Guest Blog: Kate Murphy, Backbone Brisbane

Introduce yourself and what you do:
Hi I’m Kate, I work at Backbone Youth Arts as a workshop facilitator. I teach students age 9-13 yrs. We do lots of fun things in class, ranging from performance skills, story building and characterisation. I myself am an improvisation junky… I introduced the art form to the students last year and they LOVE IT!

Where did you first see/experience improv?
I first experienced improv while I was studying drama at high school. However my first experience of fantastic live improv was when I was in New York City watching a performance at the Upright Citizens Brigade. It was a life changing moment for me, I knew that tis art form is what I wanted to explore.
Where/when did you first take a class and far along did you get?
We focused on improv at a more serious level while I was at University. I also took a few beginners classes while I was travelling through New York a few years back. However I am about to take on a scholarship at the Second City in Chicago ( where Improv was born)  in August to develop my skills in improvisation, I can not wait!
Do you also perform – or was it more about developing communication skills? Or another reason?
I would love to perform improv, that’s why I am doing some training overseas! I think improv is important for my acting skills as well, it has made me a freer performer and it also has helped in my every day life. You just have to accept things and roll with it. plus it’s really really fun! 
What surprises you most about teaching improv to children?
I have been using the art form of improvisation with the students at Backbone Youth Arts for some time now. And every time we work on improvisation, I am constantly surprised at the ideas, imagination and the “yes and” mentality that the students have. I started off utilising more basic theatre sport style activities, but as I have worked with them, I keep throwing them more challenging activities and they just dive straight into it with sheer joy. I definitely stop and start a scene if I think the students have chosen a too obvious choice, or someone has “blocked” anther person’s offer. However the important thing is that they understand why I have stopped the scene!
Why do you think children are so good at improv?
I think children are good at improvisation as they often don’t have that filter, or don’t always over think things that often us as adults do. Their imaginations are big enough for them to accept the scene that is playing out and build on it.
You’ve talked about the value of improv training for kids, what do see as the main value of improv training for adults?
I think it’s a great way for adults to say YES and roll with what has been handed to you. It’s a great way to learn to accept offers from your fellow actors and then learning to mould that, or shape it to create something interesting. Pus it’s great for teamwork. It’s all about trying to make your fellow actors look good.
What would you tell someone – young or old – who was thinking about taking an improv class, but was maybe nervous or afraid of not being funny?
Improv is not about being funny. If you attempt to be funny in an improv…chances are you won’t be funny. I would say take the class, give it a go. Everyone who started would have felt the exact same way!
If you’re interested in Improv Classes in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne for your kids, or yourself, check out our upcoming workshops, pre-register, connect on social media (links below) or contact LMA today.