It has been well documented that improv training can build fundamental soft skills including:
In addition, a growing body of research has determined the benefits of applied improv in:
reducing adolescent anxiety
promoting deep learning
and developing leadership
While improv originated on stage, its techniques have been applied broadly, including to leadership training at Fortune 500 companies and alternative therapies for social anxiety. At Unscripted, students develop core social-emotional and interpersonal skills through improv. We believe it is not just an activity for “theater kids,” but rather is a fundamental skill set for everyone. Through the power of play and humor, an education in improvisation can shift how our students view their own potential and their ability to navigate the world around them.
Through improv – both the skill set and the mindset – we equip our students with tools to thrive, empowering them to chase their dreams and to lead successful, fulfilling lives.
Because the improv toolkit is transformative.
Improv training can foster life skills.
Life skills are inherent to improv. Just check out the 5 key tenets of improv:
1. Yes, and
The “yes, and” mentality is about accepting what someone has stated (the “yes”) and then expanding on that idea (the “and”). In life, it is often more fruitful to try to understand different perspectives and build upon someone's ideas instead of saying no right away.
2. Act and react
The beauty of improv lies in its unscripted and spontaneous nature. In improv, as in life, we often need to take action in the moment. By committing to our choices and neither second-guessing nor taking ourselves too seriously, we can continue to move forward.
3. Look good by making your partner look good
A great improv scene relies on effective collaboration and give-and-take based on trust. In order for everyone to shine, we take the focus off of competition and instead highlight the importance of teamwork and being generous without expectations of reciprocity.
4. Be vulnerable
With no set characters or plots, improv is often informed by our own experiences. Everyone brings something unique to the table by simply being themselves. In this form of theater, being honest, vulnerable and yourself are your most important assets.
5. There are no mistakes
We all make mistakes in our lives, but how we respond to failure is what differentiates an improviser from the rest. In improv, we take the fear out of failure and instead incorporate our mishaps into the scene. We move past our mistakes, appreciate the chance to improvise, and make the most of whatever transpires.
We're focused on the research.
Working with our network of academic researchers, improv practitioners, and educators, The Unscripted Project is committed to being research-forward in the approach and design of our curriculum. In addition, we are dedicated to taking a rigorous and methodical approach to impact measurement and will always continue to advocate for the widespread application of arts education within schools.
Below is select academic research discussing the benefits and applications of improv.
Why Improv Matters in the Classroom
Second City : 10 reasons teachers should use improv in the classroom
Mindshift : How improv can open up the mind to learning
How Improv Training Can Improve Well-Being
Frontiers in Psychology: Working with(out) a net - improvisational theater and enhanced well being
The Atlantic: Using improv comedy as a form of therapy
Psychology Today: Can improv comedy treat social anxiety?
Benefits of Improv in the Workplace
Forbes: Why improv training is great business training
Knowledge@Wharton: How improv methods from comedy can lift business performance
Harvard Business Review: Using improv to unite your team
MIT Sloan Review: Learning the art of business improvisation