students improvising comic sceneThe Improv Club is open to students from all disciplines interested in improvisational theatre.

Club develops skills in improvisation

Do you enjoy telling stories, playing games, and using your imagination? If you answered “yes, and…” to that question, drama professor Alice Nelson would like to invite you to join the Improv Club.

Improv is a form of theatre that challenges performers to create unscripted, “improvised” stories — most commonly comedic in nature. Prof. Nelson points to the television series Whose Line Is It Anyway? as an example of the genre.

“You have to work with your fellow players and learn to trust your instincts. You never know what's going to come out,” she says.

The newly-formed group grew out of a class she teaches in the School of Dramatic Art and is open to students in any discipline.

“The first idea is to have fun, but members gain amazing skills useful in any setting,” says Nelson. “The biggest skill is listening. You’re paying attention to other people’s words and also their physical cues.”

She notes that improv can teach participants how to fail and how to get back up while retaining the confidence and goodwill of an audience.

“You have to learn to respond to the feedback you’re receiving,” Nelson says. “What does the room want at that moment?”

Club gatherings involve games to familiarize members with their partners with a view to building the skills necessary to devise more long-form stories.

“Ideally, it would be great if we could hold a public performance by the end of the semester,” Nelson says.

The club meets Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. in room 103, Jackman Dramatic Art Centre. No previous experience is required. For more information, email Nelson at

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