Reborn at 50! Chicago's original school of improvisation, Players Workshop, reopens with a new mission

Reborn at 50! Chicago's original school of improvisation, Players Workshop, reopens with a new mission
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After a 15-year break, Players Workshop — Chicago's original school of improvisation — is reopening to encourage people from all walks of life to study improvisation and apply the skills to everyday work, life and play.

CHICAGO: PLAYERS WORKSHOP, the original school of improvisation in Chicago opening in 1970, is reopening its doors just in time for a 50th anniversary celebration next year. New owner Jeff Rogers, actor, creative director, and motivational speaker (Class of '89), has brought back founder Josephine Forsberg's daughter Linnea Forsberg ('70) and former teacher Doug Voegtle ('81) to recreate the safe learning environment for which Players Workshop was famous.

The improvisation school started by Chicago theater icon Jo Forsberg (a founding member of The Second City), continues to offer individuals and teams from all backgrounds the opportunity to enhance everyday life with newfound creative skills via classes and workshops.

Bonnie Hunt ('85), actress, director/writer, and graduate of Players Workshop says, "I'm forever grateful for all I gained from the Players Workshop experience — so many life enhancing skills, like listening, observing, teamwork, confidence, slowing down yet thinking fast, the value of every idea, and the joy of observing and celebrating all the characters in your life."

Past graduates of Players Workshop also include celebrities like Bill and Brian-Doyle Murray, Amy Sedaris, David Pasquesi, George Wendt, Harold Ramis, Shelley Long, Bob Odenkirk, and David Mamet to name a few. The school estimates that it taught the art form to tens of thousands since 1970.

David Pasquesi ('82), from Veep, Lodge 49, and At Home With Amy Sedaris, says, "I found something in improvisation that I had not been exposed to before... and I really liked it. I still like it for the same reason: It's an adventure."

"Mom always felt that the lives of our students could be a work of art — that the skills we learn through the tenets of improvisation can be used to create a better life experience," says Linnea Forsberg, an instructor at the original Players Workshop from 1970 to 2004.

"Our core curriculum, which encourages people to play fearlessly, listen fully, and live in the moment, is a valuable foundation for all adult learners. In fact, improvisation is a life skill which is now being taught in MBA programs at Duke, MIT, UCLA, and Stanford and at major companies like Google, Pepsi, Motorola Solutions, and GM," says Rogers.

New classes will be offered at the Pendulum Theatre, 1803 W. Byron Street, #216, Chicago, IL starting September 16th, 2019.

Founded in 1970 and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Players Workshop is a for-profit school that creates a safe atmosphere where adults from all walks of life are encouraged to learn improvisational theatre skills and apply what they learn to their everyday life, work and play. All workshop facilitators are graduates of the Players Workshop.