Access & inclusion in improv is one of the great extrinsic benefits of improvisation, and why the greatly increased awareness of improvisation in recent years, is going to have a huge positive effect on the human race in the next few decades. Improvisation is by nature inclusive.
Let’s take it a step further. Ask anyone whether there should be rules for different people, for whether they can come to an improvisation class, or for how they should be treated in class. Almost universally you’ll get the reply “No way!” If you ran an improv workshop in Newtown, and said “single people will be given preference”, there’d be a huge uproar. Not to mention that it’s illegal.
Inclusivity is typically discussed in early classes regarding both student and character behaviour. This is partly to do with how other students should be treated in class. But it is also about setting ground rules and expectations, for focusing and fine tuning each student’s newly found discovery of spontaneity. Untrained actors in the moment bring out the true self, and often the true self still behave’s with outdated biases. But that’s the teacher’s role. To be experienced enough to be able to instruct, discuss and frame such issues when they come up. It’s improv. It’s letting the unconscious go free. And teachers have a big responsibility to make sure students are safe doing so.
Some school policies are quite detailed and specific, and others are a fairly simple high level explanation that “everyone is equal”. Either way, as ITS says, inclusivity is the key to how improv works, and that therefore the school must also be inclusive. We’re no different. AOI has a clear access and inclusion in improv policy too. We believe inclusivity is not only the key to the success of improvisation and group work, but it is a prerequisite for it to even work.
Improvisation. Everyone is welcome, everyone is wanted. And in the future the world will be a much better place for it.