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Unlocking Creativity and Connection Through Improv

Image of people about to enter a comedy theater for a show

October 19, 2023

Highlighting community organizations engaged in inclusive work is essential at the Autism Institute because we believe in spotlighting community partners and their work that contributes to a more inclusive Philadelphia. This month we are featuring Philly Improve Theater. Improv, short for improvisational theater, is a unique form of performing arts where actors create scenes, stories, and characters on the spot without a script. It's a dynamic art form that encourages spontaneity, creativity, and collaboration. For many, improv is a fantastic way to develop communication skills, boost self-confidence, and connect with others. Adam Taupin, PsyD, started doing improv in 2013 to reconnect with others after a breakup, "I was socially isolated and feeling socially anxious. Through improv, I discovered humor can be empowering."

Dr. Taupin is a practicing psychologist in Philadelphia. He works with adults with depression and anxiety, couples, and children and adults with autism. Improv sparked his interest in infusing comedy techniques into his work. This also led him to create a course, "Improv 099 for Autism Spectrum," for the Philly Improv Theater.

Philly Improv Theater aims for its audiences, casts, and instructors to reflect the diversity of voices in Philadelphia so everyone can be seen and heard. While it may seem intimidating to some, improv is a highly accessible and adaptable medium, making it an excellent choice for individuals of all backgrounds. Improv has an array of benefits for everyone who participates. Some of these include improved communication skills, social interaction with peers, a safe space to express creativity, the experience of laughter, and providing a sense of belonging.

"For me, if I'm not being creative, I feel stagnant in my life and career. Self-expression and creativity help me stay curious about my internal experience and help me reap the rewards for my mental health," Dr. Taupin mentioned when asked about the importance of creativity and how it benefits his life personally. He noted that everyone is creative even if they don't feel like they are. Improv courses are a great environment to explore that creativity. A former student of Dr. Taupin's improv course has continued his journey in comedy and is now taking Improv 201. Creativity can be an empowering and transformative experience. It provides participants with valuable life skills and opportunities to build connections in a supportive community. The world of improv is genuinely a stage where everyone can shine.

For more information about the course and how you can enroll, please visit