Teaching Improv: A Practical Guide for Theatre Educators

by James Thomas Bailey

About The Book

Improv isn't just fun and games (though it's fun and there are a lot of games!). It's a powerful set of skills that can lift an actor—and indeed, an entire ensemble—to another level. James Thomas Bailey is an experienced classroom teacher, producer of the longest running stage production in Los Angeles (decades) and creator of the largest teen improv program in the United States. In this book, he's created a practical, humorous guide to teaching improvisation for theatre educators and directors at all levels. Included are sequential lessons and methods for applying them—ten weeks of curriculum if taught in full—complete with a "script" for teaching and debrief questions for greater conversation and even more understanding. Ready to give yourself a shot in the arm and a pat on the back?! Go!

"Teaching Improv has become my bible, my lesson plan binder and my coffee table book. With his perfect mix of practical instruction, anecdotal experience and sassy humor, James has managed to write a book that speaks right to the theatre teacher's sensibilities. It will leave you feeling totally prepared and excited to teach improv." - Sally Grazi-Shatzkes, Creative Arts Therapist (New York, NY).

"I have used James' improv book for five years. Mine is highlighted, Post-it-flagged and tea-stained because I use it every single day of the school year for warm-up exercises (or entire lessons). The reflection questions and discussion tips he gives alongside the 'games' elevate the instruction to so much more than theatre skills and fun moments (which they certainly are). I have students who come back years later and talk about how a 'game' and the life application we reflected on after playing still inform the way they move through the world. Some of the reflection times are the breakthrough moments where those reluctant 'I didn't sign up for this' students see how theatre can be instructive for their growth as humans. I've seen this happen time and time again over the last five years. Bravo, James." - Lea Marshall, Leon High School (Tallahassee, FL).

"This book is phenomenal! I have been stressing about how to begin with my brand new theatre/drama class, and you have given me the perfect tool to begin and to do it well. Thank you so much for this work. You have lifted a huge load off my shoulders." - Nicole Weaver, Twin Valley High School (Elverson, PA).

"James is so engaging, hilarious and empathetic. His book is written in this same joyful manner. The exercises are clearly described, easy to follow, engaging and appropriate for many different levels of training. This book brings humor, intelligence, clarity and rigor to the challenges, work and play that we call improvisation. Thank you, James!" - Pamela Rickard, Theatre Director/Teacher, American Conservatory Theatre, Stanford University, Katherine Delmar Burke School (San Francisco, CA).

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