Workshops For
Creatives

Comedy + Performance GUIDED

Want to shake up your creative process? Connect with teammates and clients in new ways? Get better at responding in the moment?

These workshops apply the tools of comedy and performance to all facets of the creative process with zero obligation to make people laugh. They are designed for creatives of all stripes: designers, artists, makers, strategists, writers, producers, coders, architects, filmmakers, animators, etc.

They work well for team trainings (offsite or onsite) and are designed for all skill levels (leaders or young guns).

 

Improv For
Creatives

No Jokes, Pinky Promise

Not everyone is destined for the stage, but we do improvise everyday with each other and our clients. I created these topic-focused workshops for creatives and the challenges we face.

Each offers simple exercises that follow the rules of improvisation. No one is expected to be funny or land any jokes. They are safe for introverts!

  • Listening

  • Collaborating

  • Presenting

Performance for creatives

Stage Fright Free

These are for creatives that have zero desire to take the stage. They translate performance methods for specific aspects of the creative process—from concepting to presenting.

What if I’m not a performer? A-OK! No performance experience is necessary. These exercises are about exploration, not getting stage fright.

  • Present Like A Comedian

  • Performing Interaction Design

  • The Rules Made Me Do It

Custom
Program

want something special?

I love to design workshops that use comedy and performance methodologies to help creatives practice new moves. Want to collaborate on a customized workshop for your talented team?

Get in touch and let me know what you’d like to work on with your team. We can scheme together on something special to activate their unique talents.

  • One-off Training

  • Series of Trainings


About
Me

Laura Allcorn

I’m an experience designer and creative director by trade. I’ve studied and performed all forms of comedy: improvisation, stand-up, sketch, and satire. I constantly use my comedy and performance skills in my creative practice. I realized just how much the lines had blurred when I started creating and sharing these workshops.

I have over a decade of experience collaborating with diverse teams and a wide range of clients (from museums to brands). Let’s just say I’ve encountered a lot of characters and these approaches allow me to look at those relationships and my creative work with wide-eyed enthusiasm, not fear.

I’ve led workshops at Second Story, Instrument, Design Week Portland, and Women Who Code.


Improv For Creatives


LISTENING

Have you ever wondered if you were doing your best listening? Ever catch yourself cutting people off mid-sentence? When someone else is talking, do you prepare what you are going to say instead of listening? Often surprised when someone takes a conversation in an entirely different direction? Do you trust yourself to generously respond in the moment?

Listening is essential to teamwork and navigating client relationships, but it doesn’t often get a tune up. Before you know it, you are on auto-pilot because it sure is easier and takes less emotional energy than listening deeply. Through a series of exercises, this workshop encourages you to listen to understand, not just to respond.

What You’ll Practice

  • Being an active listener

  • Responding generously and in the moment

  • Tuning into the ideas of others, not just your own

  • Navigating tough client or team feedback artfully

Duration

1-2 hours; works best in groups of 6-12 people.


Collaborating

Ever felt out of sync with your teammates? Consistently experience a little more take than give? Ever feel like teammates are taking detours to other ideas instead of building on a good one? Recently been blindsided by some client feedback and failed to see the positive in their passionate rant?

Collaboration is paramount to success—internally and with clients. Guess what, you are all in charge of creating a collaborative environment that supports your creativity and enables you to be an unstoppable ensemble. Through a series of exercises, this workshop encourages you to practice becoming a more nimble collaborator.

What You’ll Practice

  • Building trust with teammates and setting rules for productive collaboration

  • Learning to explore ideas before moving in new directions

  • Finding the positive in client feedback

Duration

1-2 hours; works best in groups of 6-12 people.


Presenting

New to presenting? Feeling pretty pro, but want some new tricks to put up your sleeve? Once you’ve read the room, can you translate that intel in the moment? Want to look alive when tackling tough feedback and bizarre questions? Want to try my favorite approach for getting client buy-in? (spoiler: shut up already!)

You’ve got the idea, now you just have to convince people it’s the right one, the best one, the only one! Ever have surprise guests show up for your presentation? It’s best to be prepared to improvise in these moments. Show your stage fright the door and get comfortable adjusting to your audience’s unique perspectives. Through a series of exercises, this workshop encourages you to win those hearts and minds and sweat less doing it.

What You’ll Practice

  • Making good eye contact so you can use it as mission control

  • Reading the room for emotions and body language

  • Making analogies that ground your wild idea in the familiar

  • Exercising restraint in client pitches

  • Presenting on the fly

Duration

1-2 hours; works best in groups of 6-12 people.


Performance For Creatives


PRESENT LIKE A COMEDIAN

Want some new tools for preparing a presentation that connects with your audience? Ever wanted to borrow from a stand-up comedian’s playbook?

Get into a comedian’s mindset and apply the principles of stand-up comedy to presenting your wild ideas. Don’t worry, you won’t be writing jokes or dropping any mics.

We’ll take our cues from comedians who get us to connect with their unique perspectives on stage. They are playing by some underlying rules of comedy and I’m going to give you their playbook. Through a series of exercises, you’ll practice a few of their tactics so you can put them to use when pitching your next wild idea to colleagues and clients.

What You’ll Practice

  • Connecting with your audience by considering their biases and developing powerful references

  • Engaging your audience with questions, examples + evidence, and humorous analogies

  • Keeping your audience on their toes by escalating and heightening

Duration

1-2 hours; works best in groups of 6-12 people.


PERFORMING INTERACTION DESIGN

Co-Taught with Traci Sym of +&>

Need a refresher on connecting with users/visitors/your audience? How about a new tool to add to your design process?

We're constantly performing...with our faces, with our fingers, and with our bodies. Often we are the ones designing the things that mediate our relationships with each other and with our surroundings. Let's focus on making things that are logical, accessible, and ethical.

Sometimes contemplating interactions doesn’t happen best on a sheet of paper or inside of the Adobe Suite. It happens face to face and in situ. Get back to basics and try applying simple performance methods to your practice.

What You’ll Practice

  • Participating in a series of performance exercises to explore common user-experience obstacles, obstructions to empathic design, design ethics, and the relationship between performer and audience.

  • Anticipating unexpected behaviors and outcomes or better yet, coming at design from a whole new direction.

  • After each exercise, we’ll cool down with a discussion.

Duration

2.5-3 hours; works best in groups of 6-12 people.


The Rules Made Me Do It

Want to encourage participation in your next project? Why not try setting some rules of engagement? Contrary to popular belief, rules can set you free when it comes to personal expression. They let your brain decide it’s okay to show off your wild self.

We’ll try out some of the best instructions-based performance artworks and test our own rules. Here are just a few of the artists we’ll explore: Yoko Ono, Miranda July, Improv Everywhere, and My Barbarian. After each “performance” we’ll break down what they made us think, feel, and do. We’ll talk rules: What’s too strict? What’s too loose? What’s too many? What isn’t enough?

Through a series of exercises, this workshop helps you to create irresistible invitations to participate.

What You’ll Practice

  • Participating in a series of instructions-based artworks

  • Creating your own rule for participants to follow

  • Evaluating the process and results of each artwork

Duration

2.5-3 hours, best in groups of 6-12 people


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