Jim Ansaldo is a Research Scholar at Indiana University Bloomington, a member of Comedysportz Indianapolis and an instructor at Camp Yes And, which teaches improv Teenager on the Autism Spectrum.
“Improv gives us a means for everyone to bring their life experience to the table”
I had the chance to catch up with Jim earlier this year in San Jose, California. We talked about his approach to teaching, and his work bringing improvisation to with children and teenagers with autism, and how it can be used to highlight and aid communication and interaction. We also touched on the broader aspects of improvisation as a tool in therapy, Jill Bernard mindfullness in improv workshop that we both attended and the legacy of Keith Johnstone.… Continue Reading
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In this episode I recap what I’ve called ‘series 2’. The last eight interviews with some great people who use applied improvisation (improv, impro…that particular way of thinking and responding, and using mental agility). Beginning with Paul Z. Jackson and culminating with Pam Victor. There’s a wealth of information to be had, on a load of different topics, and I thank all the wonderful guests who gave their time.
http://rocketsteps.co.uk/podcasts/Series-2-recap.mp3Paul Z. Jackson is one of the founders of Applied Improvisation Network, we talked about his work and digressed on the topic of improvisation on television.Mary T. Curtis works in behavioural health, coaching people with issues such as stress and anxiety and the YES AND, accepting and building in therapy.
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Pam is the founder of Happier Valley Comedy whose mission it is to make the world a happier place through improv. She’s co-author of “Improvisation at the Speed of Life“, with Chicago’s TJ & Dave and uses improv to teach personal and professional growth.
She has her own podcast, Conversations with Funny Feminists. We chat about honesty and authenticity in improv, facts versus belief and using improv for personal development to overcome fears and increase learning opportunities.
The Zen of ImprovTJ and Dave.Honesty and authenticityImprov for personal growth“I suck”. The evil mind meanie – The voice of unhelpful judgement.
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Paul is a coach in agile development and certified Scrum trainer. He’s the founder of training company agilify and his book ‘Improving Teams’ brings together his work in agile and improv theatre, highlighting the overlaps and connections between the two.
In conversation we talk about the cost of change in the workplace and how similarities in agile and improv allow for efficiency in fields like software development. How adapting is as much about a given project as it is the people involved, and introducing improv for learning. We also touch on the geographical differences in recognition of improv in the US and UK for the approach agile and improv use to introduce game play as a tool.… Continue Reading
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Cathy Salit is CEO of Performance of a Lifetime. She has delivered hundreds of keynote speeches on how using performance in everyday life helps with growth and productivity.
She’s the author of Performance Breakthrough’ A radical approach to success at work.
In conversation with Cathy we chat about her work at POAL, and how treating life as a great performance can be a strong catalyst for growth and change. How her company has developed over time using performance, improvisation and psychology to create a safe ‘playground’ and lead to a diverse range of projects including working with inner city ‘cops and kids’ to to improving the doctor/patient relationship.… Continue Reading
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Dan Starkey is an actor appearing in television series such as Doctor Who, inside No.9 and Class Dismissed on CBBC. He’s performed with many improv groups and done improv marathons.
I’m a massive Doctor Who fan, and seeing Dan improvise some online shorts for Doctor Who, a big TV production, made want to delve into how that came about and find out more about Dan’s work.
Bullet Pointsimprov, Keith JohnstoneSpontaneity shop, Tom Salinsky, Debra Francis-WhiteBristol Old VicBe generous to your audience and don’t stare at the floorStart the scene with silence, creating characterGetting a reaction – Improvised comedy and Christmas carolsOn the set of Doctor Who, Sleep no More, Bethany Black and Mark Gatiss.
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Adam is a customer experience consultant with a background in stand up comedy and psychology.
“We are going to break your ideas”. Adam uses improv theatre techniques to drive design and innovation and is the co-initiator of the world’s largest service innovation event, the 48 hour Global Service Jam.
In this interview we discuss how Adam brings his skills in theatre, marketing and design together with improvisation. Using the ‘yes and’ in service design, showing client’s how to embrace uncertainty, understand the world they sell to and deliver a better product and service. We touch on the subjects of conformation bias, big ideas versus cheap experiments and allowing flexibility within structure.… Continue Reading
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Neil Mullarkey is one of the founding members of the Comedy Store players and probably one of the most recognisable faces in the world of improv.
He has a string of well known movie and television credits appearing with other improv alumini. Just as impressive is the list of companies he’s worked with, where he has brought improv theatre techniques into businesses like Barclays and Google.
In this interview we talk about Second City and the early days of the comedy store players. We also dig into Neil’s work applying improvisation and performance in his workshops. How he encourages people to enjoy uncertainty and identify offers, and re-frame a ‘yes but’ into a ‘yes and’.… Continue Reading
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Mary is a learning and development professional. She trained with Second city and combines her skills to deliver dynamic experiential learning programs.
Mary uses applies improvisation techniques in the area of behavioural health. Working with business in professional development courses and families, she helps people manage issues such as stress, anxiety and addiction to fulfil their peak potential.
When I started the podcast in 2016, Mary was on top of my list of people to talk to. In this interview we talk about how improvisation can be applied to increase quality of life. By being present, utilising the fundamentals of ‘Yes And’ to accept and commit to positive change in ourselves and in helping others.… Continue Reading
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Paul (@Paulzj) is a trainer of trainers and a founding members of the Applied Improvisation Network. He has authored a handful of books including ‘The Inspirational Trainer’ and ’58 and a Half Ways to Improvise in Training’.
“We teach what we need to learn most.”
