Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre by Keith Johnstone: Review

Keith Johnstone's involvement with the theatre began when George Devine and Tony Richardson, artistic directors of the Royal Court Theatre, commissioned a play from him. This was in 1956. A few years later he was himself Associate Artistic Director, working as a play-reader and director, in particular helping to run the Writers' Group. The improvisatory techniques and exercises evolved there to foster spontaneity and narrative skills were developed further in the actors' studio then in demonstrations to schools and colleges and ultimately in the founding of a company of performers, called The Theatre Machine. Divided into four sections, 'Status', 'Spontaneity', 'Narrative Skills', and 'Masks and Trance', arranged more or less in the order a group might approach them, the book sets out the specific techniques and exercises which Johnstone has himself found most useful and most stimulating. The result is both an ideas book and a fascinating exploration of the nature of spontaneous creativity.

Are you tired of feeling stuck in your routine? Do you crave spontaneity and creativity in your daily life? Look no further than Patricia Ryan Madson’s book, “Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up.”This insightful guide draws upon principles from the world of improvisational theater to help readers embrace the unexpected, communicate effectively with others, and tap into their own playful and creative sides.

Through personal anecdotes and practical exercises, Madson encourages readers to let go of their need for control and perfectionism. Instead, she urges them to take risks and trust in their ability to handle whatever comes their way. Whether you’re a seasoned performer or simply looking for ways to inject more joy and spontaneity into your everyday experiences, “Improv Wisdom”offers a fresh perspective on how to live life with greater ease and presence. So why wait? Dive into Madson’s wise words today and start embracing the beauty of the unknown!

Overview of ‘Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up’

You’re probably wondering what ‘Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up’ is all about and how it can benefit you. Well, this book is all about using the principles of improvisation to help you live a more fulfilling life. It’s not just for actors or comedians; anyone can benefit from learning the techniques and mindset behind improv.

One of the main benefits of improv is that it helps you become more present and in-the-moment. By learning to let go of your preconceived ideas and expectations, you’ll be able to fully engage with whatever situation you find yourself in. This can lead to greater creativity, better problem-solving skills, and a deeper connection with those around you.

The book offers practical techniques for improving your ability to think on your feet, listen actively, and communicate effectively. You’ll learn how to embrace failure as an opportunity for growth, how to collaborate with others without judgement or criticism, and how to stay open-minded even when things don’t go according to plan. Ultimately, these skills will help you navigate life’s unexpected twists and turns with more ease and grace. So if you’re ready to start embracing the unexpected, read on!

Embracing the Unexpected

When life throws unexpected situations your way, it’s like being a jazz musician improvising on stage – you have to be open to new possibilities and embrace the moment with all its surprises. This is where improv wisdom comes in handy. Improvisation teaches us to be spontaneous and adaptable, traits that are crucial for navigating through life’s unpredictable twists and turns.

Spontaneity is the ability to respond quickly and confidently without overthinking or second-guessing yourself. It’s about trusting your instincts and going with the flow. When we learn to be spontaneous, we become more comfortable with uncertainty, which can lead to greater creativity and innovation in all aspects of our lives.

Adaptability is another important skill that improv teaches us. When things don’t go as planned, we need to be able to adjust our approach and find new solutions. Adaptability requires flexibility, resilience, and a willingness to learn from mistakes. By embracing the unexpected, we become better equipped to handle whatever challenges come our way with grace and ease.

As you develop your skills in spontaneity and adaptability through improv practice, you’ll also find that communication and collaboration come more naturally. In the next section, we’ll explore how these skills can improve your relationships both personally and professionally without missing a beat.

Communication and Collaboration

Effective communication and collaboration are essential skills that can be improved through practicing spontaneity and adaptability. One of the key aspects of effective communication is active listening. This means not just hearing what someone is saying but truly paying attention to their words, tone, and body language. By actively listening, you can better understand their perspective and respond in a way that shows you value their input.

Another important aspect of effective communication is conflict resolution. When working with others, conflicts are bound to arise at some point. However, by being adaptable and open-minded, you can work through these conflicts in a constructive way. This involves acknowledging the other person’s perspective, finding common ground, and coming up with a solution that works for everyone involved.

