Category Archives: Podcast

Jim Ansaldo – Teaching improvisation to teenagers with autism

Applied improvisation is where we use improv as a tool to teach and learn. The Bring a Brick podcast interviews professionals from all over the world who use applied improvisation in their work to discover how they use the ‘how’ of improvisation.  I take the role of curious student, to learn how people teach and benefit from the unique values of applying improv.  Teaching improvisation.

Teaching improvisation to teenagers with autismJim Ansaldo is a Research Scholar at Indiana University Bloomington, a member of Comedysportz Indianapolis and an instructor at Camp Yes And, which teaches improv Teenager on the Autism Spectrum.

“Improv gives us a means for everyone to bring their life experience to the table”

I had the chance to catch up with Jim earlier this year in San Jose, California. We talked about his approach to teaching, and his work bringing improvisation to with children and teenagers with autism, and how it can be used to highlight and aid communication and interaction. We also touched on the broader aspects of improvisation as a tool in therapy, Jill Bernard mindfullness in improv workshop that we both attended and the legacy of Keith Johnstone.

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Bullet Points

  • Creating a safe space for improvisation without the pressures of ‘performing’.
  • Working with educators at Camp Yes And.
  • Improv Camps and Classes for Teens on the Autism Spectrum and Educators
  • Using improv to facilitate discussion on how to improve teaching methods and generate new ideas.
  • The core values of CSZ worldwide – Collaboration, Inspiration, Values, fun.
  • Musical improvisation – The Yes And band.

Links

The host John Cooper is a professional stand-up comedian, improviser, tutor & illustrator based in Manchester, UK.

Click here to listen to previous podcast interviews  with other experts who use improvisation. 

 

Series 2 Summary | Question and create

In this episode I recap what I’ve called  ‘series 2’. The last eight interviews with some great people who use applied improvisation (improv, impro…that particular way of thinking and responding, and using mental agility). Beginning with Paul Z. Jackson and culminating  with Pam Victor. There’s a wealth of information to be had, on a load of different topics, and I thank all the wonderful guests who gave their time.

Bring a Brick series 3 will be coming soon,  after a short spring break.

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  • Paul Z. Jackson is one of the founders of Applied Improvisation Network, we talked about his work and digressed on the topic of improvisation on television.
  • Mary T. Curtis works in behavioural health, coaching people with issues such as stress and anxiety and the YES AND, accepting and building in therapy.
  • Neil Mullarkey didn’t need any introduction. We chatted about the business of improv,  story structure, character comedy and how to bring improv into a training session by giving examples. Loads in this one.
  • Adam St John Lawrence is a Customer experience consultant, who uses improv to generate ideas, break them and get better questions. Loads of great content here about understanding the world you’re selling to.
  • Dan Starkey is an actor appearing in television series such as Doctor Who, and insode No.9. We chat about how a foundation of improv can help an actor approach a role.
  • Cathy Salit is CEO of Performance of a Lifetime. Among the many thinks we talk about, Cathy explains her view on ‘performative psychology’ and how everything we do – our life –  can be seen as a performance.
  • Paul Goddard is a coach in agile development and certified Scrum trainer. We touch on the geographical differences in recognition of improv in the US and UK and how improvisation can be applied to agile development
  • Finally I interviewed Pam Victor on her ‘Zen of Improv’. Her mission it is to make the world a happier place through improv.

Links to All episodes

Bullet points:

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Pam Victor | The Zen of Improv

Pam is the founder of Happier Valley Comedy whose mission it is to make the world a happier place through improv. She’s co-author of “Improvisation at the Speed of Life“, with Chicago’s TJ & Dave and uses improv to teach personal and professional growth.

She has her own podcast, Conversations with Funny Feminists. We chat about honesty and authenticity in improv, facts versus belief and using improv for personal development to overcome fears and increase learning opportunities.

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Bullet Points

  • The Zen of Improv
  • TJ and Dave.
  • Honesty and authenticity
  • Improv for personal growth
  • “I suck”. The evil mind meanie – The voice of unhelpful judgement.
  • Beliefs vs Facts
  • Susan Messing
  • Annoyance Theatre
  • IO
  • “You can’t be brave and not be scared”
  • Big Booty, cheering when someone fails, redefining failure as learning.
  • ‘Can I make a living doing what I love’
  • Conversations with funny feminist’s – ‘Bitches get stuff done’.

Links:
Happier Valley Comedy | Pam Victor on Linkedin

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