ORANGE, Calif. – Chapman University will co-host, in collaboration with UC Irvine, the inaugural Global Improvisation Initiative (GII) Symposium on May 12 and 13 with more than 36 presenters working in the field of improvisation. The interactive sessions feature national and international experts in the art and impact of improvisation who will engage participants in fun and educational techniques.

“The GII Symposium will explore everything from improvisation for storytelling, pedagogy, social movements, conflict resolution, behavioral science, business, performance, and more,” said Theresa Dudeck, Ph.D., assistant professor of improvisational theatre at Chapman. “What we hope participants will take away is how important improvisation practice and theory is to almost everything. In fact, organizations ranging from large Fortune 500 corporations to governmental agencies to not-for-profits are hiring more and more impro-trained facilitators to teach their people how to do offstage what successful improvisers do onstage. Improvisation, at its best, is about collaboration, motivating others, taking risks, being present, accepting and building on offers, and benevolence. Improvisation offers something for everyone!”

man's face, white hair, wearing eyeglasses

Impro Pioneer Keith Johnstone Photo credit: Erik van der Liet

The featured presenter at the GII Symposium is world-renowned, improvisation pioneer, Keith Johnstone, who also created Theatresports and wrote the influential book, Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre (1979), available in 11 languages.  Other presenters are coming from as far away as Turkey, China, Brazil, Switzerland, France, the Philippines, and the U.K.  In addition, representatives from Los Angeles’ troupes—the Groundlings and Impro Theatre—as well as Chicago’s The Second City are scheduled to facilitate workshops, round table discussions, and presentations.

“We have the full spectrum of the improvisation world: performance to application, artists from around the world, and a wide range of philosophies, including foundational members of the art form: Keith Johnstone and Viola Spolin’s granddaughter, Aretha Sills, sharing their wisdom and experience,” said Joel Veenstra, co-director of the symposium and professor at UC Irvine. “This is rare and magic moment in improvisation history.”

For a full schedule of sessions, visit:

The symposium takes place Friday, May 12, at the University of California, Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts, and Saturday, May 13, at Chapman University’s Argyros Forum. The symposium is open to the general public. Although it is free, registration is required at:

In addition to Chapman University, sponsors of the 2017 GII Symposium are: at Chapman University’s College of Performing Arts, Fish Interfaith Center, and The Student Government Association; and UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Improv Revolution, Illuminations: The Chancellor’s Arts & Culture Initiative, the Medical Humanities Initiative, and Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.

About Chapman University

As an academically distinguished center of learning, Chapman University attracts extraordinary students and faculty from around the globe. Its ten schools and colleges foster a vibrant intellectual community, and provide extensive opportunities for students to learn, grow and discover alongside remarkable faculty. The University is home to some 8,000 students pursuing bachelor, master and doctoral degrees, and is alma mater to more than 40,000 alumni found throughout the United States and the world. Now celebrating its 155th year, Chapman is known for its distinguishing strengths in leadership and civic engagement, in the arts and entertainment disciplines, and in specialized sectors of technology and science. The University is comprised of its main campus in Orange, California, and the Rinker Health Science campus for graduate health science programs in Irvine, California. Visit us at

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