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Improvisation, or improv, (also called impro) is a form of live theatre in which the plot, characters and dialogue of a game, scene or story are made up in the moment.

Often improvisers will take a suggestion from the audience, or draw on some other source of inspiration to get started and the show goes on from there.

Improv is unique in that every show is unique. Even shows that start with the same exact audience suggestion will be different. Improv comedy shows are never rehearsed, and never the same.

Improvised shows can differ between different improv troupes, ensembles and teams, depending on their training, their goals, and their style. Sometimes improv is purely comedy-based, while other times it can be a mix of both comedy and drama, or just drama.

Think of it as scripted theatre – without the script, where the actors are simultaneously directing themselves, writing the plot, and interacting with each other all at the same time without previous planning.

Most performers make it look easy, but improv can take years of practice, diligence, and stage time. And while the curriculum being taught in classes and rehearsals is specific to improv, the lessons can all be applied to everyday life – and, if practised, can lead you to an existence that is more engaging, more fulfilling, and all around happier.

Improv is spontaneous, entertaining, and fun. But like all great things, you’ll have to see it first hand to fully experience and appreciate it.

For more info, check out how The Australian Improv Festival defines it.

Author: LMA

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