words when you reply. Useful, but nowhere near as useful as embracing the power and depth of genuine listening.

In this workshop, participants will gain an understanding of the deep habits of thought that make sure it is really happening. How do we listen to engage, rather than compete? How does listening drive cooperation? And how can we use our listening to inspire others?

The skills learnt in this workshop will help to ensure that all team members feel heard and valued, creating an atmosphere of trust and cooperation that maximises the value and happiness of a team.

Content:

  • The habits and attitudes of deep listening
  • Noticing who is talking, when and how much
  • Varieties in ways of thinking and how to access them

Your Company: The Musical!

Ideal for a conference or away day, why not book an improvised show all about and for your company using the Nursery’s award winning improvisers.

Based on the longest running improv show in Chicago, the Nursery’s award winning improvisers present a show based on your company, weaving stories, memories and flights of fancy with completely new songs and recognisable characters. This show is an ideal way to bring a team together, or leave them laughing at the end of a tough week or year!

Time: 45mins

Five reasons every team should take an improv class together

Five reasons why improv can benefit everyone

How it works

  • Email contact –

    You contact us with a few initial details by email or on our contact form.

  • Initial consultancy call –

    A short no-obligation call with one of our trainers to understand your team or event and establish your needs.

  • Proposal –

    The Nursery provides several options for suitable training and/or performance.

  • Agreement –

    Final details are agreed and a contract signed.

  • Delivery –

    One of our experienced trainers delivers the training either at your offices or at another suitable location.

Got something in mind?

Our Lead Facilitators

The Nursery’s improv teachers are among the most experienced in the UK, with over ten years of improv teaching and coaching.  As well as being improv teachers and trainers, they are all active improvisers in teams that perform across the UK, Europe and beyond. Some of them have awards, including best performer at the Brighton fringe, best show at the Brighton fringe, fringe firsts and even an Olivier award.

Heather Urquhart

Heather Urquhart

Heather is Co-Artistic Director of The Nursery Theatre and also performs with Award-winning The Maydays and Olivier Award-winning Showstoppers.

Areas of special interest and study:

  • Mental health and diversity of thinking
  • Connecting and networking
  • Organisational development

heather@thenurserytheatre.com

Chris Mead

Chris Mead

Chris is Co-Artistic Director of The Nursery Theatre and also performs with Award-winning The Maydays and sci-fi duo Project2 and co-founded Unmade Theatre Co.

Areas of special interest and study:

  • Dealing with anxiety
  • Building team dynamics
  • Ideation

chris@thenurserytheatre.com

Jules Munns

Jules Munns

Jules is Artistic Director of The Nursery Theatre and performs with Award-winning The Maydays and is also the director of Impromptu Shakespeare.

Areas of special interest and study:

  • The psychology of creativity and flow
  • The history and anthropology of group behaviours
  • Presence and mindfulness

jules@thenurserytheatre.com

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