Poetry Expo 24 / 22 February 2024

Improvisation & Poetry Workshop

Poetry Expo 24

Would you rather start a poem from a suggestion or with a blank page? How often do you play? How do you hold the need for both safety and freedom in your life or in your creative practice?

Even if you have a regular writing practice or you don’t, but you are interested in living a more creative life, you are welcome to improvise! We will explore what happens to our creativity when we handle both safety and freedom by playing improvisation games for poetry. The method is inspired by the principles and exercises created by educator and acting coach Viola Spolin, considered the mother of modern improvisation.

In the middle of the 20th century, Viola Spolin started using improvisation "games" within the migrant community in Chicago. She adapted focused "play" to unlock the individual's capacity for creative self-expression. Ok, maybe improvisation is not telling you much. Let’s look outside of it. In Art-Therapy, therapists are trained to not present the participant from the beginning with a total blank page, but to gradually increase the exposure to the “void”. In parenting, one of the most effective strategies is The Circle of Security that gradually increases the distance between parent and child. Besides this, recent studies show the value of “social prescribing”, enabling medical General Practitioners to refer people to non-clinical services to support their health and wellbeing, like ... theatre or poetry.

Let’s meet and play!

The project is part of the subtheme Mental health narratives in poetry.


Maria Carbunaru

Maria Carbunaru is a Romanian cultural anthropologist, educator, poet and improviser living in Portugal. She is using improvisation theatre and spoken word poetry methods to support young people and adults reconnect with their creative powers, vitality, and community. She is the founder of The Improvisation Theatre School “ACTitude” and the coordinator of the European Spoken Word Poetry training program “ConVersations”. Editor of two youth poetry magazines, and two manuals for educators and youth workers, she has offered intensive trainings and performances in Europe, Caucasus and North Africa. She has once been a Master of Ceremony at friend's wedding and she loved it.

You can find her at: