THE SECOND CITY yuks it up with students, women in recovery, medical residents, and educators
Some of the key rules of improv comedy are to “say yes, and..”, take a risk, trust, listen, respond, and tell a story.
From November 8 – November 10, the revered sketch comedy and improv company The Second City, visited Louisville and demonstrated how those rules can be infused into various everyday situations from patient care to addiction recovery.
In collaboration with The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, members of The Second City touring company and Becca Barish, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Program Head of The Second City Wellness Department, facilitated four workshops with Kentucky Center community partners – Louisville Youth Performing Arts School, ChooseWell Project Thrive, University of Louisville Medical School, and Jefferson Community and Technical College - and concluded their visit with a live public performance in the Bomhard Theater.
For their first event on the morning of November 8, The Second City company members Katie Kershaw and Saurabh Pande led junior and senior theater students at the Youth Performing Arts School in a workshop designed to prepare performers for auditions of all types. Attendees acquired skills through mock auditions and performance exercises, and the instructors helped the students understand what to expect in an audition setting, how to connect with a partner, and the best approaches to tackling a cold reading.
On the evening of November 8, Ms. Barish and Ms. Kershaw worked with program participants and volunteers from the ChooseWell Project Thrive program which holds a vision of a Compassionate City where every family with a child under the age of three thrives in a home free from active substance misuse. The interactive workshop introduced the principles of improvisation as a tool for recovery, recognizing potential, celebrating positive change, and having fun together in a safe and supportive environment. Following the event, participants said "haven't laughed that hard in a long time!" "And we learned things, too!"
The visit continued with the University of Louisville School of Medicine, where Ms. Barish and Ms. Kershaw led nine medical students in an interactive workshop introducing the principles of improvisation to engage health professionals in exercises that highlight and help to create a supportive, creative, open-minded approach to patient care. This workshop focused on patience, non-judgement, handling change from the side of the practitioner and patience, and active listening. At the end of the session, the students said their thinking about certain aspects of patient care was completely transformed and they were glad to have participated.
For their last workshop, Ms. Barish and Mr. Pande led Jefferson County Technical College faculty members in an interactive three-hour event introducing the principles of improvisation as a tool for active listening, “knowing your audience” (aka, their students), mindfulness of different perspectives, communication methods, and engaging as colleagues in a fun and casual environment. Faculty noted it was one of the most fun professional development activities they’ve taken part in a long time and were so glad to have solid take always they could easily implement into teaching practice.
A huge thank you to The Second City for bringing lessons of laughter to our community and to all our community partners who helped organize the events and participated!
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