THE APPLIED IMPROVISATION MINDSET
Tools for Transforming Organizations and Communities
Edited by Theresa Robbins Dudeck and Caitlin McClure (Methuen Drama 2021)
How can the practice of improvisation become the lens through which we view the world? The Applied Improvisation Mindset takes readers deep into the maturing field of Applied Improvisation (AI), with stories of 18 practitioners from 5 countries who embrace an improvisation mindset to create a more collaborative, equitable, sustainable, and joyous world. Myriad organizations have discovered how the mindset and skills applied by great improvisers onstage can reveal emergent, generative ways of interacting with others offstage. With case studies on developing presentation skills, reducing anxiety in teens, or preparing climate risk managers across the globe for the challenges ahead, this second volume serves as a valuable resource for both experienced and new AI facilitators. It is a primer for higher education and K-12 faculty combatting traditional teaching limitations and a practical “how to” for theatre practitioners, artists, educators, or anyone seeking to transform their organizations and communities.
“Status roles and improv are at the heart of what makes our culture tick. In this detailed and insightful book, Dudeck and McClure share so much of what we need to understand to do the work and make an impact”
~ Seth Godin, author of This is Marketing
“The Applied Improvisation Mindset allows us to understand how improvisation can create a specific mindset to surf the waves of these unpredictable times. Dudeck and McClure have edited a crucial title for all kinds of professionals who want to make a difference in the world and make it now”
~ Mariana Lima Muniz, Professor of Drama, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil)
“Dudeck and McClure serve (again!) as indispensable guides and translators of how the wisdom and magic of improv can apply to (and transform) everyday group work and life”
~ Priya Parker, facilitator and author of The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters
Leading, Collaborating, and Creating Beyond the Theatre
Edited by Theresa Robbins Dudeck and Caitlin McClure (Methuen Drama 2018)
This collection of Applied Improvisation stories and strategies draws back the curtain on an exciting, innovative, growing field of practice and research that is changing the way people lead, create, and collaborate. Applied Improvisation is the umbrella term widely used to denote the application of improvised theatre's theories, tenets, games, techniques, and exercises beyond conventional theatre spaces, to foster the growth and/or development of flexible structures, new mindsets, and a range of inter and intra-personal skills required in today's volatile and uncertain world. This edited collection offers one of the first surveys of the range of practice, featuring 12 in-depth case studies by leading Applied Improvisation practitioners and a foreword by Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson.
The contributors in this anthology are professional Applied Improvisation facilitators working in sectors as diverse as business, social science, theatre, education, law, and government. All have experienced the power of improvisation, have a driving need to share those experiences, and are united in the belief that improvisation can positively transform just about all human activity.
Applied Improvisation is a world-class textbook for those who want to learn how to teach corporate and nonprofit groups improvisation skills. It's also an inspiring idea book for anyone who wants to bring the magic of theatre to their organization. After reading this remarkable work, you'll be eager to start on your own improv adventure” ~ Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human, Drive, and A Whole New Mind
“Applied Improvisation triumphantly reveals to us, with passionate and fascinating research, by seasoned practitioners, over and over again how the power of this transformative art form can spread its positive and proactive influence over myriad walks of the human experience” ~ Keegan-Michael Key, actor, writer, producer, and alum of The Second City
“Actors often underestimate the phenomenal personal responsibility required of them when learning improvisation. Applied Improvisation demands a new understanding of what the improviser's responsibility might be, and as this book brilliantly reveals, it doesn't need actors or theatre spaces, but a new sense of purpose. This inspirational book will help you find it”
~ Geoffrey Colman, Head of Acting, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, UK
Keith Johnstone entered the Royal Court Theatre as a new playwright in 1956: a decade later he emerged as a groundbreaking director and teacher of improvisation. His decisive book Impro (1979), described Johnstone's unique system of training: weaving together theories and techniques to encourage spontaneous, collaborative creation using the intuition and imagination of the actors. Johnstone has since become world-renowned, inspiring theatre greats and beginners alike; and his work continues to influence practice within and beyond the traditional theatre.
Theresa Robbins Dudeck is the first author to rigorously examine Johnstone's life and career using a combination of archival documents – many from Johnstone's personal collection – participant observation, and interviews with Johnstone, his colleagues and former students.
Keith Johnstone: A Critical Biography (2013) is a fascinating journey through the physical spaces that have served as Johnstone's transformative classrooms, and into the conceptual spaces which inform his radical pedagogy and approach to artistic work.
“The book succeeds as an illuminating companion to Johnstone's writing and for anyone who wants to add to their understanding of how to improvise ... This is a living history and one which is required reading for anyone who has ever improvised and wants to know the pedagogical philosophy and principles ... An invaluable and inspiring insight into the influences and experiences that have shaped an unsung genius of twentieth-century theatre” ~ New Theatre Quarterly
“[Dudeck's] aim of balancing scholarship with accessibility is ably achieved in this unsentimental critical biography that greatly enriches our understanding of the system, and its enigmatic creator and, crucially, the pedagogic principles that drive both” ~ Theatre Notebook
“As a whole, Dudeck's biography provides a balanced and thorough critique of one of the most under-recognized theatre practitioners of the twentieth century. Ideal for both Impro veterans and novices of spontaneity, this text will serve as an infinitely useful supplement to Johnstone's own texts and other historical accounts of improvisational theory and practice”
~ Theatre Topics
"Dudeck presents an engaging and much-needed scholarly analysis of Johnstone and his work, masterfully weaving theory and practice together in a text that is certain to find diverse and appreciative audiences" ~ Theatre History Studies
Other Research Publications and Activities
"Keith Johnstone Obituary: Pioneer of stage improvisation who freed drama from scripts in London and built on this approach in Canada" (The Guardian, March 30, 2023).
Theresa wrote the Foreword to the book The Improvising Teacher: Reconceptualising Pedagogy, Expertise and Professionalism by Nick Sorensen (Routledge 2023).
Theresa’s essay, “Improvisation for Group Creativity and Affiliative Leadership," was published as the opening chapter in Pedagogia das Artes Cênicas: criatividade e criação (Vol. 2, 2017), edited by Mariana Muniz.
The “Circle of Probability” is a concept of Keith Johnstone's that underpins the entire Impro System. Theresa's essay “Keith Johnstone’s ‘Circle of Probability’: A Concept for Creating Stories That Engage Audiences” was published in Theatre Topics March 2013 issue.
“The Loose Moose Theatre Company’s ‘Golden Era’: Company Formation and Perpetuation through Keith Johnstone’s Pedagogy.” PÓS: Revista do Programa de Pós-graduação em Artes da Escola de Belas Artes / UFMG (Brazil) 5:10 (Nov.2015).
"10 Tips from the Master of Impro" (2014) and "Keith Johnstone's 'Blind Offers' Warm-up for the Acting Classroom" (2013) on Bloomsbury's "Actors & Performers" website.
Speaking Engagements, Conference Presentations, and Master Classes facilitated (please request CV)