May 22nd 2018

I stumbled into improv a year and a half ago when I first moved to Wellington and was looking for a zany new hobby. Jan ( Double Down & The Blender) recommended it to me telling me ‘anyone can have a go’, so I signed up for BaseJump Improv’s level one improv class. With zero acting or comedy training, I had no idea what to expect, but it turned out to be a big injection of fun, friends and important life lessons!

The Improv/ Life Relationship

1.Make mistakes

Economists will tell you that there’s a spectrum of attitudes towards risk – from total risk junkie to zero risk ever. I tend to be somewhere down the no-risk-please end – for example, I’ll sit at the back of a classroom and never answer a question in case it’s wrong and horribly embarrassing. Improv is a big celebration of making mistakes and taking risks, and when things go wrong on stage it can often become the hilarious twist of the scene. Getting more comfortable with mistakes makes them less scary, and encourages me to stop being such a Cautious Carol.

2. Improv teams are awesome

A confession about me… I am a recovering micro-manager. Relying on other people is a daunting prospect – I even struggle with delegating the responsibility of buying toothpaste. That’s not possible in improv, where you need to rely on your team listening, reacting, and contributing their own ideas – and they always do! Knowing that you and your team are supporting each other is great for building trust and means taking those risks get even easier. It turns out, people in real life are wonderful and reliable too, when you give them a chance.  

3.Free your mind

The more you use your improvising brain, the more available ideas become, and getting used to generating and trusting disinhibited ideas is key for expanding creativity, a bit like a high energy version of meditation. Improv training sharpens up the brain and makes you see the world in a different way – as a place full of interesting shiny things!

So in summary, improv gives you the power to make amazing mistakes with a fearless team and turn them into a hilarious creation… which means mistakes don’t exist!  100%  I would recommend improv to anyone wanting to try something new.  You will get more than you imagined! Next Level One class starts July 9th

Olivia Wills is an Economics PHD student by day , and a Level 4 BaseJump Improv student by night!