FAQ: What improv books do you recommend?


Improv Theory

Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre
by Keith Johnstone

Free Play
by Stephen Nachmanovitch

Truth in Comedy: The Manual of Improvisation
by Charna Halpern, Del Close & Kim “Howard” Johnson

Les McGehee Plays Well With Others: A “Grown-Up” Handbook of Improvisation and Play
by Les McGehee

Improv Technique and Exercises

Impro for Storytellers (Theatre Arts (Routledge Paperback))
by Keith Johnstone

Acting on Impulse: The Art of Making Improv Theater
by Carol Hazenfield

The Improv Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Improvising in Comedy, Theatre, and Beyond
by Tom Salinsky and Deborah Francis

The Playbook: Improv Games for Performers
by William Hall

Improvisation for the Theater 3E: A Handbook of Teaching and Directing Techniques (Drama and Performance Studies)
by Viola Spolin

How to Improvise a Full-Length Play: The Art of Spontaneous Theater
by Kenn Adams

Playing Along: 37 Group Learning Activities Borrowed from Improvisational Theater
by Izzy Gesell

Musical Improv Comedy: Creating Songs in the Moment
by Michael Pollock

Improvisation Starters: A Collection of 900 Improvisation Situations for the Theater
by Philip Bernardi

Improvising Better: A Guide for the Working Improviser
by Jimmy Carrane and Liz Allen

Improv History

Something Wonderful Right Away: An Oral History of the Second City and The Compass Players
by Jeffrey Sweet

Something Like a Drug: An Unauthorized Oral History of Theatresports (Drama)
by Kathleen Foreman and Clem Martini

Whose Improv Is It Anyway?: Beyond Second City
by Amy Seham

Improv Related Books

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

by Michael Shurtleff

The Writer’s Journey, Second Edition: Mythic Structure for Writers
by Christopher Vogler

Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting
by Robert McKee

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need
by Blake Snyder

The Inner Game of Tennis
by W. Timothy Gallwey

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)
by Richard P. Feynan

A WHACK ON THE SIDE OF THE HEAD: How You Can Be More Creative
by Roger von Oech

Art & Fear
by David Bayles and Ted Orland

Theatre of the Oppressed
by Augusto Boal

They Used to Call Me Snow White…but I Drifted: Women’s Strategic Use of Humor
by Regina Barreca


Applied Improv Books

Improvise This! How to Think on Your Feet So You Don’t Fall on Your Face
by Molly Mark and Cox Bergren

Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Upby Patricia Ryan Madson

Improv Yourself: Business Spontaneity at the Speed of Thought
by Joseph A. Keefe

Leadership Presence
by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar

Training to Imagine: Practical Improvisational Theatre Techniques to Enhance Creativity, Teamwork, Leadership, and Learning
by Kat Koppett

About Shana Merlin

Merlin Works is the brainchild of Shana Merlin: improviser, teacher, and performer. Since 1996, she’s been leading classes that stretch people’s imaginations, push them out of their comfort zones, and make them laugh out loud for hours at a time.

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