WHO IS PLAY WITH FIRE IMPROV?
It’s me! Cameron. This is where I put you at ease that you’re in good hands.
I used to be anxious. All the time. It was who I thought I was, and always would be. Then improv and play helped me. Now I’m proof that anxiety isn’t a life sentence. Here’s my story.
Professor of Play at Play with Fire Improv
Instructor and founder of the Improv for Anxiety program at Second City Toronto
Professor of Presentation Skills at Seneca College
Improviser for over 10 years, studying and performing across North America
Advertising copywriter for 12 years
Former anxious person (over 30 years’ experience)
Improv makes everything better. It builds confidence, increases creativity, hones your communication skills, impresses coworkers and friends, and flies a mean kite. So my mission is to spread improv to the world. It helped me tremendously in overcoming my anxiety, and now I use it to help others.
"I had really severe social anxiety and before I started the improv I was actually not leaving my house very much, this gave me something to look forward to." – Rebecca Leenhouts
"It's just been completely life changing." – Mairead Ferguson
“This interview is one of my favorites – especially our two-person scene. I learned a lot from Cameron and I know you will too!” – Margot Escott, MSW, LCSW
“In this episode I talk to Cameron Algie on how he used improv to overcome his anxiety. And how he now helps others to do the same through comedy and performance.” – Tim JP Collins
“Nerves can be crippling. And I know it was nerves that kept me from going into comedy full time until a couple of years ago.” – Carla Collins
BENEFITS OF IMPROV FOR MENTAL HEALTH
A 2014 government survey showed that an estimated 3 million Canadians (18+) reported they had a mood and/or anxiety disorder. And those numbers are probably low. When you factor in the stigma of mental health issues, the fact that almost half of people say they’ve never gone to see a doctor about their issues, most people end up suffering alone before admitting what would be perceived as a “weakness.”
While few scientific studies exist, improv and play have been shown to help:
- Relieve stress and anxiety
- Stimulate brain function and boost creativity
- Improve relationships and your connection with others
- Enhance your ability to take risks and try new things
- Relax the body and keep you energized
- Release endorphins (making you feel good) and boost the immune system
It changed my life (read my story here). And I’ve personally seen it change the lives of others. Improv is like going to therapy, and having fun at the same time.
Laughter truly is the best medicine.
BENEFITS OF IMPROV FOR BUSINESS
“In a business world that’s more uncertain than ever it pays to be able to think on your feet. That’s why some business schools are using improvisation classes to teach skills such as creativity and leadership.”
“Through improv, we can work on anything from leadership, to influence, to adaptability, to crisis management. We can help people’s communication skills. We can show them how to stay focused, in the present moment, at a very high level.”
“In fact, studies have shown that people can improve their communication skills and lower their anxiety with regular practice. Improv’s low-stakes training increases the likelihood that team members will feel comfortable communicating in a variety of work situations.”
“Even if you never make anyone laugh, these techniques can make you more open minded and better at communication and collaboration.”
3 Ways Improv Can Improve Your Career – Fast Company