Our Winter 2020 session starts January 21st and runs until April 7th. No experience necessary!
Just a desire to laugh and have fun with our merry band!
Come join us any Tuesday for fun and health! You'll be glad you did!
John has been leading Improv4life workshops in Flagstaff for 4 years since he retired as a San Francisco public high school drama teacher. He spent 30 years teaching drama classes and directing, designing and producing plays & musicals. Over the years he took classes and performed with BATS - Bay Area Theater Sports - in San Francisco.
Join our merry band!
Tuesdays in October, November and December 1:30 - 3:00 PM at
Flagstaff Senior Meadows
1351 N Pine Cliff Dr. Flagstaff
Helps lessen loneliness and brightens your mood!
* Reframe your life
* Think outside the box
* Adapt easily
* Think fast on your feet
* Increase GNH (Gross National Happiness)
* Help you live in the moment and not hold on to past hurts
* Stretch beyond your comfort zone
* Adds an entirely better and lighter perspective to your life
* Clinical benefits: lower blood pressure, lower heart rate
* Increase your immune system
* Increase your brain health
* Sleep better
* Heal faster
* Increase your cognitive skills
* Lower depression
* Increase energy
* Fun and easy therapy!
* Learn to see the humor in each day.
* Learn to listen between the lines.
* Look and seek out new situations.
* Stretch beyond your comfort zone.
* Every day have one or two "improv moments."
* Laugh more!
* Enjoy better health in mind, body and spirit.
"Laughter is exercise from the inside out.”
“We do not quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes
Improvisation is an enjoyable and safe environment for an individual to experience self-growth. Through interactive activities and exercises, an individual gets the chance to experience growth on a physical, emotional and physical level. Personal growth not only results in a person becoming an expert improviser, but it also provides the opportunity to transfer this knowledge to other parts of their lives.
1. Improves confidence
The activities performed during improvisation function like a mirror that allows the participants to notice their emotions, capabilities and behaviors. It is only through this way that such people can attain what every spiritual teacher and philosopher has stated all through history, which is to better understand themselves. Once you know how much potential you really have, then your confidence will likely increase. Improvisation also helps to identify the various areas in which a person needs extra assistance so as to achieve their personal goals.
2. Social benefits
Improvisation activities usually demand that people interact with their colleagues so as to attain one common objective. The objective, which can be narrating an interesting story, cannot be achieved if the participants do not harmoniously work together. To achieve this goal, participants develop the understanding and skills of the important tools that are needed for efficient teamwork. Improvisation helps to bring people together and gives the chance to work to attain a goal they could have never reached by themselves.
3. Promotes communication skills
Improvisation provides important communication skills, which has a huge effect on everyday life. Communication is a crucial part of life, since everything you do and say shows something small about you. Hence, improvisation exercises that focus on narratives and various methods of narrating stories assists people to realize the key elements that form an excellent story.
Finally, regularly practicing improvisation will provide you the ability of expressing yourself more effectively.
The latest way for seniors to stay sharp: Improv
By Paul Jablow, For The Inquirer
Posted: July 02, 2015
It definitely wasn’t something Jeanne Buerkel would have tried in the corporate world, even having reached an age when you can say almost anything and get away with it.
"Are you chewing gum?" Buerkel, 89, asked the woman about to exit the SEPTA bus with her. She waited a split second for the shocked stare, and then: "Me, too!"
The woman exploded in laughter.
For Buerkel, a retired business developer for architects, it had nothing to do with chewing gum and everything to do with an improv routine she wanted to try out in the real world.
"Me, Too" is an improv standard, and attendance at classes shows that so, too, are seniors. As older people discover that improvisation can help them stay sharp, local demand is growing for the groups that offer socialization, as well as mental - and sometimes physical - exercise.
There are improv classes at Temple University's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), and Philly Improv Theater is planning to add a new class just for seniors. At ComedySportz Philadelphia, 70-somethings take classes with millennials.
At OLLI, where Buerkel attends, instructor Jean Haskell, a retired organizational-development consultant, is 83.
"It's recess for adults," said Kristin Finger, education director at ComedySportz Philadelphia. "In improv, you can be 70 years old and act like a 7-year-old on the swing set. We all need that.”
Michael C. Patterson, a principal of Mindramp Consulting, which designs cognitive-wellness strategies, hasn't seen scientific studies on improv, but he believes the exercise includes elements that have been proven beneficial.
