Nora finds a community of her own through improv

I originally heard about the Brave New Workshop through my parents because they used to teach and perform here. I first started improv after 7th grade at a BNW SU summer camp. It was a two-week summer camp that I took with my older sister. As a kid I was always very talkative and out there, so improv was a natural fit. Even as a young kid I was amazed by the sense of community I felt upon starting improv with the Brave New Workshop Student Union.

Before improv I really feel like I was an obnoxious kid. When it came to chores and helping around the house, I was just so unwilling to lend a hand with anything. Now this concept of “Yes And” has really driven me to do more in many aspects of my life. I often tell myself, “Sure, this might not be something I was hoping to do but if I just ‘say yes’ to it I can get through it”. Saying yes has really helped me follow through with tasks and assignments, both at home and at school.

Besides from “Yes And”, the character work in improv is so helpful for social situations. Not necessarily becoming a different person but understanding specific situations and choosing what parts of myself best relate to others. Improv just gives you tools to relate to people in different settings. You’re able to put yourself into those situations and draw connections with people you have never met. This is a skill I will be able to use my entire life.

When I first started doing improv, the opening declarations were the most difficult aspect. After a few years of practice, I am very comfortable declaring and getting a scene started. Now I find that I have a hard time continuing a scene after I think it’s supposed to end. So, when I think that I just capped off a scene with a great line but then no one “swipes” the scene to start a new one. I struggle with coming up with a way to keep that same scene going. On the flip side, I can always seem to find fun characters for any scene. I would say that is the aspect of improv that just comes to me the most naturally.

I would recommend camps and classes with the Brave New Workshop for a few different reasons. Namely, the community of the Student Union and the content of these classes. A lot of what I have learned has helped me in things like auditioning, scripted acting, and social interactions. You really get to learn so much about everything. It is truly more than just playing silly games.

When I think of my time with the BNW SU I always go back to one showcase. We had just finished performing and I really did not feel great about the set. Right after the show the group got back together to go over notes, and everyone was just showering each other with compliments. It was very early in my time with the Teen Team, and it really sticks with me how incredibly supportive this program and these people are. That has been true the entire time I have been with the BNW SU.

What are my three biggest reason to give improv a try?

  • Learning. Learning how to grow as a person and find out who you are. Improv allows you to blossom into who you want to be, as opposed to activities that push you towards one specific outcome.
  • Community. The community of this program has been amazing. I have met people from all over the area through improv at BNW SU.
  • Prepared. Improv prepares you for success. It truly sets you up to succeed at anything you want to do.