Improvisation - Beginner/intermediate level

Six part evening workshop with finale live performance

Improvisation develops creativity, confidence, collaboration skills and spontaneity, making us more reactive and ‘in the moment’. In addition to being a mode of live comedy, improv can be used as a tool to create characters, develop original dramatic and/or comedic material and as part of a rehearsal process to explore written text.

"In improv, there are no mistakes, only opportunities."    Tina Fey

In this six-part workshop, participants rediscover their natural ability to 'play' while exploring collaborative games, exercises, and techniques that develop and fine-tune intuitive skills with an emphasis on creating truthful and emotionally-full characters. This is the training process used by North America’s famous Second City Theatre, the forerunner and principal casting pool of hit TV shows 'Saturday Night Live' and 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?'.

This is perfect for both the trained performer who wants to stretch and expand their abilities as well as for the curious who want to explore new creative experiences.These workshops conclude with a live performance.

For workshop dates, times, cost and enrolling details, go to ‘WhatWhenCost’ on the site menu above.

Character driven/Story based Improvisation - intermediate level

Six part workshop with finale live performance

Participants with past improv training and performance experience will work through more challenging exercises and games to further develop and fine-tune intuitive, razor-sharp improv skills. There is an emphasis on narrative structure and creating very unique, engaging characters. Comedic styles such as satire, absurdity, and clowning are explored and utilized. The end goal is to develop a live performance that combines comedic styles, using well-developed characters in story-driven scenes and games.

For workshop dates, times, cost and enrolling details, go to ‘WhatWhenCost’ on the site menu above.

Intro to Chicago-style Long-Form Improvisation -  advanced level

Six part workshop with finale live performance

In this workshop, even more advanced level improvisation techniques are

delved into, drawing on methods used by North America's famous

Second City Theatre and Del Close's iO Theatre (Improv Olympics).

Participants with past beginner and intermediate level improv training and

performance experience will explore various short and long-form

improv styles.

The second half of the class includes instruction in

story-telling long-forms i.e. 'Goon River' and scenic/episodic

long-forms such as the Armando (creator: Armando Diaz) and

the 'Harold' (creator: Del Close). John also instructs his own

version that combines aspects of both of these forms.

It will end with a live performance.

For workshop dates, times, cost and enrolling details, go to ‘WhatWhenCost’ on the site menu above.

“Long-form improv is the most important group work since they built the pyramids.”  Bill Murray

Critical Thinking, Creativity and Collaborative Team Building through Improv

Q: Why does it seem more difficult to problem solve with fellow like-minded people as time goes on, as we get better and more experienced at what we do?A: Before there can be fair and equal collaboration there must be similarly fair and equal communication. The solution is to re-learn what we instinctively to communicate with our entire selves, selflessly, creatively, for a common good...and have a good time doing it.

The Process - Dawsondramaworks' custom-made classes

and workshops for corporate and institutional clients entail

a variety of amusing theatre/improvisation games and

thought-provoking exercises. Participants explore,

through improvisational game playing and exercises, the

following components:Connection, Concentration,

Communication, and Creative collaboration.

These four 'C's are the bedrock to building an environment

that is truly entirely equal, creative, and collaborative.

As the workshop  progress, the games and exercises

delving into the four 'C's get more complicated...

but by no means are they less enjoyable for participants.

The Outcome - Heightened listening skills

Creative problem solving techniques

Advanced 'Winning Team Building' abilities

Selected Corporate & Institutional Clients:

Google Ireland     AirBnB     DropBox    Twitter Ireland      D.I.T. (Dublin Institute of Technology)

Krefar International (Toronto)   H.S.E.  (Health Service Executive, Ireland)      Brown Bag Films Ireland

Dramatic Arts for Wellness Workshops

Most mental health conditions bring on a sense of isolation

and dislocation, grossly impeding one’s ability to socialize,

resulting in a withdrawal from society.

The Process

Through ‘improv play’, these workshops develops the participant's combined mental and emotional wellness through 100% experiential learning. Improvisational play-based drama games and exercises have specific yet hidden purposes; to develop one's confidence, spontaneity, reactivity, and creative thought processes as well as communication and collaboration skills with others. 

The emphasis is on using positive, constructive, creative processes where experimentation is encouraged, where there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, and it is not a matter of being correct and getting it right all the time. The fear of humiliation is not instinctual but a learned fear, one that prevents us from being totally at ease, both mentally and emotionally. In true ‘play’ we have no inhibitions, no fear of humiliation. The basic rule of improvisation is to accept ideas and offers from a collaborating partner or partners. By doing so, a true ‘creative and non-judgmental space’  is created where everyone's ideas are freely communicated to contribute towards a common goal. 

Participants are led through exercises in improv

and storytelling that emphasize the elements of

narrative such as plot, theme, conflict/resolution,

and structure.Using these news skills, scenarios

inspired by events in the participants’ lives can

be created and enacted.

The Outcome

Participants re-develop their ability to communicate with others with abandon and without any internal editor critiquing them. By learning how to express their feelings and experiences through the window of drama, participants can see mental health problems from new perspectives, thus gaining better insight into themselves and the world that they share with others. This is the path to true mental and emotional wellness.


Dublin North North East Recovery College, The Healthy Living Centre, DCU (Dublin City College)

Designed and facilitated an eight week dramatic arts workshop.

DCU (Dublin City College) in association with St. James Hospital Dublin and the H.S.E. (Health Service Executive) Cooperative Learning Course: Service Improvement for Mental Health Service Users, Care & Service Providers

St. Martha's - Mental health division of St. James Hospital Dublin

South Dublin Arts and Disability Course, a joint venture between South Dublin County Council, Clondalkin Partnership and Stewarts Hospital, Dublin

“Drama serves as a window to watch human behavior within the context of a narrative, a story,  for the purpose of mirroring back to us a view of certain aspects about ourselves to entertain, enlighten and edify.”   

Martin Esslin ‘An Anatomy of Drama’, 1978