For the audience member, improv is a night of fun. A night of freedom. A night of laughter with friends. But for the improviser, the art form packs far more than a punchline.
In addition to a joyful creative outlet, improvisers find that practicing the art form comes with real-life added benefits, like improved cognition, better listening skills, increased adaptability, decreased social anxiety, and heightened confidence in the face of uncertainty, just to list a few.
In short, it makes them, well, just better.
Meet Jerry Dakin, owner of Manatee County’s Dakin Dairy Farms, who was recently awarded the Florida Farm Bureau’s 2022 Farmer of the Year Award. Though he is a successful business owner and an award-winning farmer, he’s always been on the shy side.
Think shy farmers can’t improvise? Think again.
“After just an hour of class at the FST School, Improv 101 helped me with my communication skills,” said Dakin. “It helped a lot with my social anxiety too. Now I can get up in front of people, confidently, and have them laugh with me. It’s been an important step in my life.”
Like Jerry, Linda H. was looking for a way to grow as a person.
“I tend to overthink things and have trouble staying present,” said Linda H. “After taking a couple Improv classes, I noticed that my mind wasn’t constantly wandering like it used to.”
When you think about the skills an improviser needs to draw from, it’s no wonder improvisers report having improved abilities like better memory, calmness under pressure, and more.
“Improv is ALL about uncertainty—that’s simply the nature of the art form,” laughed Director of Improvisation, Will Luera. “Time and time again I watch my students go from timid and unsure when given an open-ended prompt to confident and adaptable in the face of the unknown.”
And that’s not all. According to Luera, improv students also take more risks during class, and overall feel more comfortable being on stage and partnering with others.
“They always walk out of class more confident than they were when they entered,” said Luera. “Over years of practice, they discover a more aware and adaptable version of themselves. It’s beautiful to see.”
So whether you’re considering stretching your own improvisational muscles with a beginner class, or you’d rather sit back and laugh at one of FST Improv’s upcoming weekly performances, there are ample opportunities to get into the art form this season at FST.
FST Improv performs every Saturday night at 7:30PM in the Bowne’s Lab. For tickets and more information, click here.