Improv is the Future of Theatre: panel discussion. Our report!

On Saturday February 17th, Bright Invention Artistic Director Benjamin Lloyd joined an illustrious panel of Philadelphia improvisers and theater artists at Phildelphia theatre Company, to discuss Philadelphia's improv scene, and reflect on the role improv has to play in the future of the performing arts in America. The Panel included Bobbi Block, Artistic Director of Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theatre; Scott Greer, Philadelphia actor; Dave Jadico, Artistic Director of Comedy Sportz; Tara Demmy, teacher at PHIT; and Nick Gillette Artistic Director of Almanac Theater. The panel was moderated by noted Philadelphia theatre critic Mark Cofta. About 50 people were in the audience. Bright Invention, Tongue & Groove and Philadelphia Theatre Company co-hosted the event, which was part of Philly Theatre Week. 

Over the course of an hour, the panel discussed such themes as the differences between scripted and unscripted theater, the experience of the audience at an improv shows, differences between kinds of improv, how improv is used in other theatrical forms (like devised theater), and the effect improv has on performers, audience and students. 

During the Q&A several audience members asked about techniques used by improvisers, and about the future viability of both scripted and unscripted theater in America, from an economic point of view. One woman came from New York state for the panel - and spoke movingly about the transformative effect improv has on her teenaged students. Another young person spoke about the way improv forces actors to abandon the narcissism sometimes ingrained in young actors. 

Watch out for more events in the future bringing Philly's awesome improv community together! 

You can view a video of the panel here:

And here's a slide show: