We are each attracted in our own way to be part of this community that recognises and develops the applications of improvisation.
I’ve not studied the figures, but it seems to me that almost all of us will have seen improvised performances, whether in live comedic or long-form improv shows or in jazz or dance. Anyone not?
That would often have been the trigger inspiring us to learn more, whether by participating in a class or by studying in more traditionally academic ways. The most common form of participation over the years has been to attend theatrical improv workshops, from which many went on to gain experience on-stage with an audience, or even grew committed enough to form own own improv performing teams.
That, for example, was my route, although – like Keith Johnstone – I turned out to be more of a director and teacher than performer. Along the way, we are struck by the insight that we were dealing in skills with many applications beyond performance and theatre.
I’d guess about half of the AIN members who attend the annual conferences have a history of appearing in an improv performing team. Very few will be doing so as their main professional activity, though some may be making a living as theatrical practitioners – eg lecturing, directing, acting.
Similarly, it’s true that only a small minority of AIN members make most of their living by directly Applying Improvisation under that title – although more and more are beginning to do so. Rather we are facilitators, trainers, consultants, academics, researchers/students, managers within organisations – all appreciating the value of improvisational tools and approaches, and incorporating them into our practice.
Does this reflect your experience?