Cindy Crushes Programming: Hosting a Teen Improv Night
I am going to be very honest. I have very little acting experience, so when one of my teens asked for an improv night I was nervous. Improv stands for improvisational theater. I decided to a lot of research. I wanted the teens to know it is okay to make mistakes and they do not have to be perfect.
I began to look for beginning acting exercises that the group could perform. One game I found was counting to twenty. The group gathers in a circle and they all count to 20 as a team, but no one knows who is going to count next and if two people say the same number they have to start over.
The next activity I found was called Unfortunate/Fortunate. It is an activity where one person gives the unfortunate news and another give the fortunate news.
Example: Unfortunately you ran out of candy, but fortunately you have snacks. Unfortunately they are expired, fortunately you did not like them anyway.
The next exercise I planned to do is Headlines. In Headlines someone gives another person a headline and the next person makes their own headline using the last word of the previous headline.
Example: Headline 1: Cocker Spaniel starts his own rock band. Headline 2: Band candy sale starts today. Teachers beware!
Flock Dance: This activity is a dance exercise that I hoped would be popular since I have noticed Fortnight has led to teens being more excited about dancing.
The activity starts with a leader who the group follows in a 10-15 second dance. The teens have to do everything the leader is doing. This seems like a fun and easy game.
We did an activity from the show Whose Line Is It Anyway? The activity is called Scene from a Hat. They have to act out various scenes that are in the hat such as—“Snapchat Gone Wrong.”
I added my own improv game called it Librarian and Patron. I had them act like a librarian and the patron that needed help. This was super fun because they got to be me. I had them do impressions of me and they really enjoyed that.
The last activity was an easy round of Telephone which most teens know as the game where you tell one person one thing and you keep going around the room to see to see how it ends.
Thoughts: The program was not highly attended but we had a lot of fun. The teens that came were excited and did all the games and they wanted to try this again. I would have had two more back up games if I were planning to do this again.
Links on improv
Filed under: Teen Programming
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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