The symposium IMPRO TALKS was held in October 2016 at the Zurich University of the Arts and to our knowledge it was the first international academic gathering dedicated to improvisation in theater. We had realized that there is an imbalance in research on improvisation in different artistic fields: While there is quite an impressive corpus of research on improvisation in music, there is only very little academic literature on improvisation in theater, dance and writing. The most comprehensive collection on research in improvisation “The Improvisation Studies Reader (Caines and Heble 2015)” is a manifestation of this: While contributions on music reach a deep academic level, contributions on theater are more essayistic and practical. Research in music is highly differentiated, technologically up to date and well established; fascinating research has been conducted in search of neurological mechanisms that foster improvisation (Limb and Braun 2008) (Beaty 2015).
We felt that research on improvisation in theater has to catch up and so we invited 10 advanced researchers of the field to present and discuss their topics. The result was an interesting mix of methods, approaches and academic conven tions. As expected the contributions were quite heterogeneous, since there is no such thing as a “theory of improvisational theater” or even a consensus of which discipline should investigate on it: Psychology? Theater studies? Linguistics? This book compiles most of the contributions of IMPRO TALKS and makes them accessible for an interested public and for further research.
Editor: Gunter Lösel
Contributors: Edgar Landgraf, Gunter Lösel , Nicolas J. Zaunbrecher, Tony Frost and Ralph Yarrow, Duncan Marwick, Christian F. Freisleben-Teutscher
ZHdK: Institute for the Performing Arts and Film (IPF)