The Improv Encyclopedia - V 1.2.3 - 11Jun2002


The doors to heaven and hell are identical and adjacent --- Nikis Kazantzakis

Audience Warm-ups

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How it Works

Often an improvised show starts with an audience warm-up. Here are some suggestions:

  • Do a Mexican wave (audience making fluent waves with their hands above their head).

  • Have he pianist/keyboard man make all kinds of sounds and have the audience imitate them

  • Ask the audience to stand up and do some physical warmup. Have them shake their arms and legs.

  • Have the audience introduce themselves to strangers, tell a secret their spouse/partner doesn't know about to a stranger, have them hug a stranger

  • Do an interview with the audience, where the MC is one character (say, a headmaster) and all of the audience another (say a naughty child). The audience needs to reply to the interview in one voice (all saying the same at the same time - see One Mouth ). Not an easy one, and if the audience does not feel like doing this it really sucks. When it works it's a real thrill.

  • divide the audience in 3 or 4 groups, and give each group a sound. Rehearse the sound with each group. Then tell a silly story, and use these sounds as sound effects. (We saw a pretty gruesome one in which one group was a car (roar), another a dog (bark) and the third group got a kind of splashing sound. The poor dog got run over by the car... not exactly nice but the audience had fun with it)

  • Do a cheering competition between the men and the women.

  • Rehearse different kinds of applause (from the 'polite' applause when a scene sucks, over an 'ooh' appause for a touching scene, to a wild roar for a hilarious scene). Have them rehearse voting for a team by cheering the team name (if that's your format). Rehearse a 'Die' ( see Die ) if i you're going to be playing scenes in which the audience can decide to throw a player out of the game.

  • Give the men and the women a different sound and play with that. Tell them they are members of a wild tribe, the women go 'Ugh' when you raise your left hand and the man go 'Hagawaga' when you raise your right hand.












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