I was thrilled and delighted earlier this year to be invited to run two Applied Improv workshops at UNESCO in Paris, as part of a series of development events for staff from the Culture Sector. It’s great to know that more and more organisations are beginning to understand and appreciate the skills and learning that Improv can bring to the workplace.
The workshops proved popular, people signed up, the day was set. I carefully planned out a series of fun but structured games and exercises, to illuminate the valuable training platform Improv offers in this kind of corporate setting. What could possibly go wrong?
Then, on the day, I was taken into the room that had been booked…
I gulped. “Ok”, I said, “No problem, can we just push the desks to the side?” Absolutely no chance! Apart from the permissions in septuplicate that would be needed, these beautiful, heavy, bespoke, each-one-a-work-of-art desks from the 50’s were actually fixed to the floor, unmovable because of all the microphones and headphone wires and simultaneous-translation paraphernalia bolted on to every one.
I threw away my carefully structured workshop plan – time to improvise indeed! I ended up doing quite a lot of circle-based exercises around the podium in the middle, small group work in the corners of the room, and a couple of sitting-down games with people actually perched on the desks (don’t tell the Conservators!). I am pleased and relieved to report that the sessions were a success, and the participants reported finding them both fun and enlightening. But it was a close call!