Oriana Gilmore

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Once a week, students at Winthrop University come together to play different acting games and hone their improvisation skills.

Improv This is a student-run theater club devoted to the acting method, which often uses comedy and forces actors to be spontaneous and perform unplanned and unscripted scenes.

The group, which meets every Thursday, is open to all students and majors at Winthrop.

Members met April 11 to introduce the new leadership for the 2019-2020 academic year, who were leading their first meeting.

“I think (improv) is important for theater, because sometimes somebody can drop their line and you can drop a whole page full of dialogue and you’re just going to have to pick it up and pretend like nothing happened,” said Jude Cuttinoe, an art education major and the new social media manager for the group.

Cuttinoe, who is minoring in theatre, said she joined the group because she enjoys improv.

As social media manager, she’ll be responsible for promoting the group and managing the club’s social media accounts, but she said she also hopes to contribute in other ways.

“Something I wanted to bring to this group, was to add a more serious side to improv. That’s what I want to accomplish,” she said Cuttinoe.

The new officers led the group in various games, intended to expose members to unique situations, acting techniques and the challenge of portraying different characters.

Improv This 2
Improv This often plays games intended to expose members to unique situations, acting techniques and characters (photo: Oriana Gilmore).

For example, one game called “Television” features a person pretending to watch television while a group of three or four other students pretend to be characters on a TV show.

The club brainstorms ideas or themes for the TV characters to act out.

The person “watching television” can choose whatever channel they would like to watch, but the students performing have to use the same theme for each channel, such as Comedy Central, Disney or MTV.

“I just love the fact that it’s just such a good atmosphere and it’s so supportive,” said Laura Munson, vice president of the group.

Munson, a junior integrated marketing communication major and theatre minor, said the “positive vibes” is what first drew her the group.

“We try to make it a no judgement zone and it’s also just a really nice release after everybody’s had a really stressful week with classes,” she said.

Improv This meets every Thursday at 10:30 p.m. in the Acting Studio of Johnson Hall.