WS 2.6: Active Living Improv: Using improvisational comedy to collaborate and generate creative future solutions

Workshop provider(s)

J.A. Hirsch*1, J.E. Maddock2, S.J. Mooney3, D.W. Hatcher4, J. Bocarro5
1Drexel University, USA, 2Texas A&M University, USA, 3University of Washington, USA, 4Alliance for a Healthier Generation, USA, 5North Carolina State University, USA

Workshop description

Improvisational "improv" comedy is a form of spontaneous theater in which actors do not practice skits beforehand and most or all of the performance is unplanned and unscripted. Improv is used in business (Vitug et al. 2007; Rocco et al. 2014), social work (Steitzer 2011), and engineering (Thilmany 2005) to build leadership, collaboration, and imaginative innovation (Kelly 2012). It has even been used to cope with community tragedy and grief (Quinn 2007). In a world of uncertain future shocks and stressors, improv may be the key to finding collaborative, creative active living solutions at the intersection of urban planning, engineering, public health, and policy.

This workshop will teach participants the basic tenants of improv comedy including "saying yes," listening, team support and relationship building while aligning these skills with continuous quality improvement. We will cycle through warm-up and a number of traditional improv games-all with an active living twist! Working together as a team, all participants will build active environments, act out critical partnerships between stakeholders, and play through some of the future challenges facing our field.

Interested in seeing what creative active living ideas emerge? So are we! Join us on this cooperative journey that asks, "What if you said yes?"

Learning Objectives

1. Identify fundamental tenants of improvisational comedy
2. Apply improv comedy for active living settings using a quality improvement framework
3. Engage collaboratively with stakeholders from various backgrounds
4. Build creative solutions to active living problems from a place of open cooperation
5. Listen, play, share, think, breathe, react, understand, be affected, and say yes.

Workshop format and interactive features (1.5 hours)

Welcome, introduction (15 minutes):

Describe the "rules" of improv
Learn each other's names (icebreaker game)
Warm-up (25 minutes) may include:

Pass Clap OR pass ball
Bippety Bippety Bop-cycle (modified version of Bippety Bippety Bop but where the three people make a bicycle)
Play (25 minutes) may include:

Object (with only active living objects)
Yes Lets (modified to be a planning session or a park or another active living location)
Group Environment (modified to be bike lanes, streets, school playrounds)
Super Hero (set with stakeholders)
Debrief (25 minutes)

What takeaways do you get for communicating across fields? Across types of stakeholders?
What's the relationship between continuous quality improvement and improve skills?
How can we use improv principles to facilitate and engage around future uncertainties?
How can we train communities/stakeholders to use these skills?
Did we cooperatively design/create any new spaces? How can we use this to brainstorm solutions to real problems?

NOTE: This workshop should be capped at 25 people and all participants must come for the entire duration of the workshop. Come ready to play with comfortable shoes, easy-to-move clothing, and your most awesome, cheery attitude!

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Organized by
  • ALR
  • ALR
  • Elsevier
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