Improv Level 1

What is Improvisation (improv)?
Improv means actively listening and reacting without pre-planning. It encourages us to be adaptable. We do this throughout the day – E.G. Forced to make a decision without all of the facts, being put on the spot, negotiating a deal, brainstorming meetings, the list goes on. By using the core principles of improvisation; collaboration, communication, creativity and fun – we can react more flexibly and spontaneously while at the same time build our confidence. In the current economic environment, individuals are expected to be highly adaptable and rise to many unseen challenges.
Learning Outcomes
Proficiency in the fundamentals of improvisation
The ability to demonstrate coherent off the cuff communication
Express authentic unplanned emotion and empathy through dialogue and physicality
Ability to demonstrate status and confidence both in and out of character
The ability to define teamwork and demonstrate effective teamwork in a group setting.
Topics Covered
• Fundaments of improv
• Teamwork and team building
• Connecting with emotion
• Status and Influence
• Character development & storytelling
• Narrative structure

Improv Level 2 - Scene + Structure

Learning Outcomes
Now that we have established a foundation with our improv, its time to dive deeper and work toward creating an ensemble piece with rich and engaging scenes. We do this while studying a selection of improv formats.

• Understand and identify “Position Play” for more engaging scenes (The 4 scene types)
• Creating strong “Hive Mind” for more great connection on stage
• Ability to perform in grounded, real scenes for dramatic work
• Develop deeper characters that can be used for longer scenes and shows
• Understand and perform a number of improv formats and structures
Topics Covered
• Position Play
• Hive Mind
• Drama and intimacy in improv
• Point of View / Emotional Point of View
• Improv formats and structures

Optional Class Showcase on completion of the course.
Entry Requirements
Participants must have completed Level 1 training or equivalent training elsewhere. Classes run over 6 evenings unless otherwise specified.

Improv Level 3 - The Art of Truth & Authenticity in Improv

Learning Outcomes
The race to find the funny in improv can often leave us exhausted and up in our heads. With grounded improv, we strive to find authenticity between characters and relationships. We learn how to slow things down. As improvisers, we become more honest. Characters become deeper and more meaningful. Relationships become more realistic and true to life. The narrative comes from the connection between the characters rather than created by the actors. All characters and scenes are grounded in reality and there are less space monkeys in the closet!

In this course we learn to let go. We ditch the suggestions from the audience, we ditch conflict, we ditch the “who, what where and when”. Instead we try to discover who our characters are and why they are in this scene.

- Perform organic scenes and characters through listening and reading our stage partners
- Build more realistic characters
- Display and utilise physical space to influence character and scene
Entry Requirements
Participants must have completed Level 2 training or equivalent training elsewhere.

Improv Level 4 - Finding Your Edge

Learning Outcomes
This programme aimed at more experienced and regular performers, we dive into the often underestimated area of format development and troupe management. Using the format “The Phoenix” as a template, this course will challenge experienced improvisers to perform at an optimal level no matter the setting.

• Deeper, more connected scene work
• Create meaningful formats with longevity
• Troubleshoot habits in improv, both your own and that of your teammates
• To be able to truly perform organically
• Develop true stage intimacy
Topics Covered
• Format Creation and Evolution
• Exploiting the strengths and weaknesses of a troupe
• 1to1 individual feedback focusing on areas for development
• Advanced organic improv

Participants will receive constructive criticism through coaching to aid learning and development on the course.
Entry Requirements
Participants must have completed Level 3 training or equivalent training elsewhere and preferably be performing in a troupe regularly. Classes run over 6 evenings unless otherwise specified.

Creative solutions for leaders + teams

  • Team Building & Effective Teams (including Hybrid & Virtual Teams)

  • Authentic Speaking & Presenting

  • Executive Presence

  • Conscious Communication & Influencing

  • Creativity & Innovation

  • Storytelling In Business

  • Dealing with Change

  • Improvisation in Business (Applied Improvisation)

    For more details on Team Building workshops and events, please click here.

    For more information about Executive Coaching with Neil, please click here.

