Corporate training with the Nursery

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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Watch our video to learn more

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

Making meetings matter - how to have clear and effective discussions with practical, achievable outcomes

Great meetings are rare. Too often we avoid decisions, go around in circles and take far too long as we do it, filling up our diaries with time that could be better be spent doing work, rather than talking about it.

In this workshop, you will learn to channel the energy and expertise of participants to create powerful interactions which could have only happened face to face. We will give you both the theoretical background and the lived experience of productive, efficient communication that really makes meeting matter, as well as an introduction to the six secrets of successful meetings. You’ll never be bored in a meeting again.

Riding the storm - coping with VUCA environments and WICKED problems

In a 24/7/365 world, stress is ubiquitous even when everything is going to plan. The constant stream of apparently urgent information, stimulation and decisions to deal with make it hard to take it all in and even harder to make good decisions. When the pressure goes up, your brain shuts down. And we live in a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous), even when we have a clear direction and goals, we need to be flexible, agile and yet still delivery results.

In this workshop, you will be introduced to some of the psychological and creative techniques used by improvisers and other performers when they step onstage in front of an audience. Participants will learn to take conscious control over themselves in pressurised scenarios, noticing everything, rebranding stress as excitement and thriving under pressure.

Participants will also 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 through bot immediate hacks and longer term strategies. 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.

From ‘Them and us’ to ‘Us and us’ - how to bring a team together

How often do you find companies and teams where the employees are pitted unhelpfully against each other rather than uniting to beat the competition and serve the customers? How often do companies find that in mergers or re-organisations that teams don’t gel, but feel like ‘Them and us’?

In this workshop, participants will learn the deep listening and cooperation techniques that enable them to better understand their colleagues and teams, encouraging diversity of thought and approach in a way that leverages the full value of the workforce.

For the organisation to both serve its customer well and be a great place to work smoothly inside, we need to harness diversity to act as one team. When we build this diversity into organisations, it widens our definitions of normal, includes more people in the process and therefore helps us make better, smarter decisions, creating belonging, a shared sense of purpose and working together to build a new narrative.

In our half day workshop, we will use business techniques, psychology and improv activities to help teams gain insight into how to feel more ‘Us and Us’ than ‘Them and Us’.

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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