For young actors, life is like one long improv. One person says something and then somebody responds, and away they go into the next moment that makes up their complex and exciting lives.
This past weekend, Jen Rudin Casting and Coaching launched our first improv class for young actors, ages ten and up. It was a huge success. The students explored various characters and accents; their laughter incessant. To add to the fun, I shook my tambourine (a nostalgic prop from my own experimental theater days, natch) as we transitioned from scene to scene. The tambourine mixed with sounds of laughter created a beautiful cacophony.
In my many years working with young actors in the audition room and teaching audition workshops, I was amazed how quickly the students loosened up, let go, and began to laugh and create.
Here’s are a few observations on the improv benefits for tweens and teens:
- Improv is like baseball or soccer (sub in your favorite team sport here). It’s competitive and fun. But like any sport, you have to focus and keep your head in the game if you want to be a good team player.
- Kids love to let loose and be creative.
- Improv is so freeing for an actor. It’s a great release from the usual audition process that demands young actors to memorize script after script. No doubt: sometimes it’s nice to create your own script and characters instead of having to always stick to a written text.
- Team skills and being a good team player will help you advance in life whether a young person chooses to stay in acting or move on to another profession.
- Improv is a confidence builder for teens.
- Improv creates community.
- Improv demands that you listen.
- With improv comes laughter.
And finally, I had a great time too. Maybe shaking a tambourine has similar benefits for people my age!