Improv highlights Innovation Week at college

Adults ducked and dodged each other across the arts studio floor. Some were assassins. Others were bodyguards. It was all make-believe and, according to innovation consultant Colleen Reitzel, designed to stimulate creativity.

“It was really just fun to let loose and be a participant,” she said. “It was really a great time. The improv was phenomenal.”

The group let loose at Admit it! You’re Creative, a workshop in theatrical improvisation on April 17. It was one of eight events held during World Creativity and Innovation week at Centennial College’s Centre for Creative Communications at 951 Carlaw Ave.

The 75-minute workshop included warm-up games and the opportunity for adults, with little to no previous experience, to pull characters out of thin air.

As an innovation consultant, Reitzel helps businesses generate and present new, creative ideas. For her, the improv workshop provided a “safe” environment to explore and connect with complete strangers.

“There was one point where I jumped up on a guy and hugged him,” she said. “I didn’t know him from anyone… I felt safe and I felt comfortable to just give him a big bear hug, when normally you wouldn’t do that to someone you never knew.”

Reitzel feels that improvisation can be applied outside theatre and even in working situations.

“To do improv, or to do an exercise like that, just to have a little break from what it is you’re working on, is great,” she said.

Jennifer Spear has trained with Second City. She taught the workshop. She said that just teaching the material and seeing how people take to it was energizing.

“It’s amazing when you see the participants get involved like that. You get energy from it. That was just so much fun for me! I just had such a great time,” she said.