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Why the Piven Technique?

“Piven not only provided me with a unique approach to theatre, it also offered an interesting approach to life. The games and techniques taught at Piven are based upon group interactions that help develop creativity, clarity of expression, a sense of humor, and sensitivity to the ideas and emotions of those around you. After six years of training at Piven, I found myself equipped with skills that enabled me to adapt to a variety of situations.”
Lynn Gettleman


Why Theatre Training?

Theatre training helps people, both young and old, become well-rounded, creative members of society.Watching and participating in theatre has been linked to benefits ranging from higher standardized test scores to improved social and emotional skills. Studying theatre gives students the opportunity to explore emotions in a safe environment while creating key connections within their peer group. Participants learn to empathize with characters of different backgrounds and viewpoints, fostering cultural competency in students of all ages.

Exposure to the arts in general and theatre specifically (especially within an improvisation-focused curriculum) encourages participants to have greater mental and emotional flexibility. Piven’s cohesive approach to theatre training, including training in improv, theatre games, scene study, and Story Theatre adaptation, produces alumni who are fluid thinkers who have the tools to be life-long learners in our ever- changing cultural landscape.

Why the Piven Technique?

At Piven, our focus on a theatre games and improv-based training technique encourages our students of all ages and skill levels to think creatively, to empathize with fellow ensemble members, to take bold risks in a safe environment, and to communicate both verbally and non-verbally on a sophisticated level. We’ve found that these skills translate to heightened acting skills and increased success in theatrical performances, as well as in a whole host of off-stage situations: navigating social groups, presenting in classroom and professional environments, and even improving focus and reading comprehension!

Piven’s theatre classes also harness the power of improvised play to create a sense of trust and community in each classroom, valuing the contributions of each individual’s voice while also teaching students the power of genuine connection within a group. While many of our students and alumni have found great professional success in the entertainment industry, we find that the greatest value of our training is the increased confidence and sense of belonging that our students emerge from our classrooms with—and all of the fun they have along the way!

Check out these resources to learn more about how training like Piven’s is linked to success on stage, in the classroom, and beyond:

“I was able to grow in the Workshop’s supportive atmosphere.  I found myself doing things I never thought I would or could do. The games opened me up and brought out the best in me.”
Syd Lieberman

Alum / Storyteller

“Byrne and Joyce, you have created a magical space, opened hearts, nurtured fragile talent, and fueled imagination for more than a quarter of a century.”
John Cusack

Alum / Actor

“I owe most of the fruits of my career to Byrne and Joyce Piven and the Piven Theatre Workshop and, on behalf of the countless others who can say the same, we thank you!”
Aidan Quinn

Alum / Actor