Patterson, who is based in Los Angeles, cites work by Charles Limb of Johns Hopkins University indicating that musicians use different parts of the brain when reading from a score and when improvising.
"It is important to 'cross-train' the brain," Patterson, who once ran the AARP's brain health program, wrote in an e-mail, "engaging a broad range of cognitive functions.
"When we simply do the same type of activity we have always done, we reinforce existing habits and their existing neural correlates. We need to switch things around and try novel activities in order to stimulate parts of the brain that don't usually get stimulated."
In Chicago, a husband (actor) and wife (psychologist) are working with a University of Illinois neuroscientist to see whether theater improvisation can cause structural changes in the brain detectable through MRIs.
Dolores Davis, 72, an executive coach and organizational development consultant, attends the Open Circle improv group in West Philadelphia and says she doesn't need science to prove its benefits.
"It keeps me in a learning mode," she said, "and it helps me approach things with an open mind."
As actress Sue Zipin gets older, she finds it harder to memorize parts, but finds that improv "makes you think on your feet. It keeps you sharper," said the 77-year-old, who attends Open Circle, too. "You're not in a vacuum with your thoughts."
Walnut Street Theatre's education director, Tom Quinn, said senior students have ranged from retired actresses wanting to "come back to their first passion" to a 70ish widower just looking for something to get himself out of the house.
"That social outlet was enormously important to him," Quinn said. "It took great courage for him."
And when classes end, he said, "it's great to see them walking out and making plans to do something else."
Although many seniors attend intergenerational classes, Philly Improv has found that some prefer to be with people closer to their own age. "A lot of comedy, especially improv, is about references to other cultures, slang, etc.," said executive director Greg Maughan, "and for older students, that can sometimes make their jokes fall flat because young students don't get the reference" and vice versa.
For the seniors who live in retirement communities, improv plays a different role, said Robb Hutter, who heads Philly Senior Stage. Hutter's group generally works with dramatic set pieces, but incorporates elements of improv.
"There's more peer pressure in a retirement community," he said. "They're very polite with each other. That's why drama is so beneficial to them. They can let their hair down."
Kaufman, who owns a driving school as his day job, described Open Circle as "a tight-knit group of people who love improv." Some have been working together for years, but others simply drop in after reading the notices he posts on Craigslist.
"We love the challenge of speaking extemporaneously, dealing with the unknown, being in the moment, being challenged," Kaufman said. "It's all life lessons, learning to listen and respond."
That necessary quick thinking comes from one of the cardinal rules of improv: accepting the offer. "With another improviser, you accept whatever they throw at you and go with it," Patterson said.
This is often referred to as using "yes, and" rather than "yes, but."
Davis, who describes herself as "more of an introvert," said she has incorporated some improv elements into her group presentations.
"It helps me be spontaneous.”
Past Students Testify
John Propster's Improv class for seniors is an absolute blast! It is a gathering that you will look forward to as a highlight of your week. :D
Through John's gentle guidance and positive inspiration, you will expand your creativity, build self-confidence, exercise your memory skills, become less inhibited, and make wonderful, new friends! This class will lift your spirits and provide hours of laughter; and, after all, isn't laughter the best medicine?! Join his class and don't miss out on the fun! Linda A.
I love the improv class. I miss the days off from it. John has a great sense of humor, he encourages all of us in what scene we create by ourselves or with others. Sometimes we wiggle and get our exercise of the day. For me it's the first exercise of many days. But I have fun, fun, fun. No criticism from anyone. I'm learning about myself, my undiscovered talents grow when I least expect them to appear. Join us and have fun. Laugh and enjoy the companionship of others. Mary
There is nothing better than to be able to laugh at yourself and with others. Improv4Life provides seniors with a place to make friends and think out of the box. Become part of John's master plan to bring joy, laughter, friendship and quick thinking to seniors. Take the time to do something you might not experience if there was a fee involved. Our instructor John donates his time and experience to us. His favorite words are,"There are no mistakes." Take a chance get out of the house and come join us. Whether you are outgoing or shy you will be welcomed.
Please join us. You get to play different characters. It tests your brain at times, but it is all fun. We have become a family and we laugh and enjoy the progress. It is something I look forward to every week. Come and see for yourself. Have no fears or worries. It is a very relaxed environment. Have fun!
No need to feel intimidated—John makes everyone feel welcomed and is endlessly patient. Improv is so much fun—I’ve taken classes in the past and still learned new games to play! Susan J
Would you like to book a session of our workshop for your business or community group? Send us a message for that or other requests. We will get back to you soon!