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The Improv Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Improvising in Theatre, Comedy, and Beyond Paperback – 1 Jul 2008

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum (1 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826428584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826428585
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 281,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

Cofounders of the London-based improvisational theater company The Spontaneity Shop, Salinsky and Frances-White provide a wonderful addition to the growing literature on theatrical improvisation. The book can serve as both a scholarly resource, since it covers the history of improvisation from its beginnings to the present, and a practical guide, for the beginner and advanced improviser... The authors include interviews with ten leading international improvisers, and they conclude with an appendix that details many of the most common improvisational games used in academic and professional settings. This book is a must for institutions supporting theater and performance programs. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers, all levels. --S.W. Cole, CHOICE, January

About the Author

Tom Salinsky and Deborah Francis - White are the co-founders of The Spontaneity Shop. Together they have performed improvisation for The Royal Court, The RSC Summer Season, The Gilded Balloon at the Edinburgh Festival and at the Bloomsbury Theatre. They have toured the world and performed at many comedy festivals by invitation. They teach at RADA, The Actors Centre, The National Youth Theatre and many other colleges and institutions, as well as their own successful workshop program.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Initially picked this up and browsed in a bookstore. It stuck in my head so I purchased on Amazon a few days later. Really interesting stuff which I've used a lot in my job in sales. Helps with confidence, listening and responding and, frankly, blagging (or story telling as the authors call it.) Still have no desire to try improv though!
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Format: Paperback
This book is wonderfully practical, without omitting the philosophy of Improv that makes it the exciting, living art form that it is. Salinsky and Frances-White have brought the pages of their manual alive with anecdotes from their vast experience that prove the power of narrative and make this book not only informative but entertaining in its own right. The personalities of the writers themselves as well as the practitioners they interview leap out of the pages in glorious 3D. This is not your average "how to" book. The authors have been very generous in sharing their experience. There is not only a section on "How to Improvise" where they have given the reader their own Level One syllabus, but a very useful section on how to make money from this gloriously ephemeral art. They are generously providing the reader, whether a teacher or student of improv, with the werewithal to make a living doing the thing they love. This is a book on Improv written with the spirit of Improv that should go on the shelf alongside the improv classics, Impro, Impro for Storytellers and Truth in Comedy - superb!
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Format: Paperback
An excellent guide to the art of improvised theatre set in an accessible & informative format the text gives tips & techniques on all aspects of performing as well as running workshops.
A very useful tool I have referred to many times for my group.
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Format: Paperback
This is the long-awaited 'how-to' guide by my two colleagues at the Spontaneity Shop - the fruit of long experience teaching, directing and performing.

Fascinating sections on narrative (usually neglected by Impro manuals with the honourable exception of Keith Johnstone) and on diagnosing and curing performer's tendencies and difficulties. This book manages to be practical and readable - especially useful for teachers everywhere.
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Format: Paperback
I used to think improvisation was only about 'whose line is it anyway?' - well it's not and you'll see what it really is and how you can get better at it in this great book. You don't have to be a professional in theatre to benefit from improvisation and this book. The history of improvisation, the techniques and in particular the examples the book contains are very helpful. I use its tips both in performing (as an amateur actor), in managing my team during my day job and in writing plays. Thanks are due to the authors.
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Format: Paperback
Having done the Spon Shop courses and seen their shows, I can concur with the other reviewers that this book makes a compelling case for impro, it works both as a manual and also as an account of the impro movement. The authors' enthusiasm is palpable and they convey their engagement with the subject matter in a convincing and effective way. And it's funny. And practical.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being new to improvisation and not being able to start improv lessons this season, this book is a great way to know a lot more about improv. Between the history of improv, the typical ways of getting into the right state of mind and where improv is leading, I think it is hard to make a better overview in one book.

I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't know what improv is, but also to anyone who does since you probably have a more critical eye to it and can probably gain some actual knowledge and experience. I only saw it as an informative book as I am completely new to either improv of theater for that matter!
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