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Johnstone, Keith

Director and educator born in England, now living in Calgary, Alberta.

He performed with the Royal Court Theatre in London and taught at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before coming to Canada in the 1970s to teach acting at the University of Calgary.

Although he is the author of several plays, he is probably best known for his writings and studies of improvisation and his creation of the Theatresports, now an international movement of performance/improv.

Johnstone wanted to counter "the theatre of taxidermy" and to restore a sense of playfulness and spontaneity to performance. Through a series of games which he devised, "actors could discover freedom from stage nerves, a respect for the contribution of their fellow performers, a means of approaching text analysis and characterization and, above all, a joy in performing" (Reddick). He has invented many of the improv games the Theatresports chain uses, notably Micetro Impro, The Life Game and Gorilla Theatre.

In 1977 he founded the Loose Moose Theatre with Mel Tonkin, which performs theatresports and youth theatre, and he has held workshops in the United States, Europe, and Japan. He also founded the Theatre Machine improvisation group, and the International Theatresports Institute.

His books include Impro:Improvisation and the Theatre (1979) and Impro for Storytellers (1999). He also writes the Theatresports newsletter.

He is professor emeritus at the University of Calgary

Source: Grant Reddick. "Keith Johnstone," Theatre 100. Calgary: Alberta Playwrights Network, 2006.

Last updated 2006-12-18