He has a background in comedy and journalism and his early biog entries read like a who’s who’s of the British comedy scene. Paul has played a large role in bringing improvisation techniques to a wider audience. In our chat we talk about the diversity of his training work and his discovery of improv watching Steven Steen & Jim Sweeney.… Continue Reading
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In Series two of the Bring a Brick Podcast I interview another eight people who use improvisation in their work. Guests include Paul Z Jackson from the AIN, Behavioral health expert Mary T. Curtis, comedy store players founding member Neil Mullarkey and customer experience consultant Adam Lawrence.Series two is available in February.What is the Bring a Brick Podcast?
In this podcast I chat to guests from as broad a range of professions as I can find to make new connections. As a curious student, discovering how people teach and benefit from the values of applying improv in different fields.… Continue Reading
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A summary of the first eight podcasts.
I’ve interviewed a pretty board range to people so far and the interest and feedback has been great. The tone has shifted from episode to episode, depending on the guest and subject matter, some have been fun, some more serious, and that I think is a good thing.
If you’ve been listening to Bring a Brick, I’d urge you leave a review on itunes or Stitcher. There’s no funding for publicity, so it’s all word of mouth and fingers on keyboards. What do you want to hear?Why the podcast?
I’m am naturally quite curious, and I wanted to do a podcast to connect and improve.… Continue Reading
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Richard is the founder of Making Presentations, where he trains and consults on advanced presentation skills.
His work is underpinned by the principles of Improv, in terms of training and how improv principles help us be better presenters.
He worked for Procter & Gamble for 17 years, starting in sales. He moved into consumer and shopper research, and then to global learning & development and knowledge systems. The regular theme throughout was the need to know what motivates people to take notice, to engage with information, and then do something with it. Presentation skills.
We chat about facilitation techniques and ‘how to do the how’ in improv training.… Continue Reading
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The importance of having fun
Marijn began using improvisation during his time as a nurse working with PTSD sufferers. There he learned to use improv techniques to bring much needed fun into the lives of people using the clinic.
He is now part of improbattle.nl working with people from all ages and background and uses improv theatre to bring them together.
In this talk Marijn discusses his experiences in the clinic and it’s pretty heavy stuff in places. Listeners note; the interview touches on the subjects of suicide and rape, but is also very positive, shining a light on Marijns’ bold approach to his work.… Continue Reading
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Creativity is a state of mind…
Dominic is a London based artist and inventor who create thought provoking works with humour. In his own words he works “between the worlds of art, design, craft and technology to create innovative and thought provoking objects”.
There’s a lot of ‘yes and’ in Dominic’s work and I was keen to get him on the show to discover what parallels there may be between the creative process of inventing and that of improvisation. This is a slightly tangential interview with regard to improv, but we cover a lot of familiar ground in terms of thought processes.… Continue Reading
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Bringing people together
Sam is a member of the Renegade Saints improv troupe. He’s also part of the Csz Worldwide diversity and inclusion committee and works for the United Nations.
Sam took time out to chat about the current state of improv in Geneva, what it’s like to perform in a multilingual city and how he almost left the world of improv, he wants to make the world a better place, so it’s a good job he didn’t. Vote for Sam!
Links: www.cszworldwide.com… Continue Reading
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Plan as much as you can, then prepare to throw the plan overboard.
Patrick has worked in the improv industry for over thirty years. In this interview we chat about early days of his career, taking improv training into Silicon Valley, the changes he’s observed in the industry and how he prepares for a training event.
He’s the owner of ComedySportz Portland, Oregon and has led workshops for over 500 organizations including Apple and Nike. (Pronounced ‘Ni-key, not ‘Nike as I say in the podcast).Bullet Points:Prepare lots, but roll with it.Pitching; start the conversation again.This bear will kill people – when to walk away.
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Bold ideas, driven by improv.
In this we interview with Jill Hatcher we chat about the similarities between how improvisers and designer think in order to solve problems and building on ideas. We also digress into comic-book jams and the process if making graphic art. 12.19 Micheal Scott, the office. Strathclyde, Scotland
Gillian Hatcher (@Gillreads)is a Research Associate in the department of Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management (DMEM) at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.Bullet points:Using ‘yes and’ to build ideas in product design.Build a machineMicheal Scott improv
The University of Strathclyde | Barry Kudrowitz study (MIT)
Comic Artist and Illustrator | Gillian’s comics | Direct Download
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“Story is the way our brain makes meaning of the world.”
In this interview with Kat Koppett we discuss her career origins in theatre and how she went back into the classroom to explore the qualities of improvisation as a tool for training. We also talk about improv in different cultures, and get a great viewpoint of the historical development of the improv scene in the US. New York, USA.
Kat (@kopco) is head of Koppett.com, a company specialising in the use of theatre, improv and storytelling techniques to enhance individual and group performance.
Bullet points:Connecting to yourself and ‘the practive of living’Cultural differencesRaising the bar of training in the improv training field
www.koppett.com… Continue Reading
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Leading on your feet.
In this interview I chat to coach and author Andrew Tarvin about teaching improv in business, introverts and extroverts and life on the road. I’m really grateful to Andrew for agreeing to be the first interviewee for the Bring a Brick podcast, we cover a broad range of subjects. Andrew (@HumorThatWorks) is an award-winning speaker and trainer. His company, Humor That Works teaches individuals and organisations how to use humor to be more effective, and his book was released recently, available on amazon here: Humor That Works: 501 Ways to Use Humor to Beat Stress, Increase Productivity, and Have Fun at Work
Listen to this episode on iTunesSubscribe to the Podcast
Listen to this episode on Stitcher
Bullet points;Introverts and Extroverts, Myers Briggs testPsychological safetyLife on the roadImprov for dogswww.humorthatworks.com
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