Artistic Teaching

ERLNMYR > Teaching > Artistic Teaching

Who is Ben as a teacher?

Ben Ver­ho­even is a pro­fes­sion­al impro­vis­er and teacher from Antwerp, Bel­gium. He’s co-founder and man­ag­ing direc­tor of Swaa­jp Improthe­ater, co-direc­tor of Were­wolves the improv show, per­former with Prism and Com­motie musi­cal improv, and he has his own com­pa­ny ERLNMYR com­bin­ing impro­vi­sa­tion and sci­ence com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Since start­ing impro­vi­sa­tion in 2011, Ben has per­formed over 150 shows in ten dif­fer­ent coun­tries and in three dif­fer­ent languages.

Ben teach­es impro­vi­sa­tion at Con­ser­va­to­ri­um Meche­len. Every so often he offers work­shops to dif­fer­ent the­ater groups in Bel­gium and abroad (India, Ger­many, New Zealand, France, Slove­nia, The Nether­lands). He’s a found­ing mem­ber of The SIN, an inter­na­tion­al net­work for ambi­tious impro­vis­ers in Europe. Ben believes that play­ing through emo­tions and a character’s point of view, leads impro­vis­ers to find­ing more beau­ti­ful sto­ries to put on stage.

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My workshops

Assist­ing some­one sculpt their own tal­ent, that’s what teach­ing is all about for Ben. He loves shar­ing his pas­sion for impro­vi­sa­tion­al the­ater with oth­er the­ater groups and fes­ti­vals, in order to broad­en everyone’s hori­zon. A work­shop in improv the­ater is only suc­cess­ful if it helps both pupils and teacher become stronger, smarter and more enthusiastic! 

Below you find the descrip­tion of the dif­fer­ent work­shops ERLNMYR pro­vides. All these work­shops are avail­able in Eng­lish, Dutch and French. 

We can always adapt or cre­ate a work­shop to your wish­es. For inquiries, please send us a mes­sage

Participant Testimonials

A laboratory of impro rules

Which impro rules do you strive to play by? Which improv tips do you believe in? Well, pre­pare to have your beliefs chal­lenged. In this lab­o­ra­to­ry we will exper­i­ment and play with the rules. This inves­ti­ga­tion will help us gain under­stand­ing in the how, why and when of such rules. Noth­ing is true until proven! Home­work: think of the improv rule that you per­son­al­ly swear by and bring it to class. 

Pathos and passion

The most reward­ing moment doing improv, is the absolute silence that engulfs a the­atre dur­ing an emo­tion­al scene. When you reach this absolute silence, you real­ize that you’ve man­aged to cap­ti­vate your audi­ence. That you’ve moved them and that they hold their breath in sus­pense as the scene unfolds.

One impor­tant aspect for cre­at­ing such moments is show­ing hon­est emo­tions. This work­shop is about exploit­ing real and nuanced emo­tions to make your audi­ence care. We will use act­ing exer­cis­es to expe­ri­ence how our face, voice and body changes when feel­ing spe­cif­ic emo­tions. We will ana­lyze those changes and employ them to inject ten­sion into a scene. If you invest in your scene, the audi­ence will invest in you.

Keeping up appearances

Some­times when impro­vis­ing a scene, we don’t know where we’re head­ed, oth­er times we are sur­prised by our partner’s offer.  In both cas­es, we don’t want our audi­ence to notice this. Show­ing con­fi­dence by hid­ing our doubt as an actor is the key to make this work.

In this work­shop we will work on con­fi­dent­ly mak­ing bold offers, but also fol­low our part­ners’ strong offers with just as much con­fi­dence. While the actor some­times doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing, the char­ac­ter always knows. Con­fi­dence will become our sec­ond nature.

Werewolves, the improv show

Were­wolves is an impro­vised the­atre show based on the pop­u­lar game Were­wolves of Miller’s Hol­low. The actors play out the sto­ry of a vil­lage which is struck by a were­wolf curse. Every night, an inno­cent vil­lager is mur­dered. In this show it’s not the play­ers, but the audi­ence who has to unmask and exe­cute the were­wolves. Togeth­er with Sytse Wilman, Ben co-directs a Dutch-Bel­gian ensem­ble that per­forms this show at inter­na­tion­al festivals.

In this work­shop, you will learn to per­form this show full of blood-thirsty wolves and inno­cent vil­lagers. Step by step we go through its dif­fer­ent phas­es and learn the essen­tial tech­niques that help to con­vinc­ing­ly per­form it. We pay spe­cial atten­tion to build­ing atmos­phere, cre­at­ing sus­pense and envi­sion­ing the stage picture.

Songs with structure

In this work­shop, we learn dif­fer­ent struc­tures for impro­vised songs. We dive into some new and refur­bished ideas that are guar­an­teed to impress your audi­ence. Par­tic­i­pants are expect­ed to have pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence with musi­cal improvisation.

This work­shop is taught togeth­er with the amaz­ing pianist Ing­mar Das­seville. The mate­r­i­al for this work­shop is devel­oped dur­ing rehearsals with the musi­cal impro­vi­sa­tion ensem­ble Com­motie.

Nature’s call

Peo­ple are born with the abil­i­ty to move, to see, to lis­ten, to touch, to taste and … to make music. This work­shop is about using the very first instru­ment that nature has pro­vid­ed us with: our voice. In this work­shop we learn to make our own sound­track on stage. We will build up songs with beats, har­monies and melodies and learn to use them for both sup­port­ing our scenes with music, as for singing ful­ly impro­vised a capel­la songs.