Edward R. (Ted) DesMaisons
Friday, Feb. 26 | 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Modern research suggests that mindfulness makes a powerful tool for developing young people’s resilience, self-confidence, emotional intelligence, and performance in academics, athletics, and the arts. Growing evidence shows that improvisational theatre does the same.
That said, each approach can have its limitations. On its own, mindfulness practice—and especially the teaching of mindfulness—can take on a pious, even somber tone. On its own, improvisational theatre can get caught in the entertaining but ultimately limited world of wacky comedy.
Woven together, the two move past those limitations and transform into a single, compelling cloth. Mindfulness gains a playful, interactive expression. Improv develops a well-grounded depth. Working in concert, they cultivate the kind of charismatic, creative, connected presence that helps kids—and teachers—respond artfully to the challenges of any given moment.
This workshop will offer participants a glimpse into the power of these combined traditions. Together, we’ll create a safe learning lab that uses experiential exercises to sharpen self-awareness and revitalize relationship with the outside world. We’ll train the muscles of playful attention, introduce the power of “Yes, and,” retrain our reactions to so-called “failure,” and learn to connect with ourselves and others more resourcefully through acting coach Patsy Rodenburg’s “Second Circle” of awareness. And we’ll do all that while laughing a lot.
Please note: this workshop is designed for those with little or no prior experience with improvisational theatre. Those with more substantial improv chops who are just beginning to tap its deeper levels will also find it fruitful.
Ted DesMaisons has been synthesizing innovative approaches to learning for over 25 years. Combining humor with gravitas and intention with inspiration, Ted helps create safe spaces for exploring what really matters. Since completing his graduate work at Stanford (MBA) and Harvard (Masters of Theology), Ted has studied improvisation with Patricia Ryan Madson, Bay Area Theater Sports (BATS) and Loose Moose Theater in Calgary, Alberta. He is the founder and principal of ANIMA Learning and a trained Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) instructor. He also serves as the US Coordinator for the UK-based Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP). He writes regularly about growth mindset, improv, contemplation, and positive reinforcement on his ANIMA blog.