Patricia Ryan Madson


  Improv teacher 

I am the author of IMPROV WISDOM: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up  (Bell Tower, 2005) and a professor Emerita from Stanford University where I began teaching in 1977.  In the Drama Department I served as the head of the undergraduate acting division and developed the improvisation program. I founded and coached the Stanford Improvisors and taught beginning and advanced level courses in improvisation for undergraduate as well as adults in Stanford's Continuing Studies Program.

In 1998 I won the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Outstanding Innovation in Undergraduate Education.  In 1996 I founded the Creativity Initiative at Stanford, an interdisciplinary alliance of faculty who share the belief that creativity can be taught.  I had the pleasure of teaching Design Improv for the School of Engineering, and have been a guest lecturer for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program and for the Mayfield Fellows Program.

Regularly I am on the faculty at the Esalen Institute, and I have given workshops for the California Institute for Integral Studies, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, the National Association of Drama Therapists, the Western Psychological Association, Duke University East Asian Studies Center, Wellness in the Workplace for BC University and for the Meaningful Life Therapy Association in Japan.

My corporate clients have included:  Google, Gap Inc.'s Executive Leadership Team, The Lucille and David Packard Foundation, the Banff Centre for Leadership, the National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), Hewlett Packard, Digital Impact, IDEO, the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), the Association for YMCA Professionals (AYP),  Sun Microsystems Japan Division, Extempo Systems, Apple Computers, Adobe Systems, the Santa Fe Leadership Center and Price Waterhouse.

I am happiest when I am improvising in the classroom, helping to solve a problem or painting watercolor au plein aire.