Comedy in the Classroom

innovative teaching in higher education, using the performing arts to engage and inspire students


We’re working on this – come back soon to find resources to help you create comedy in your own classroom!

You are welcome to use any of our movies in your own teaching – please credit us, and let us know the course you’re using it for, so we have an idea how the idea is spreading. And if you’d like a high-quality version of our movies, please get in touch and we’ll send you a dvd.

We will also be collecting together our articles, news stories and conference presentations about Comedy in the Classroom. Come back soon!

Here are some of our favourite people and sites that you might enjoy:

About Theoretical Theatre

Gravey, V., Hargreaves, T., Lorenzoni, I. and Seyfang, G. (2017) Theoretical Theatre: Harnessing The Power Of Comedy To Teach Social Science Theory 3S Working Paper 2017-30. Norwich: Science, Society and Sustainability Research Group

a revised version of this paper is now published in on open-access online journal:

Gravey, V., Hargreaves, T., Lorenzoni, I. and Seyfang, G. (2017) Theoretical Theatre: Harnessing The Power Of Comedy To Teach Social Science Theory, Journal of Contemporary European Research Vol 13(3)


Performance and improvisation skills in practice

Charlotte Arculus – performance coach – training and workshops

Drama Resource – creative ideas for teaching drama. Norwich-based drama consultant and trainer David Farmer’s fantastic website – includes loads of simple ‘drama games’ (also the subject of his book 101 Drama Games) which can all be used as ice-breakers to get a group talking to each other and having fun. Also has lots of ideas about how to integrate role-play and improvisation games into the whole curriculum – written for schoolchildren but equally applicable for HE!

Applied improvisation Network – using improv games to teach transferable leadership skills. This network has some fantastic resources and reading lists – aimed at professionals in any field.

Humor That Worksusing humour in professional and educational settings to aid learning

Presentation Zen – top public speaking tips

Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk – your body language shapes who you are (power posing)


Improv Comedy will change the world – Jennifer Hunter’s TEDx talk


Improv to be a better human being – Galen Emanuele’s TEDxBellingham talk

Academic research on performance, comedy and improvisation in teaching

Berk, R.A., 2014. “ Last Professor Standing!”: PowerPoint Enables All Faculty to Use Humor in Teaching. The Journal of Faculty Development, 28(3), pp.81–87.

Berk, R.A. & Trieber, R.H., 2009. Whose classroom is it, anyway? Improvisation as a teaching tool. 20(3), pp.29–60.

Brecht, M., 2014. Conceiving Class Discussion as Improvisational Comedy. Teaching Theology & Religion, 17(1), pp.79–79.

Bresler, L. & Latta, M., 2008. Teacher as Performer. International Journal of Education the Arts, 9(2), pp.1–20.

Hackbert, P.H., 2010. Using Improvisational Exercises in General Education to Advance Creativity, Inventiveness and Innovation. US-China Education Review, 7(10), pp.10–21.

Lee, B.K. et al., 2015. The Effect of Drama-Based Pedagogy on PreK-16 Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis of Research From 1985 to 2012. Review of Educational Research, 85(1), pp.3–49.

McCarron, K. & Baden, M.S., 2008. Compering and comparing: stand‐up comedy and pedagogy. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 45(4), pp.355–363.

Moon, J., 2016. Oral Storytelling, Centre for Excellence in Media Practice, Bournemouth University.