International Arts Centre

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CBI process

What is the Character-Based Improvisation Process?

     Character-based Improvisation (CBI) Process begins with the director working directly with the actor, one-on-one, to create a character.

     There is no script, and the focus is on the whole character: where they grew up, what their parents are like, etc, etc – and moves through all aspects of the character’s life.

     Discussions with the director, research by the actor and a great many improvisations enable both to construct a detailed character.

     There is no script and seemingly there is no emphasis on drama for its own sake – though all the elements of future dramatic development are being sown into the character’s very being. Initially, each actor works separately with the director so that the integrity of their character is not affected by knowledge of other characters: this ‘secrecy’ becomes another tool in the construction of character – and is a very effective acting aid.

     Because of the way the improvisations are structured, the actor’s understanding of the character – and the character’s emotions – becomes really strong. All the while the process is drawing from ‘lived reality’ – life as it is observed to be.


Character Based Improvisation



As developed by Mike Leigh



A five-day workshop

for filmmakers, actors and drama practitioners

conducted by

Robert Marchand

Zagreb, Croatia, 19.10. - 23.10.  2018