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  • Katya Tempfli

Off-Stage – Improv beyond the stage. Visegrad Improvisation Applied project

Off-stage ImproTalks event is part of the Visegrad Improvisation Applied (VIA) series of events. The Grund Theater organized an event where organizations and teams using applied improvisation as a teaching or development method were introduced. We were among them too: here is the report on the event!

Applied improvisation is a widely used, fertile, flexible, and freely formable interdisciplinary tool or working method. It is a tool for community building, education, catching up, personality development, therapeutic process, entertainment, or it can be an integral part of the artistic process. At the Off-stage ImproTalks event, six creative workshops and creators organized by the Grund Theater demonstrated the characteristics of the improvisation techniques used in their own profession or activity, flashing exciting and innovative crafts and methods. They all engage in stage improvisation, which, combined with their experience in other disciplines, has given rise to awareness-raising initiatives and ideas that the audience can now see.

Here, at JEL Foundation, we have two big loves, sign language and applied improvisation. Our old plan to crush these two figures, which at first glance seem very mismatched, has proved its worth, and something came to fruition in 2016 that we have been amazingly proud of ever since. The first to be born was the Sign Language Playground, with a constantly expanding Activity Library that now contains over 100 activities adapted for sign language and deaf users. This led to our international Erasmus + strategic partnership across three countries, trainings for many age groups and target groups, or sign language children's camps. With the JELEVEN courses, we have integrated non-formal education into the classroom: here we combine the activities of the Sign Language Playground with the more classical methods of sign language teaching, and we teach to mark hearing children during school hours. Integrated learning with the help of their hearing-impaired classmates, along with a rich online sign language curriculum. We are also present in the online space, training and holding workshops where impro elements also play a significant role.

Focus on education

The Jel Foundation deals with the integration and non-formal education of the Deaf, and improvisation techniques are used in many of our projects: as a tool for sign language learning, sensitization, problem solving, and a helping presence. Brigitta Arany and Kátya Tempfli presented their current work: they transform known impression activities and techniques into “deaf-friendly”, ie they adapt to sign language and visual solutions. It’s not always that simple: some voice-based games can’t be transformed even after a long experiment. In this case, there is no other solution, you have to find another activity.

The Visegrad Improvisation Applied (VIA) series of events will continue in 2021.

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