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Student Blog: Improv is Dope - How I Stepped on Stage

It all started..

About six months ago, I signed up for LMA on a whim – I had no idea what I was getting myself in for, I joined up on some vague advice about how it would improve my conversation and social skills. Since then Improv has become a major hobby and passion and I can’t stop doing it every chance I get.

Over the course of two terms I’ve learned lots of things, all of which are very applicable to life in general, and not just on the improv stage:

  • Really listening to what your scene partner tells you, accepting it, and responding with a genuine reaction.
  • Accepting what you’re told. Note that accepting does not imply agreement – you can accept what is said without agreeing with it. And doing this in everyday life makes you a much more agreeable and pleasant person.
  • Giving yourself permission to fail – If you give yourself permission to fail you’ll have a much easier time and, ironically, probably won’t fail.
  • The first idea you get is almost always a good idea. Overthinking is both stressful and also leads to fake-looking and boring interactions.

In short, at the end of the term you learn to trust yourself, trust your scene partners, and enjoy the experience. Which if you think about it, is not just useful for improv – it is also a great attitude to have in all aspects of your life.

Failing is OK

Improv is one of the few places in life where failure is not only tolerated, it is also welcomed and actually celebrated. Once you’ve failed a few times you realise that failure isn’t so bad – it can be lots of fun even. You’ll realise that perhaps the worst thing you can do is stand on the sidelines of the stage out of fear of failure, and that getting out there and giving it your best is always appreciated – much, much more so than playing it safe and staying on the sidelines. This was one of the biggest lessons I learned in improv and like most things you learn in improv, is highly relevant to life.

You also meet an amazing group of people doing improv – every single person you meet throughout your improv experience will be one of the most happy, talented, motivated, chilled out people you’ll ever see!

That’s me with my team!

When I first met the members of my improv team we were complete strangers. But the more we did improv together the closer we grew until towards the end we were one big happy family. The people you meet doing improv are very welcoming, inclusive and supportive – you always feel you’re a valuable member of the team and you grow to appreciate each and every one of them just as they grow to appreciate you, over the course of the term.

Getting on Stage

I’d had no prior experience in theatre and getting up on the Belvoir St. Theatre stage at the end of the first term was super scary – it was the first time I’d ever been on stage. However, the minute I got up on stage I forgot all my fear and found myself loving every second of it. The audience is very supportive and nice, and I had a really good time.

In closing, if you’re thinking about joining up, do it! You’ll have the time of your life, will leave with great memories, and make friends with some amazing people!

Varun Naik is currently a Level 3 Improv Student at LMA in Sydney
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