Remembering Keith

Note: This is a reprint of a previous Improv Illusionist newsletter. If you’re not receiving my email newsletter, you can subscribe here and get my “Learning the Improv Illusion” series as a bonus.

Welcome to another issue of the Improv Illusionist Newsletter, a monthly update from me, David Raitt, with a focus on the improv skills of environment, object work, and physicality in character and performance. I’m honoured by your interest.

Hello out there.

I had a different topic planned for this month, but then got the sad news that Keith Johnstone has left us, just a few days past his 90th birthday.

I’ve always thought of Keith as the “godfather” of improv. While he hadn’t done much publicly in recent years, there was always the sense that any day he’d drop some great line of advice that would help us all get better. That chance is gone now, sadly. But we still have his work to draw from.

Despite many attempts, I never met Keith or took a class with him. But he’s had a profound effect on my life, and not just on the stage. So here I’ll share some links to help you get to know him better…

Remembering Keith Johnstone

Theatresports creator Keith Johnstone put performers in touch with their creativity
Remembering the great pioneer of improvisation.

Kids in the Hall, Loose Moose alumni pay tribute to Calgary improv pioneer Keith Johnstone
Great notes from alumni about Keith’s style of teaching.

Keith’s books

If you haven’t read Johnstone, you really should. His two major works are Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre and Impro for Storytellers.

They’re classics of practical advice, improv theory, and philosophy. Impro has also found mainstream interest as a business book through its exploration of status roles and creativity.

There’s also Keith Johnstone: A Critical Biography by Theresa Robbins Dudeck, which includes interviews with Keith, his colleagues, and former students, along with archival documents from Keith’s personal collection.

More for the Improv Illusionist

Emotional Safety Resources

Improv Exercises for Physical Skills

Improv Books — Reviews & Recommendations

Improv Podcasts — Reviews & Recommendations

Question(s) of the Month

What’s your opinion of Keith Johnstone’s style of improv teaching?

Hit Reply and share. I love to chat with readers, and it gives me ideas for future content to help the whole community.

Do you have any feedback about Improv Illusionist, either these newsletters or the website? Send me a message or just reply to this email. Seriously, I read and respond to just about everything.

See you again on May 4th.

Ex nihilo!

David Raitt - Headshot

Hi, I'm David Raitt. I've been performing and teaching improv and sketch comedy for over 25 years.
MY MISSION: To help improvisers everywhere (re-)learn the power of environment, object work, and physicality in character and performance.

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