Why Improvise? Read on. Or watch the video.

Through The Improv Project we’re working to give Detroit’s young people tools to make meaningful change in their lives. These kids have big dreams and so much potential. We’re all about investing in their future.

The Improv Project includes a school-based program and workshop series created for young people in grades 3-12 and the educators who work with them. Our school and nonprofit partners offer improvisation as part of a variety of programs in addition to theater arts, including communications, language arts, and career/college prep. The Improv Project began in 2012 with 100 students and has grown to serve over 1400 youth and several hundred adults annually in Detroit and nearby cities.

Improv isn’t just for actors. Improvisation’s value extends beyond the stage into classrooms, workplaces, and our daily lives. Improv students develop the ability to collaborate, listen, and build positive relationships. These young improvisers also gain confidence, build literacy skills, and learn what’s possible when they practice and persevere. For many, improv class is the creative outlet that helps them find and express their unique voice.

The best part? Our program evaluations show these lessons endure after improv class ends.

There’s strong evidence learning to improvise makes a difference. A three-year University of Michigan study of our programs shows that improv training is helping our students gain confidence, build valuable social skills, and overcome social anxiety. Our students’ teachers tell us these young improvisers attend school more regularly, participate in class, and are making academic progress. Here’s what students say about improv.