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Wednesday, May 15 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Yes-and versus No Means No: Raising Awareness of Gendered Implications of “Agreement”

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In recent years, a growing number of women in impro/improv have publically protested the sexual harassment and sexism they have long encountered in classes, casting, rehearsal, and performance. Many describe the way the central improv rule of agreement or Yes-and has been (mis)used to manipulate them into scenes that ranged from ridicule to rape. While the notion that one must always “agree” is intended to create a positive environment for cooperation and creativity, the principle of agreement is also susceptible to deliberate exploitation, enabling some players to take advantage of those trained to say “yes” to any demand. Yes-and can be a weapon used to control, and even punish another player on stage, and expectations of agreement may continue off-stage, even resulting in sexual assault.

Many theatres are scrambling to create new policies, rules, and classes designed to protect vulnerable players. What is needed, however, is a revolution in improv pedagogy and culture around the globe. Dr. Amy Seham, author of Whose Improv Is It, Anyway? and Dr. Theresa R. Dudeck, author of Keith Johnstone: A Critical Biography and Applied Improvisation: Leading, Collaborating & Creating Beyond the Theatre, invite improv practitioners, teachers, and coaches to a workshop where exercises by Spolin, Johnstone, and others have been reframed to increase awareness of the ways in which improv can reinscribe the power imbalance and implicit bias of social interaction. Participants will also be invited to brainstorm new approaches to improv training, and additional techniques for remodeling our understanding of “Yes.”


Amy Seham

Amy Seham (USA) is a director, author, professor, and improviser whose book, Whose Improv Is It, Anyway? is a ground-breaking study of race, gender and power in Chicago improv-comedy. Her writing on improv has been published in The Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies... Read More →
avatar for Theresa Robbins Dudeck

Theresa Robbins Dudeck

Co-Founder/Creative Team, Global Improvisation Initiative (GII)
Theresa Robbins Dudeck, PhD, has taught improvisation all over the world in both academic and professional settings. She is considered one of the foremost teachers of Keith Johnstone’s Impro System of training. She wrote the critically acclaimed "Keith Johnstone: A Critical Biography... Read More →

Wednesday May 15, 2019 2:00pm - 3:00pm BST
Studio 4 (GG93) Grove, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, Hendon, London, NW4 4BT