    For more information please contact Neil on +353 86 6018344 or via email neil[at]lowerthetone.com

    what our clients think

    Working with industry leaders and their teams

    • Sile Seoige
      I’ve had such a brilliant time taking part in Neil’s course and I’d highly recommend it.
      Sile Seoige
      TV Presenter
    • Will Luera
      Improvisation is about confidence, trust, support and taking risks…all while being funny. Now imagine doing that with a total stranger. I’ve been improvising for 20 years and rarely have I seen a show that was as satisfying for me as both an improviser and as an audience member as Neil+1. I found the entire show to be engaging and hilarious but what was really spectacular is how Neil Curran made a non-improviser off the street, the star. The way he was able to support everything she said and at the same time keep the show funny and interesting was pure mastery. For a truly unique experience, I highly recommend this show.
      Will Luera
      ImprovBoston, Artistic Director Emertius
    • Dave Madden
      A member of the audience was invited up on stage to take part in an improvised story. This sounds like a high-risk concept and perhaps it could go wrong on the night, but Neil and his guest were superb. As well as enjoying this section of the show in its own right, I’m also delighted to see a theatre company successfully give a member of the audience the chance to really interact instead of merely being acted upon. I’m a fan of immersive theatre but at times its scripting can create an unpleasant sense of powerlessness. Improv – at least in this format – takes the final step and gives an equality to the audience member. And the uncertainty of it all, the possibility of failure, adds to the drama.
      Dave Madden
      DublinCulture.ie
    • Nathan O’Reilly
      Really recommend seeing @ImprovNeil. His show #NeilPlusOne is hilarious!
      Nathan O’Reilly
      Spin1038FM
    • Dave Bourn
      Funny, engaging, and mind-blowingly skilful. Neil Curran creates a wonderful improvised story and brings an audience member along for the ride. One of the highlights of this years’ festival
      Dave Bourn
      ImproFestUK / Sprout Ideas
    • I Am Bham News
      “One of Ireland’s best improvisers”
    • Daniella Moyles
      “Such skill, hilarious! 5 stars!”
      Daniella Moyles
      Spin1038FM
    • Christine L
      Neil created a really safe, fun and supportive environment and he is fantastic teacher. Improv was always something that I loved watching and admired the performers hugely but never would have had the confidence to do myself until now. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and can’t wait to do more!
      Christine L
      Student
    • Aife B
      It gave us the opportunity to think outside our usual habits, and in particular I learned to take my head out of my smart phone and laptop and give people the attention they deserve. This small point alone helps me communicate, and ultimately do my job, better. I thought Neil’s instruction was particularly good and he mediated the group in a masterful way, guiding us through exercises and putting everyone at ease while out of their comfort zones. We would highly recommend this workshop!
      Aife B
      Student
    • Cathal O’D.
      To say that I enjoyed the Neil’s improv course is an understatement. During of the course the group really bonded and week on week we could see the improvement in each other communication and improvisation skills and that was very much due to Neil’s tuition. I learned loads and thoroughly enjoyed it. Neil really knows his improv!
      Cathal O’D.
      Student and co founder of “A Pile Of Rocks” Improv troupe
    • Pearl O’Rourke
      Neil’s improv course was fantastically organised and focused on a different theme each week. This made the whole process really satisfying as we could see the group growing and improving together. I was SO nervous before the first class as I had just recently seen my first improv show and been blown away! However, I’m now a total improv addict. It’s one of the most freeing, meditative and fun things you can do.. so DO IT!”
      Pearl O’Rourke
      ‘Tumbleweed’/”Histrionic” Improv Troupe
    • Louise McHugh
      Neil’s Level 1 and 2 improv exceeded my expectations. He has an inspirational teaching style that gave me the freedom to express myself and try out new experiences in a safe environment. The techniques and exercises were really well paced and Neil has a unique ability to bring everyone along at their own pace. From someone who didn’t even want to get up and do a single scene on day one- trust me, once Neil gets you to the end of Level 2 you will be dying to do your own live show!
      Louise McHugh
      Lecturer, UCD
    • Amanda Whitehead
      I had many reasons for wanting to do Neil’s improv course. What I got from the course was a whole lot more. Neil not only taught me about improv, he also taught me about having self confidence and about living in the moment. The most important thing I learned from Neil’s improv class is freedom, simply just freedom. Doing improv is an amazing experience and Neil is an excellent tutor who mentors his students every step of the way. It will be the best thing you ever do so go do it!
      Amanda Whitehead
      TheComedyScoop.com / Krank.ie
    • Lisa Walsh
