Bulling is no laughing matter — that is, until you introduce improvisation comedy! In this 1-hour improvisation workshop designed for 5th grade students, actors break down the rules of improvisation beginning with “yes, and…”. In essence, improvisation is all about agreement and acceptance. Since there is no script to rely upon, improv requires agreeing with each other’s ideas and engaging in a community of support and laughter. By forming this type of community, young people become empowered to combat bullying as both victims and bystanders. Battling Bullying with Improv acknowledges the power granted to young people through improv exercises. Improvisation is a tool capable of creating a culture where bullying is not tolerated because young, autonomous students sense their ability to stand up for what is right and protect one another.
This one-hour workshop will introduce basic principles of improvisation and include students as active participants. Bullying is riddled with fear on both the parts of the victim and the bully; therefore, this workshop will harness the uplifting and comedic power of improvisation, demonstrating how stories and even conflict can arise without pushing down others.
Students will learn that the most unique actors are the most interesting; therefore, we should embrace each other’s differences and our own unique voices.
Bullying is widespread and impacts the lives of victims, bystanders and bullies alike. Theatre presents an opportunity to address the emotional consequences of bullying and explore solutions. Giving voice to victims and bystanders is an important outcome that will allow students to carry elements of the workshop into their daily lives at school, at home and online.
In conclusion, students will have an experiential learning opportunity that will allow them to practice redirecting conversations and shifting focus away from bullies. Rather than entertaining the antics of bullies and allowing them to dominate the center focus, communication and humor will lighten the tension and diffuse the situation. Improvisation is a tool that builds empowered young people.
The workshop will begin with brief introductions and a discussion of how bullying and how improvisation can help to diffuse bullying.
A brief physical warm-up and introduction to improvisation – What is improv?
Following the warm-up, students will break up into groups for their first improv exercise. This will be a non-verbal improv exercise that will include a prompt and/or instruction based on the theme of bullying. Students will share the work that they’ve created with each other.
The bullying theme will continue into the second improvisation exercise. This improv game will be both verbal and physical, allowing students to explore the language of both bullying and empathy. Students will be asked to follow their fear, take risks, make mistakes and have fun. Since no preparation is required for improv, students will be able to share their work with the group, as they create together on their feet.
The workshop will conclude a brief discussion of observations / takeaways and a recognition of the accomplishments.