online improv elective: Improvising Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki stories

21apr7:00 pm9:30 pmonline improv elective: Improvising Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki stories7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Event Details

Level: Experienced

Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation house, gives us such fantastical films as Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke, and a unique brand of anime that captivates audiences and excites us as improvisers. In this elective class, we will create the settings, characters, stories and magic that make Ghibli so distinctive and inspiring, playing in the universe that director Hayao Miyazaki bequeathed to us.

We’ll work on three skills that every player needs to improvise stories in the Ghibli spirit:

– World-building and world-bending: Miyazaki’s stories show us a beautiful and flawed world and how the heroes’ quest fundamentally changes the world. So we’ll work on “setting the scene” together and painting the epic playgrounds where these films take place, including luscious natural landscapes, bustling urban systems, and the supernatural and mystical realm.

– Non-human and non-verbal characters: as the Ghibli films humanise the non-human world by putting sympathetic faces on it, so we will play with creating characters that may lack human faculties such as speech; be they animals, spirits, or geological features. We’ll play with physicality and movement, sound and facial expression to make expressive, influential, and memorable characters.

– Narrative structure and how Ghibli stories set themselves apart: Studio Ghibli movies feature heroes on quests, and so we’ll practice creating improvised stories in the Hero’s Journey mould. We’ll also explore how the films deviate from the norms of this structure. We’ll try out child and female heroes, complex villains (or no obvious villain!), non-romantic subplots and platonic connections.

Ghibli films are also famously pro-environment, anti-war, and generally keen to warn us of the dangers of human greed and show us the beauty of life on this planet that we stand to lose. We’ll touch on how we can adhere to this spirit and explore these themes while maintaining focus on the heroes’ quest.

This elective will be a playful and gentle introduction into improvising in the Ghibli genre and channeling your inner Miyazaki. By the end you’ll practice collaborative world-building, expand your range of characters, and sharpen your narrative technique, in the pursuit of stories that charm and stay with us the way Studio Ghibli movies do.

Min. participants 6, max. participants 12. If we have to cancel the event due to low numbers, we will do this with 24 hours notice.

This Experienced elective runs Wednesday 21st April 7 pm – 9.30 pm BST

Experienced (18 months+) A class for skilful players, especially those who have finished improv training programmes at their school and are looking to widen their horizons. These classes will make the assumption that you are comfortable performing longform improvisation and will push you.

Whatever the level of ability required, all of our classes are safe, supportive environments led by our experienced teachers. Please email us if you are unsure whether a class is suitable for you. If you sign up for a class inappropriate to your level the Nursery/Maydays reserved the right to remove you from the class without refund.

NB: Our electives frequently sell out, but do not despair if this class has. You have not missed your shot. If enough people join the waiting list, we are often able to put the same class on a few days after or in parallel. So if you were excited, join up and we will be in touch.

Closed captioning is available in all of our classes and courses. If you need any information on how to access this in zoom, please contact


(Wednesday) 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm


Juwel Haque is an improvisation teacher, actor, and director. He teaches classes and courses in long-form for The Nursery, where he is also a producer. Juwel performs regularly with Somewhat Theatre, Comediasians, and many other projects. He has trained with the best British and American improv schools and teachers and has significant experience in short-form and narrative and discursive long-form.

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