      A class like no other. Honestly, I can’t thank you enough for creating such a warm safe learning space, caring for our sensitive brains and hearts whilst exposing us to such exciting and delightful play. I’ve been in lots of learning environments over the years but never one led with such a grounded emotionally safe, clarity and compassion-filled tone and so I thank you thousands for establishing just that, filling it with magic moments of made-up-ness
      Lisa Walsh
      Improv Level 1 & 2 Participant
    • Lisa Walsh
      A class like no other. Honestly, I can’t thank you enough for creating such a warm safe learning space, caring for our sensitive brains and hearts whilst exposing us to such exciting and delightful play. I’ve been in lots of learning environments over the years but never one led with such a grounded emotionally safe, clarity and compassion-filled tone and so I thank you thousands for establishing just that, filling it with magic moments of made-up-ness
      Lisa Walsh
      Improv Level 1 & 2 Participant
    • Anna Shelswell-White
      I highly recommend Neil’s course to anyone with a fear of public speaking or if they suffer from social anxiety. Aside from learning some really valuable skills, feeling brilliant and overcoming my own fears, I met some of the best people and have made some life-long friends. Improv is so liberating! I’m so glad I did it.
      Anna Shelswell-White
      Editor, House & Home Magazine
    • Dr. Sim Lew-Gor
      Improv with Neil surpassed my expectations in many ways. The classes delivered were far more enjoyable and fun than I could have imagined. That was in part due to the nature of improv but in much larger part due to Neil’s skills in teaching, understanding, perception and communication. I was imagining a tuition on how to “do” whose line is it anyway type of scenarios but was surprised to be exploring the barriers that we have constructed as adults. And then I was given the encouragement and space to tear these barriers down and relearn vital skills we had as children. Subsequently life is now viewed through a different prism with a clarity that has more colours and depth of perception than ever before.
      Dr. Sim Lew-Gor
      Consultant, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin
    • Sile Seoige
      I have to be honest, the first time I met Neil, I was scared. Scared because I didn’t really know what improv was about and I had no idea if I could do it or not! But in the space of an hour learning the basics, I went from reserved to liberated, I was hooked! I discovered straight away that improv is for anyone and everyone and that there are no mistakes only opportunities! All you have to do is let go, listen to your fellow improvisors and simply let the magic happen. I’ve had such a brilliant time taking part in Neil’s course and I’d highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn a bit more about themselves and anyone who wants to feel like a kid again and just play!
      Sile Seoige
      TV Presenter
    • Leslie Maliepaard
      I had the great pleasure of working with Neil when I had to prepare for a talk and on-camera work. Neil is a genuine Improv expert in his field of presentation coaching for executives and corporates. He is down-to-earth, pleasantly disarming, understanding of different personalities and goal driven whilst being respectful of the culture and context of the client. He offers confidential, constructive critique to help develop his clients into great speakers and communicators. I recommend him most highly.
      Leslie Maliepaard
      Venture Partner, Fortrino / Senator for Ireland 
Board Member of the Global Woman Leaders Committee World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF)
    • Declan Dowling
      Neil’s workshop gave the team a heightened on screen/public presence as requested and took some of the more cagey members out of their shells, he himself gave 110% and we would definitely be booking him in again!
      Declan Dowling
      Gala Networks Europe
    • Lead Manager in People Services
      I had researched a number of Teambuilding training providers but what Neil pitched to us was exactly what our business was looking for. The feedback we received from the team after the training day was exceptional. The team were highly engaged, pariticipative and comfortable with each other. The team still talks about him today which demonstrated the high level of impact his session had. We cant wait to have him back again
      Lead Manager in People Services
      O2/Telefonica Ireland
    • Aoife Brennan
      Members of the PopCap International management and business teams participated in a Business Improv Workshop, hosted by Neil Curran. The workshop was very relaxed, informal, well-structured and really a lot of fun. Neil is a natural presenter and moderator and he immediately put everyone at ease. We really enjoyed the workshop and got a lot more out of it than expected. We hope to have Neil come back to run this course again for our other managers and team members.
      Aoife Brennan
      Popcap Games International Ltd
    • Anna Shelswell-White
      I highly recommend Neil’s course to anyone with a fear of public speaking or if they suffer from social anxiety. Aside from learning some really valuable skills, feeling brilliant and overcoming my own fears, I met some of the best people and have made some life-long friends. Improv is so liberating! I’m so glad I did it
      Anna Shelswell-White
      Editor, House & Home Magazine
    •  Jackie Hughes

