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Science communicators can use skills developed by improvisational theatre as a way to connect with an audience and build their confidence in a chosen subject matter. This can either be done through performances of improv theatre, where skilled actors who are well informed on the subject can start acting out a scenario and then by asking for suggestions from the audience, the viewers are able to see the situation evolve and gain insight and understanding into the subject matter in a number of different contexts. Or alternatively, the organisers could run a series of improv workshops, where trained professionals and researchers teach participants a number of improv techniques and then get them to try and apply these principles to situations based on a specific research topic.


Target Audience
  • Adult citizens
  • Children 7-12
  • Families
  • Teenagers

You can do it with all those groups, but we did it with professionals from different fields like public engagement or the cultural and creative sector.



Depending on the type of improv event you are planning, will depend on the amount of preparation required. The event will most likely be a couple of hours in length.

For any event you will need to book an appropriate venue prior to the event, as well enquire with local theatre companies and research institutes for event facilitators and performers.

Before the event the actors should work with the researchers to develop the backbone of the script or activities and can adapt these depending on suggestions made by participants, and if possible the researchers should also engage and learn some of the improv techniques, so they can also take part in the event.

If the event is a series of improv scenes being carried out by the actors, they need to be familiar with the basic script and the background information, but there is no actual script to learn, just cues that the performers might be trying to reach.

If the event is taking the form of an acting workshop, the exercise will have been carefully thought out and must allow opportunities for the participants to practice what they have learnt, under the supervision of the facilitators.

You will need to market your event accordingly.


ERLNMYR produces science improv shows and uses improvisation to train researchers in public speaking and science communication.

The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science uses Improv sessions as part of their training.