Motion Theater®

Seriously Fun, Curiously Addictive

Nina Wise has shaped Bay Area improvisational theater since she founded Motion decades ago. To watch her perform her unique form of theater art is delighting and enlightening. She shares personal stories that morph into critical reflections on our times. Her method is addictively fun, as promised, but also personally and culturally transformational. She brings a sparkling intellect and animated physicality to her own performances and to the students and actors she mentors.

My work with Motion Theatre: Website Content, Homepage Description, Tagline

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Improvisation as Art Form and Transformational Practice

An original form of autobiographical improvisation, Motion Theater is simultaneously performance art and a refreshingly authentic spiritual practice. Created by award-winning Bay Area performer Nina Wise, Motion has been described by both participants and audiences as funny, moving, liberating and transformational. Motion is playful, mindful self-expression where you’re likely to experience a freer more spontaneous you.

When you become addicted to what frees you instead of to what keeps you unhappy, your life changes.

— Nina Wise

Autobiographical Improvisation

Motion Theater is autobiographical improvisation practiced in solo, duet, trio and ensemble forms. Motion has a strong movement component, so we teach movement as part of the training. It has a strong narrative element. So we teach what we call writing on your feet, as the narrative is spoken rather than written for the page. Combining these elements, the body as well as the voice is used for a full-out form of improvised autobiographical expression.

Take A Motion Workshop

Take a workshop and become part of the welcoming, growing Motion community. Move like you’ve never moved. Sing, growl, chant. Tell the stories only you can tell. Feel lighter, wiser, sweeter, and, yes, hungry for more Motion. Take a Motion Theater workshop and feel a bone-deep, soul-deep liberation.

In a Motion Theater class, you’ll:

Warm up your body and voice

Move freely in response to your inner impulses

Play theater games that free you up and generate well-being

Integrate sound, narrative, and movement

Embody and tell your personal narrative

Begin to weave your personal narrative

Learn techniques that will help you respond to and support partners

Hone the elements of storytelling.

Nina Wise, Performance Artist and Motion Theater’s Founder

Nina Wise has given solo performances and taught Motion Theater in prestigious venues in the U.S., South America, Europe and Asia. She’s won awards for playwriting, innovative design and new theatre, including three NEA fellowships and seven Bay Area Theater Critics’ Circle Awards. After having many shorter writings appear in magazines and anthologies, Nina wrote: “A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life” (Broadway Books) to give people who aren’t able to take a Motion workshop a way to move their stories out and live freer happier lives.

Since I was a student, earning degrees in religious studies and the aesthetics of movement, I’ve been dedicated to understanding the relationship of body, mind, and spirit. I’ve sought out everyone from great choreographers such as Twyla Tharpe, Anna Halprin and Margy Jenkins to spiritual teachers such as Jack Kornfield and HWJ Poonjaji to chaos theorists, neuroscientists, cosmologists and economists in an endlessly fascinating journey. Early on, I discovered that the body holds knowledge the mind knows nothing of and, that if given voice, those understandings can fuel and free the spirit. This is why I created Motion Theater. I wanted to give people a way to transform their lives through self-expression.

— Nina Wise

Nina lives in San Rafael, California. She teaches workshops and performs worldwide.