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Improv’s most under utilised tool?

I adore Narrative Longform. It truly makes my soul sing.


Probably the only thing I adore more in improvisation is watching a group of improvisers who have never performed any Longform before do it for the first time. The look of wonder and joy of their faces when I tell them they just spend 50 minutes creating an incredible story is an absolute delight.


One tool that I think we massively under utilise improv is scene painting. This simple tool can be so effective in Longform especially with newer improvises. All too often scene painting  it’s done as an afterthought, added in without much attention.


But oh it is so much more than that. I feel that when done right Scene painting can take improv from a performance to art. This simple little act can transform our scenes, giving our audience and ourselves a living breathing set instead of just a blank stage.


That cafe consisting of just 2 chairs becomes a warm, cozy room with condensation slowly dripping down the windows, the smell of freshly baked cakes drifting in the air and the roar of the coffee machine interrupting conversations.


A scene on a beach with 2 improvisers stood staring at the audience transforms into a gloomy autumn day, the pebbles feel lumpy under foot, the wind blows hair in all directions and the familiar smell of salt and seaweed fills the room.


We can create these scenes and this immersive environment by using just a few sentences at the start of a scene. By embracing all the senses and flooding our audiences imaginations.


Scene painting excites me. My imagination runs off thinking about all the different types of restaurant we could possible be in, the greasy spoon with the peeling wallpaper, the fancy fish restaurant with the tank of waiting lobsters or a sushi bar with a whirring conveyor belt.


The possibilities are endless!


If you’d like to give scene painting a try sign up for new course starting on Friday 8th July. Find out more here!



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