PERF06089 2019 Improvisation for Actors

General Details

Full Title
Improvisation for Actors
Transcript Title
Improvisation for Actors
80 %
Subject Area
PERF - Performing Arts
COMP - Computing & Creative Practices
06 - NFQ Level 6
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Rhona Trench, Niall Colleary
Programme Membership
SG_APERA_B07 201900 Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts (Acting)

A practical module that explores a range of processes and approaches to devising theatre for the stage and other contexts. Students will develop the skills to initiate, explore, develop and notate a devised show.

They will move from initial ideas to final product through a series of exploratory workshops.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Understand the dramaturgical variables necessary for structuring a devised project.


Develop a new range of critical and communicative competencies


Know how to develop an ensemble capable of dynamically creating safe and active spaces for dialogue.


Know how to produce an imaginative and fully defined characterisation and performance.


Develop, through Michael Chekhov Technique, an  architecture of performance with focus on  Improvisation , Composition and Style



Understand through movement/dance that the body is the site of improvisation.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Principles of technique are embodied through theorised praxis. Classroom activity is supported by a range of reading materials.

Teaching takes place in a weekly workshop setting where the student is guided through a series of group and individual activities designed

to establish an ensemble of actors who can  improvise effectively

One teaching strategy is to introduce the core concepts from the Michael Chekhov Technique  of improvisation and composition

Students keep reflective journals of their activities.

Module Assessment Strategies

Devising project 60%

Classroom contribution and attendance 20%

Reflective journal 20%

Repeat Assessments

Repeat project

Indicative Syllabus

A series of workshops designed to guide the student group through the stages of ensemble development leading to an activated group capable of imaginative responses to a variety of stimuli.

The work takes place in three distinct phases: Warm-ups--Bridge Activities---Activating Materials.

  • Strong emphasis is placed on the acquisition of verbal and physical improvisational skill.
  • The student(s) are encouraged to identify, anticipate and solve unfamiliar problems.
  • The students are equipped with the skills to allow them to develop, notate and perform a devised piece of theatre from a set of initial stimuli (visual /aural or textual).
  • Development of dramatic material from context appropriate games.
  • Translate intellectual comprehension of situation/character into physical realisation.


Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Performance Evaluation Coursework Assessment UNKNOWN 20 % OnGoing 2,3,4,6
2 Written Report (Journal of reflective practice) Coursework Assessment UNKNOWN 20 % OnGoing 1,2
3 Group Project Coursework Assessment UNKNOWN 60 % End of Term 1,2,3,4,5,6

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Workshop/Seminar Performance Space Exploratory Workshop 3 Weekly 3.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 3.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
2006 The Improvisation Game
ISBN 1854596683 ISBN-13 9781854596680
Required Reading
1999 Impro for Storytellers Faber & Faber
ISBN 0571190995 ISBN-13 9780571190997

This book is an invaluable development of the work started in Johnstone's "Impro". Here he continues to provide hope to all teachers [whatever their subject] and all theatrical practitioners. In his inimitably jaunty, anecdotal style Keith Johnstone compiles a new testament to his Bible of storytelling wisdom. Whether it is his insights into what audiences want, or the simple release of what actors and writers tie themselves up in, this book is a lexicon of hope and joy

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Johnstone, K. Impro:Improvisation and the Theatre. London: Routledge. 1987.

Oddey, A. Devising Theatre, a practical and theoretical handbook. London: Routledge. 1994.

Graham, S. & Hoggett, S. The Frantic Assembly book of devising theatre.London: Routledge. 2009.

Rohd, M. Theatre for Community Conflict and Dialogue (The hope is vital training manual). Heinemann Drama 1998

Johnstone, K. Impro for Storytellers. London: Faber&Faber. 1999.

Boal,A. Theatre of the Oppressed. Theatre community group 1993.

Boal, A. The Rainbow of desire. London:Routledge 1995.

Boal, A. Games for actors and non-actors. London:Routledge 1995.

Spolin, V. Improvisation for the Theatre. 3rd ed. Northwestern University Press.

Poulter, C. Playing the game. Macmillan 1987.





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