More than three months ago, I started to learn improv acting and gained valuable lessons immediately. When the programme ended, my improv buddies and I were in an awkward phase of not knowing what to do with ourselves with everything that we had just learned. Some of my classmates were content with the fact that they had attempted improv acting, and decided not to pursue it further. The rest of us were eager to grow our improv skills to the next level, but a ‘Level 2’ programme was not yet confirmed to happen.
I didn’t want to lose any of the valuable skills and confidence I had picked up from my improv classes. And considering we ended our beginner programme on such a high note by conquering an improv performance (although it was only to our friends and family), I wanted to keep up the momentum.
In this post, I’ll explain a couple of ways I made the most of my improv acting lessons, and how you can too!
Make awesome new friends
To be honest, I didn’t sign up for improv acting classes so that I could make new friends. My sole goal was to focus on improving myself. However, when I stepped into my improv acting class, I immediately changed my mind. My class was full of funny and supportive people who were more than willing to put themselves out there, and I realised I was surrounded by some really cool people!
One of the things I’m grateful for is how our instructor immediately started a Facebook group for us. It was a convenient and non-threatening way to stay in touch with everyone between classes and even after our programme had finished.
Not long after the programme ended, our instructor shared an improv musical performance event (yes you read that right – improv musical. Say whaaaaat?!) that I was keen to go see. Normally, I would have asked my partner Sam to come with me, but I knew he’d put up a fight before I could drag him to go see it with me. So I asked my improv classmates instead and I suddenly had a new group of friends that I could attend the event with!
Share the improv love at work
As well as wanting to maintain my headspace in improv acting, I wanted to share this awesome experience and learnings with my lovely colleagues at Trade Me.
So I decided to bring improv to work. It just so happened that as I was finishing my beginner programme, my team and I had a ‘team week’ coming up. My manager asked if I wanted to do run an improv workshop with the team and I felt like this was an awesome opportunity to torture – uh, I mean, introduce an exciting new skill to my team. Working with a bunch of introverted web developers and test analysts, I was bracing myself to be thrown rocks at on the day of our workshop. But surprisingly there was none of that. I was truly amazed at how every single member of my team jumped straight into it and gave improv acting a try. By the time we got to playing the Bunny game, the whole team was in fits of laughter.
Afterwards, I actually received unsolicited compliments from various teammates about the improv workshop and how much fun they actually had. Although I know that my colleagues would probably never go near improv acting again, it felt nice to inject something a little different into their lives. Even for the ones that didn’t enjoy it, at least they’ve got a great story to tell their friends!
Currently, I’m trying to start an improv acting workshop (with the help of a legit improv pro at my work) for the whole company. This is for no other reason than that I truly believe in the great benefits of what improv acting offers and I really want to share the knowledge and skills with everyone at work. Maybe no one will be interested. Maybe we’ll have too many people signing up that we have to create a waiting list. Who knows! I’ll keep you guys posted on how that turns out.
How have you been making the most of your improv acting lessons? What about any other new hobbies you’ve picked up? Leave a comment below!