Improvisational theatre, often called improv or impro, is a form of theater where most or all of what is performed is created at the moment it is performed. In its purest form, the dialogue, the action, the story and the characters are created collaboratively by the players as the improvisation unfolds in present time, without use of an already prepared, written script.
Improvisational theatre exists in performance as a range of styles of improvisational comedy as well as some non-comedic theatrical performances. It is sometimes used in film and television, both to develop characters and scripts and occasionally as part of the final product.
Improvisational techniques are often used extensively in drama programs to train actors for stage, film and television and can be an important part of the rehearsal process. However, the skills and processes of improvisation are used outside of the context of performing arts, as well. It is used in classrooms as an educational tool and in businesses as a way to develop communication skills, creative problem solving and supportive team-work abilities that are used by improvisational, ensemble players. It is sometimes used in psychotherapy as a tool to gain insight into a person's thoughts, feelings and relationships.
Improvisation, or improv, is a form of live theatre in which the plot, characters and dialogue of a game, scene or story are made up in the moment. Often improvisers will take a suggestion from the audience, or draw on some other source of inspiration to get started.
Improv is unique in that if you see a performance, that’s it… there will never be another show exactly like it ever done again. Improv is different every time.
Improvised shows can differ between different improv troupes, depending on their training, their goals, and their style. Sometimes improv is purely comedy-based, while other times it can be a mix of both comedy and drama, or just drama. Like scripted theatre – without the script, with the actors acting, directing themselves, writing the plot, and interacting with each other all at the same time without previous planning.
Improv is spontaneous, entertaining, and fun. But like all great things, you’ll have to see it first hand to fully experience and appreciate it.