Improvisation games and exercises

What Are You Doing?

  • Group gets in a line at the edge of the playing space.  The first person enters the space and begins to pantomime a simple activity–for example, brushing his teeth.
  • The second person runs on and says, “What are you doing?”
  • The first person may answer anything EXCEPT what he is actually doing.  In our example he might say, “I’m washing the car.”
  • The moment the second person hears the answer, she must begin to pantomime the mentioned activity.
  • The first person goes to the end of the line and the third person runs on and says, “What are you doing”?
  • The person acting MUST NOT STOP until he or she has answered the question.  Side coach to make sure.
  • The new person MUST START IMMEDIATELY when the answer is heard.
  • The answer MUST NOT be what the person is doing, but, for convenience, it should also NOT be something that LOOKS LIKE what the person is actually doing.


Person in centre of room. Everyone brings him/her a present in turn. Try by the way you hold it, pick it up or carry it to show what it might be.

The receiver will say ‘Thank you for the????? “ – whatever she/he thinks it is.

You can then swap over.


This game combines improvisation with careful observation, and so makes a great rehearsal tool for serious improv performers who need to be able to see and imitate easily.  Plus it’s lots of fun.

Set up four chairs to resemble the front and back seats of a car.

The first three people get in the car, leaving the rear passenger-side seat empty.

The three people in the car invent a scenario to explain their traveling together, and mime driving along, improvising a conversation, etc.

The next person in line enters the scene as a hitchhiker.  The hitchhiker must have a fairly clearly defined character.

The people in the car must stop to pick up the hitchhiker, but they improvise how politely they do it, etc., based on their characters.

Once the hitchhiker is in the car and a four-way conversation begun, everyone in the car begins to pick up the hitchhiker’s personality and mannerisms.  (For instance, if the hitchhiker is paranoid, soon everyone is paranoid.  If the hitchhiker is drunk, soon everyone is drunk.  If the hitchhiker is excessively cheerful, soon everyone is, etc.)

Once everyone has fully taken on the new personality, the driver leaves the scene and everyone moves over one seat, so that the front passenger becomes the driver, the driver’s-side rear passenger becomes the front passenger, etc.

Repeat with a new hitchhiker, who has a different personality.  (Until they have picked up the new person, the three in the car continue to play the first hitchhiker’s personality.)

If you feel the game has gone on long enough, just enter the scene yourself as a hitchhiker who is blind, or a small child, or something else guaranteed to cause a fatal accident once the driver catches it.


In groups create an advert for a product you like – either real or imaginary. Try to use some of the techniques we have learned i.e.,:

  • Voice projection
  • Status
  • Group poses
  • Teamwork

Don’t forget the purpose of the advert is to make people want to buy the product. Adverts should be no longer than 30-60 seconds and should:

  • Demonstrate/illustrate the problem
  • Identify the solution, brand and selling points
  • Have a call to action e.g., where can you get it/find out more?

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