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Harrison Brookie: Improv Comedy for Organizations

In this episode, we dive into the world of improv with Harrison Brookie, the Executive Director of Alchemy Comedy Theater. Harrison shares his journey into improv, starting from a theater requirement in college to leading a successful comedy theater in Greenville, South Carolina. He explains the essence of Alchemy Comedy, highlighting their weekly shows, classes, and corporate training programs.

Harrison’s journey began with a simple requirement: participate in a theater production during his time as an education major at Clemson University. Seeking the least demanding option, he stumbled upon improv. What started as a convenient choice turned into a passion that has now spanned two decades.

Alchemy Comedy Theater, named after the concept of transforming the mundane into something precious, offers a range of classes from beginner to advanced levels. These classes teach students how to create something out of nothing, turning audience suggestions into comedy gold. The theater also engages in corporate training, demonstrating the practical applications of improv in the workplace.

Harrison delves into how improv skills are relevant to management and working with people. He emphasizes the importance of the “Yes, and” principle, where accepting and building on ideas fosters creativity and collaboration. This mindset encourages teams to explore the potential in every idea, leading to innovative solutions that no one person could have conceived alone.

One notable concept Harrison shares is the idea of adding “1% weird” to interactions. This principle encourages participants to spot and highlight unique, interesting aspects of a situation, making interactions more engaging and memorable. This approach not only makes business processes more enjoyable but also helps in identifying patterns and generating creative solutions.

Harrison also discusses the importance of ensemble thinking in improv, which parallels effective teamwork in any organization. He draws from his experience as a high school U.S. history teacher, illustrating how improv techniques enhance storytelling and engage students. He highlights the value of collaboration, where multiple perspectives and contributions lead to a richer and more dynamic outcome.

In a nonprofit context, Harrison explains how improv principles can be applied to team meetings and problem-solving. By fostering a culture of openness and humor, nonprofits can tackle serious issues like hunger with a fresh perspective. He encourages leaders to take themselves less seriously, allowing for a more relaxed environment where creativity can flourish.

Finally, Harrison underscores the role of leadership in creating a trusting and collaborative environment. He shares an anecdote about a CEO learning to accept feedback, illustrating the impact of genuine openness and the willingness to let others take the reins.

Tune in to this insightful episode to learn how the art of improv can transform your approach to leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving in the nonprofit sector.

Guest: Harrison Brookie, Executive Director of Alchemy Comedy Theater

Host: Beth Ellen Holimon

Podcast: The Hive Collective Podcast

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For more information about Alchemy Comedy Theater, visit:

@Beth Ellen Holimon

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