1st Edition

Creating Improvised Theatre Tools, Techniques, and Theories for Short Form and Narrative Improvisation

By Mark Jane Copyright 2022
    456 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    456 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Creating Improvised Theatre: Tools, Techniques, and Theories for Short Form and Narrative Improvisation is a complete guide to improvised theatre for performers and instructors.

    This book provides a modern view of improvised theatre based on the rapid evolution of this art form, shedding new light on classic theories as well as developing lesser known and emerging techniques, such as the Trance Mask. Instead of simply referencing classic theories, the book revisits them and places them in the context of contemporary improvisation techniques. Designed as a practical support, this guide contains over 130 exercises that allow its theories to come alive in workshops, rehearsals, and performance. The book is divided into four sections:

    • Nuts and bolts: The fundamental tools of improvisation to explore how to be spontaneously creative, build with your partner, and learn from masks to discover your scene instant by instant.
    • Short form: Techniques for scene work and short form performance, including how to get the most out of a scene, remain connected to the relational stakes, provoke change (physical, status, and emotional), and maintain a playful attitude.
    • Narrative improvisation: Theories to help navigate long form narrative-based shows with "narrative waypoints," generate variety, develop protagonists, work on genres, and manipulate creative transitions.
    • The bits box: Advice for warming-up before a rehearsal or a show with a collection of useful games.

    Written to inspire creativity and provide the tools to develop innovative improvised shows and experiences, Creating Improvised Theatre is an invaluable source book for anyone interested in the art of improvised theatre, whether a beginning student or experienced performer.

    1. Introduction

    Part 1: Nuts and Bolts

    2. The basics

    3. Spontaneous creativity

    4. Creating with others

    5. Masks and the art of being in the present

    Part 2: Short Form

    6. Introducing short form

    7. What’s the story?

    8. Playing the platform and detecting tilts

    9. Riding the rollercoaster to the end

    10. The three change tools and Status

    11. Physical change

    12. Emotional change

    13. Mischief and provoking change

    Part 3: Narrative Improvisation

    14. What is narrative improvisation?

    15. Narrative theories

    16. The Initial world – locations and relations

    17. The Initial world – calls and protagonists

    18. Making choices to Get in trouble

    19. The Crisis – ordeal and understanding

    20. The Climax and the End world

    21. Transitions

    22. Narrative archetypes

    23. Final tips for narrative improvisation

    Part 4: The Bits Box

    24. Useful "bits"

    25. Warm-ups

    26. Over to you


    Mark Jane is an English actor, director, and teacher of improvised theatre. Based in Paris, France, he performs and teaches all over Europe. He supervised the French publication of Keith Johnstone’s book Impro – Improvisation and Theatre and, in 2018, published his own book on improvisation, Jeux et Enjeux, in French. He was co-founder of the Improfessionals and currently performs with the Parisian troupe La Compagnie d’improvisation Eux.