imprology, improvisation based training

Improviser of the month        September 2009

Belina Raffy
What is your name?
Belina Raffy
Where do you live and work?
Earth…though I live very close to London in Surrey…near Surbiton.
What is your day job?
What day is it? I don’t really have a ‘day job’. I have my own company called Maffick ( so I have a GREAT boss : ). Maffick means to ‘boisterously celebrate’. I use applied improvisation techniques with organisations and individuals to help people build the skills and self awareness that they need to perform better…this could be in terms of leadership, communication, creativity and collaboration. My secret plan is to have people dancing to work.

I also am working with sustainability activists to make their message more engaging and experiential, and I am about to deliver a whole series of workshops around biomimicry [checking out how nature does stuff and copying/being inspired by it] and improvisation as applied to organisational change.

My other delight is that I am about to work in prisons and with youth at risk of offending by delivering something called the Chrysalis Programme ( I know I’ll need all of my impro skills with this one and that I will learn an amazing amount by doing this. The aim of the programme is to change the world for the better – and that’s way I’m here.
How did you discover improvisation?
I was working for Citigroup in NYC, had just moved there, and didn’t know anyone. I needed a way to play with my fellow humans – and I saw an advert for a weekend impro class at Gotham. That was in 1996.
How do you practice improvisation?
Every day through interactions with others…but more technically – I facilitate workshops and university courses using applied improv techniques. To keep myself sharp and remembering what the ‘receiving end’ feels like – I take workshops from great improvisers like Remy, I attended the Loose Moose International Improvisation Summer School two years ago (which was AMAZING), and I organise the London events for the Applied Improvisation Network ( ) . I also say ‘Yes’ to projects that scare the heck out of me – and that tends to keep my practice moving along nicel{.
How did you learn?
See above. I also attended a Keith Johnstone workshop in London, and I learn a huge amount every time I go to an Applied Improvisation Network conference. I’m organising the next one coming up in November in Portland – if you have any questions – let me know.
Any advice for beginners?
Have fun. Leave your ego behind. Play. Connect. Notice what you find easy and difficult. Try something new when it feels easy. BREATHE. If you get stuck, especially in a scene, tune in to what and who is in front of you…what do you notice? Work with that…
What is your favourite improvisation quote?
Keith Johnstone always has great stuff to say…so do a lot of other people. Probably something like, “Take a risk, observe, choose, adapt, and change.” Choosing a course (which can change based on what happens) has a different energy to just adapting…it’s more solid.
What is the most satisfying story or scene you ever improvised in?
Being showcased at the Loose Moose Theatre at the end of the summer school was
pretty darned cool…
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