By incorporating these skills into your daily interactions with others, you can cultivate an environment of collaboration and creativity. The ability to communicate effectively enables you to share ideas freely without fear of judgment or rejection. As you embrace spontaneity and adaptability in your interactions with others, you will find that new possibilities emerge naturally from your conversations – leading to increased playfulness and creativity in all areas of your life!

Playfulness and Creativity

To cultivate playfulness and creativity, try incorporating spontaneity and adaptability into your daily interactions with others. Adopting a playful mindset can help you become more open to creative expression, both in your personal and professional life. Don’t be afraid to let go of rigid thinking patterns and embrace the unknown – it’s often where the most innovative ideas come from.

One way to practice this is by engaging in improvisational exercises with friends or coworkers. These activities require you to think on your feet, trust your instincts, and work collaboratively with others. By participating in these exercises regularly, you can train yourself to be more comfortable with uncertainty while also building stronger relationships with those around you.

By embracing playfulness and creativity, you’ll be better equipped to apply improv wisdom to your daily life. This means being flexible when plans change unexpectedly, staying present during conversations instead of getting lost in thought, and taking risks even if they don’t always lead to success. With time and practice, these habits will become second nature – helping you navigate life’s challenges with ease and grace.

Applying Improv Wisdom to Daily Life

You can apply improv wisdom to your daily life in three key areas: work and career, relationships and family, and personal growth and development. In terms of work and career, improvisation skills can help you navigate unexpected challenges or pivot when necessary. In relationships and family, being present in the moment and open to new ideas can improve communication and connections with loved ones. Finally, using improv techniques such as “yes, and”can lead to personal growth by encouraging you to take risks and embrace uncertainty.

Work and Career

Career success is often found not in the preparation, but in the willingness to show up and take action. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that one needs to meticulously plan every step of their career advancement. However, Patricia Ryan Madson reminds us that sometimes all it takes is simply showing up and being present in the moment.

Of course, this does not mean neglecting work life balance or failing to prepare for important meetings or projects. Rather, it means embracing the uncertainty of our careers and being open to new opportunities as they arise. By doing so, we can tap into our creativity and intuition, which may lead us down unexpected paths towards greater success and fulfillment. And who knows? Perhaps these paths will also bring us closer to meaningful relationships with loved ones – a topic we’ll explore next.

Relationships and Family

Embracing the complexities and challenges of maintaining healthy relationships with loved ones can lead to a more fulfilling and joyful life. Family dynamics are intricate, and communication skills play a crucial role in maintaining strong bonds. It is essential to communicate effectively and listen actively to better understand each other’s perspectives.

Incorporating open and honest communication in family relationships allows for growth and acceptance. When conflicts arise, it’s important to approach them with empathy and understanding rather than defensiveness. Building trust through active listening, compromising, and showing unconditional love reinforces the foundation of any relationship. Developing these skills takes time but yields long-lasting rewards that can positively impact all aspects of your life.

As you continue to grow in your ability to navigate complex family dynamics, you may find yourself looking inward towards personal growth and development.

Personal Growth and Development

Personal growth and development is a lifelong journey that requires constant self-awareness and a willingness to shift one’s mindset. It involves taking the time to reflect on your thoughts, behaviors, and actions, and making necessary changes to improve yourself. By investing in your personal growth, you become better equipped to handle life’s challenges and achieve your goals.

To begin your personal growth journey, start by becoming more self-aware. Take note of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as any limiting beliefs or negative thought patterns. Once you are aware of these things, work on shifting your mindset to focus on positive outcomes and possibilities. This process takes time and effort but can lead to significant improvements in all aspects of your life. Remember that personal growth is not just about achieving success; it is also about living a fulfilling life with purpose and meaning.


So, you’ve reached the end of ‘Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up’ by Patricia Ryan Madson. You’ve learned how to embrace the unexpected, communicate and collaborate effectively, tap into your playfulness and creativity, and apply all these skills to your daily life.

Like a seasoned improviser, you now know that life is a stage and every moment is an opportunity to shine. So don’t let fear hold you back from taking risks, don’t overthink things – just show up! Remember that mistakes can lead to beautiful discoveries and that success is not about perfect planning but about being present in the moment. Keep playing with life’s possibilities and see where they take you – who knows what wonderful surprises are waiting for you!

Share This Article