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Comedy Improvisation: Commanding Your Audience

Duration:

6 weeks

Day and time:

Wednesday, 6.30pm-9pm

Next course: Starting date
Wednesday, 21 Feb 2018
Future courses: Upcoming dates

Course overview

Related subjects

Comedy, Improvisation

Department Theatre and Performance
Tutor

Victoria Hogg

Location

Richard Hoggart Building, Room 154

Uncover your funny side while becoming more confident, creative and collaborative. Comedy improvisation is about being present in the moment, listening carefully and contributing freely. Above all, it is about being open to and accepting of new situations and possibilities. Such core comedic skills are directly transferrable to personal, social and workplace contexts. This six-week course introduces you to the key principles underpinning comedy improvisation while creating a more confident you.

My takeaway is to accept whatever situation you are in and build the future starting from the (pear-shaped) object in front of you!

Dorinda, Spring 2017

The course was run exceptionally well. We were all made to feel immediately comfortable and which meant we were able to push through a large amount of exercises and a good pace without feeling intimidated by the more challenging tasks.

Adam, Autumn 2016

It’s common to want to be less nervous when handling unfamiliar situations or to be more creative when put on the spot. This course is designed to train you to think on your feet while having a great time exploring your own comic potential. In six weeks, you’ll increase your confidence, improve your body language and become more positive, across a range of different situations. We’ll introduce you to the key principles underpinning improvisation, while undertaking a series of informative, engaging and fun exercises in class. The course has been taken in the past by those from a variety of different backgrounds, including creatives (writers, actors, artists, model-makers and coders), analysts (accountants, big business management), and undergraduate and postgraduate students (MA and PhD students of all ages and subjects). 

The course draws on a range of methodologies and academic theories, including North American psychologist Albert Bandura’s research on self-efficacy and agency, and Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory and autotelic enjoyment ideology. These academic theories are combined to produce an atmosphere in class which encourages both individuals and groups to meet their best potential. There is a strong investment in safe space during class, the wisdom being that it is always easier to be funny and confident when in a trusted environment with a trusted group. The overall aim is to create a balance between enjoyment and learning, providing you with improvisational skills that you can take into your everyday life. The class will create and maintain this balance, between optimal fun and minimal risk, ensuring you feel more playful, more empowered, and more funny.

The course is taken by those from a range of different backgrounds, including those for whom English is a second language.

Why Study this Course?

• You’ll learn all the key principles of improvisation.
• You’ll increase your overall confidence.
• You’ll feel more in command of social situations, presentations and public speaking.
• You’ll become a better listener and collaborator; happy to agree and build on a given moment.
• You’ll become more creative and imaginative.
• You’ll feel more comfortable in the present moment.

Future courses

Upcoming dates:
Wednesday, 21 Feb 2018 - Wednesday, 28 Mar 2018
Wednesday, 9 May 2018 - Wednesday, 13 Jun 2018

How to Apply

Please click on the date of the course you'd like to attend below. You'll be taken to Evenbrite, which is our booking system:

Please be aware that our short courses sell-out quickly, therefore early booking is advisable.

Fees

£145

Tutor information


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Victoria Hogg

Victoria is an improvisation and applied theatre practitioner highly trained in comedy performance. Her teaching philosophy is grounded in the social science sub-genres of psychology, sociology and verbal and non-verbal communication. Victoria melds her performance and comedy training with Albert Bandura’s agency and self-efficacy principles and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory to create a course that embeds confidence and creativity in her participants. Victoria is deeply invested in the concept of safe space and how to generate and maintain it to an individual and group’s lasting advantage. She is dedicated to increasing a group’s agency and skill in an enjoyable, low-risk environment.

Victoria’s applied theatre MA (Goldsmiths, 2016) informs her career as a creative arts and comedy facilitator and her highly respected free weekly improvisation show, Duck Duck Goose Improv keeps her teaching grounded, relevant and fresh. Victoria teaches at many different types of organisation and works with various specific groups including elders, young adults and adults with learning disabilities. Victoria also teaches with The Faculty at Hoopla Impro, coaches comedy improv teams and performs regularly as a comedy improviser. She has studied with a wide range of improvisation practitioners and schools including Keith Johnstone, the iO, UCB, Second City, Hoopla and Spontaneity Shop.

Course structure

Week 1: Spontaneity and Follow the Fun.

This week it’s all about getting to know each other and remembering how to play. Play is the lynchpin of all human wellbeing and is often overlooked or forgotten after childhood. High-pressure studies or careers, digital overload and city living conspire to make us serious and defended, resulting in narrowed options and a lack of flexibility in attitude and creative thinking. This first session guarantees to bond everyone in the room using fun and laughter.

Week 2: Acceptance and Agreement.

Here we learn the core improvisation principle of ‘Yes, And’. When people accept each other’s ‘offers’ and build on a moment together, they find themselves in a world of infinite imagination and creativity. You’ll practise being positive and taking the risk of accepting whatever’s proposed. You’ll discover how not to automatically say “No” or ‘block’ what’s offered as you mutually ‘feel out’ a situation’s potential.

Week 3: Listening and Status.

The group learns a crucial improvisational art: deep listening. Being in the present moment, even when new concepts are on the table, results in every idea being heard and acknowledged. We also have fun with another improvisational tent pole: status. All communication is inevitably accompanied by nuances of status, and this week we enjoy navigating power plays with good humour and wit. You’ll nail moving forward in conversation while holding a differing viewpoint.

Week 4: Honesty, Trust and Giving Gifts.

This week we explore what makes the group and its individuals tick and how each of us can reach in and find the best in ourselves. You’ll examine the concept of having an ‘inner critic’ and how to acknowledge, then push past, self-doubt in the low-risk setting of the comedy classroom. The group will become adept at making contributions with confidence and humour as we practise accepting offers with enthusiasm.

Week 5: Positive Mental Attitude and Commitment.

Following on from the previous week’s work, the group makes a leap forward in presenting itself and its ideas with good humour and positivity. Using a range of approaches, including body-language techniques, ‘yes, and’ exercises and academic ideology, you will find new levels of compassion for others and confidence in yourself as you invent, propose and reinforce your standpoint confidently and comedically from moment to moment.

Week 6: Practical Presentations and Collaborations.

The final week is an entertainment-based reinforcement of everything you’ve learned. The whole group will revisit lots of fun exercises and games and you’ll find that you command the space with a feeling of joy. Notice how much you can now let go of your ‘fight, flight or freeze’ reflexes and see with pleasure how far you’ve come since Week One. This final session focuses on having the most fun with your new friends.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course you will have gained:

• Increased confidence and a sense of enjoyment as you present yourself or your ideas.
• Increased mental flexibility and broadminded behaviour towards new ideas and collaborators.
• Better command of a space or a group through positive, agile, verbal and non-verbal communication.
• Increased imagination and creativity as you become comfortable thinking ‘outside the box’.
• Greater resilience: you will find life’s inevitable beestings and bullets simply easier to handle.

About the department

Our Department of Theatre and Performance is committed to approaching performance in exciting and challenging ways, both within and beyond European traditions. The Department is ranked 22nd in the world for performing arts, and has a strong focus on balancing academic study with creative and technical practice. This enables our students to explore hands-on theatre making while developing their knowledge of theatre history and culture. There is a particular onus on interdisciplinary learning throughout the department, as well as international networks within the industry. The Departmental facilities include our 160-seat George Wood Theatre, four performance studios, scenic studios, a sound studio and open-access media lab.

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