      Improv with Neil proved to be an excellent tool for achieving our goals. Results were fantastic – in our post event survey, this Improv Training earned one of the highest scores of the entire week’s sessions and was without a doubt, one of the best team building sessions we’ve had so far, with excellent feedback across the board (from Senior Director and Manager levels, right through to our newest team members).

      Jackie Hughes
      Head of EMEA Customer Marketing, Google
    •  Naoimh O’Connor

      Neil has delivered a series of interpersonal skills training sessions using improv as a tool for different groups of staff in the University and the feedback has been excellent. He is incredibly passionate about what he does, instantly creates trust in a group and excels at bringing out the best in people in a safe, thoroughly enjoyable environment. His primary strength is that he approaches each group with a fresh energy and takes people seriously while still enjoying himself.

      Naoimh O’Connor
      Research Careers Manager, UCD
    • Dr. Sim Lew-Gor, Consultant

      Improv with Neil surpassed my expectations in many ways. The classes delivered were far more enjoyable and fun than I could have imagined. That was in part due to the nature of improv but in much larger part due to Neil’s skills in teaching, understanding, perception and communication. I was imagining a tuition on how to “do” whose line is it anyway type of scenarios but was surprised to be exploring the barriers that we have constructed as adults. And then I was given the encouragement and space to tear these barriers down and relearn vital skills we had as children. Subsequently life is now viewed through a different prism with a clarity that has more colours and depth of perception than ever before.

      Dr. Sim Lew-Gor, Consultant
      Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin
    • Bozena Smialkowska

      Renowned as they are for their imaginative approach to pretty much anything, Googlers are hard to surprise. Yet Neil’s ‘Emotion Machine’ routine did just that. During our latest team event Neil had us jumping, singing, dancing and, most of all, laughing out loud; all while maintaining friendly atmosphere that helped to build real team spirit.

      Bozena Smialkowska
      Online Media Associate Manager, Google Ireland

    Frequently asked questions

    1Why choose Neil for your corporate solutions?
    Neil is a veteran improviser with over 10 years of improv experience and 20 years of corporate management experience in the multinational sector, including senior management level. Neil has taught improv to a number of organisations around the world. His signature show, Neil+1, has been performed to much acclaim around the world. Neil holds a Masters in Training & Education as well as being a qualified Executive Coach.
    2How Does Improvisation Help with Teambuilding & Team Dynamics in the Workplace?
    Improvisation helps individuals to respect other team member’s creativity and ideas. It allows them to cohesively and constructively work in collaboration as part of a team. Participants quickly realise that collaboration is key to success. It’s new, exciting and really pushes people out of their comfort zone, with the results of engagement and productivity taken to a higher level. Improvisation helps people understand the dynamics of human interaction and fosters self-awareness. Improvisation also gives us the opportunity to get out of our heads and get in the moment. None of the exercises involve competition. Participants quickly realise that they are all in the same boat regardless of title, position in company or length of service. Not only is that the path of least resistance to collaborate with peers but a new understanding of trust in the workplace emerges. For more info on why Improv and Team Dynamics work so well, check out this article here.
    3Who is Neil?
    About Neil Neil Curran specialises in the areas of Team Building & Collaboration, Effective Team Development, People Management, Public Speaking & Presenting, Executive Presence, Effective Communication & Influencing, Creativity & Innovation, Spontaneity, Confidence Coaching, Leadership, Adaptability & Dealing with Change and Improvisation Skills in Business. Neil has 20 years of management and corporate experience in an international context. He has led teams global teams for 18 years having held a senior leadership position in the Irish subsidiary of a multinational organisation.  Neil is associate faculty for the Irish Management Institute and is also a team member of The Core Story Ltd, providing story and strategy consulting and training to clients across the globe. Neil is a Professional Improviser and stage performer, which brings a unique energy and practical approach to his work. Neil has performed his signature improv show, Neil+1, to audiences around the world.  He is also the Founder and Director of Improv Fest Ireland and Assistant Director of Improv Utopia Ireland. Neil has a Masters in Training & Education with his Masters Dissertation focusing on Improvisation as a Training Method to Develop Effective Teams in the Workplace with a Focus on Promoting Confidence, Interpersonal Skills and Relationship Building. He is also a qualified Executive Coach with EQi Certification and an experienced MC and Speaker. Neil has regularly appeared on national TV and in numerous national newspapers over the years providing thought leadership in his field including; Newstalk, Irish Times, RTÉ and TV3 (now Virgin Media One).
    4What is Improvisation (Improv)?
    Improv means actively listening and reacting without pre-planning. It encourages us to be adaptable. We do this throughout the day – E.G. Forced to make a decision without all of the facts, being put on the spot, negotiating a deal, the list goes on. By using the core principles of improvisation – collaboration, communication, creativity and fun – we can react more flexibly and spontaneously while at the same time build our confidence. In the current economic environment, individuals are expected to be highly adaptable and rise to many unseen challenges.