I teach professional actors and non-actors how to create spontaneous theatre. My approach is different than the Improv Comedy that is prevalent today, and has been honed over 35 years as an improvisational performer and teacher. I am Founder/Artistic Director of Turbine Arts Collective in Los Angeles, and I also train businesses and companies to use creative play to be more productive.
I am ready to design a customized workshop for your college, university, theatre festival/company, organization or business. Let's play!
SHPLOTZ Improvisation with Helen Hunt
SHPLOTZ! Improvisation with Jason Alexander
The Bubalaires, physical theatre troupe
"Rob Watzke has more or less taught me the art of improvisation. By getting up with him, watching and playing with him, I have learned about freeing the imagination and the instincts, about acceptance and conflict within a scene, about character and language, and much about the exciting and humbling experience it is to create spontaneously in front of people. It is a privilege, and one I highly recommend."
"Rob Watzke is one my favorite improvisers in the world. One of the very, very best. At the top of his game, he brings to his teaching all the stunning qualities he possesses as an improviser. Disciplined but wild, steeped in tradition and wildly innovative. Anyone lucky enough to work with him will learn and delight in his vast experience and utterly unique style."
"Rob Watzke is hands down one of the best improvisers I’ve ever worked with. He is as insightful as he is hilarious. You couldn’t ask for a better person to teach you the art form.”
ROBERT WATZKE has been performing and teaching improvisation for 35+ years, and has applied those principles of to all facets of his work. He is founder and artistic director of TURBINE ARTS COLLECTIVE, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the exploration of creativity, where he teaches weekly workshops. At TAC, he has produced hundreds of creative performance evenings, including SHPLOTZ!, an improvisation and music show with guests like Helen Hunt, Jason Alexander, James Corden, and Dave Foley. He was nominated for an INNY Award from Improvisation News, for Improvisational Theatre: Best Instructor/Coach. He has taught improvisation workshops at Walt Disney Studios, USC Marshall School of Business, JPL/NASA, SAG-AFTRA, UCLA Performing Arts Intensive, and many others. He also teaches creative practices to businesses and corporations.
Rob has performed as an actor with Los Angeles theatre companies, and he co-created the absurdist physical theatre troupe, THE BUBALAIRES, performing and directing shows including their epic burlesque on Homer's Odyssey. He has written, directed, edited, and acted in theatre, films, television, and web series, winning awards from the National Educational Media Association, the Telly Awards, Clio Awards, and numerous film festivals.
Education: B.A. Communication and Theatre Arts/Journalism, University of Iowa. In Los Angeles: Workshops with Master Teachers Gary Austin (Improvisation), Carol Fox Prescott (Acting), John Achorn (Commedia del 'Arte), Jack Grapes (Creative Writing).
Member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA. Click here for IMDB
Improvisation should be fun, enlightening, and a release for anyone who chooses to play. As the art form has evolved into “Improv Comedy”, with the emphasis on being funny and rewards given to those who are good at thinking on their feet, we’ve lost some of the simplicity of where it started: Human beings using the work to make discoveries about themselves and the world around them.
This is the basis for Improvisational Theatre. It can be funny and poignant, silly and moving, as long as the actors are in discovery and in the moment.
Whether it's a university setting for actors-in-training, or a community event for people who have forgotten the joy of playing, I can create a workshop directed toward your needs. A single workshop, an all-day event, or a series of classes, for beginning or experienced actors, to those who will never set foot on a stage --
here are some examples of my teaching:
IMPROVISATION FOR ACTORS
This is not just an introduction to improvisation, but an intro to my specific approach. Actors will experience the foundation of the See-React-Change technique, which is based on your awareness, your reactions, and your impulses -- not on your choices or your ideas. You will get a chance to work in a way that takes the pressure off of you to "make something up" onstage, allowing you to discover your scenes without the effort or desperation so often present in modern improv.
I will also give you a context for the work, providing historical background from Viola Spolin through Second City to modern improv comedy schools. And you will see how improvisation can relate to your work with text, through the discovery of body language, character attitude, subtext, and relationships.
LENGTH OF WORKSHOP: 3 hrs.
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: Up to 12 actors, unlimited auditors.
BODY LANGUAGE and SUBTEXT:
The Path to Spontaneous Theatre
Players standing next to each other, trading lines to make us laugh, may constitute Improv Comedy, but it will never rise to the level of Improvisational Theatre. To create that, we must learn to communicate with our bodies, attitudes and subtext -- not just our words.
In this workshop, we will dive deep into the nonverbal communication that draws your audience in from the very beginning. You will learn to get away from "Improv Speak" -- replacing the impulse to explain everything verbally with the ability to discover subtext from the very beginning with your partner. You will practice playing in a way in which there is always something deeper going on in your scene -- and we will create spontaneous theatre that can be hilarious and poignant, silly and moving, in which the players are always in discovery and in the moment.
LENGTH OF WORKSHOP: 3 hrs.
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 8-12 players, unlimited auditors.
PLAYTIME! Improvisation For EVERYONE!
This is a great workshop for any group that wants to re-discover the joy of playing -- I've taught this to mixed groups of actors and non-actors at Turbine Arts Collective, to MBA candidates at USC Marshall School of Business, and to various companies looking for a way for employees to have a blast together.
It's pure playtime -- Group games, two-person games, solo games, silly games, brain-teasers, new games, old games -- all meant to get you playing with joy and abandon. I create a safe and supportive environment that is welcoming to all.
LENGTH OF WORKSHOP: 2.5 hrs., can be expanded to full day with other training
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: Up to 25.
SPONTANEOUS THEATRE INTENSIVE
Experience a day, weekend or full week of workshops to delve into the creation of improvisational theater. From the foundational exercises in See-React-Change to advanced work in scene discovery, we will work toward establishing a way of playing that is original and reflects the uniqueness of the participants.
Less reliant on audience suggestion and established formats than current improv practices, we use the body language, character attitudes and full awareness of our scene partners as jumping-off points for our work. These workshops can be used by established groups, or with players meeting for the first time. Some experience with theatre conventions is helpful, but the form embraces mixing actors with those who are naturally good listeners.
Depending on where the workshop is held, I can often bring improvisers experienced in this approach to play along, and we can combine it with a guided performance as well.
LENGTH OF WORKSHOP: 6 hrs. to 6 days.
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: Flexible.
These are just a few examples of the kinds of workshops I can offer -- others have included INTRO TO IMPROVISATION FOR NON-ACTORS, PHYSICAL IMPROVISATION, CONFLICT IN A SCENE, and many more.