The Quest takes place in three parts:

  • the improv workshop in which participants are introduced to the Quest and the skills needed to carry it out,
  • The Quest itself and then
  • the final part—gathering together and storytelling.


During the workshop, participants are introduced to the Quest, and through a series of interactive exercises, they learn some basic improv skills  (including presence, attention, listening, agreement and letting go) needed to embark on The Quest. Then, during a short ceremony,  participants are given the signs and symbols intended to help guide their Quest. More information on the signs and symbols can be found below.

The Quest

The Quest was initially intended to be a 24-hour activity, however, if available time is limited, it is possible to do a shorter Quest. The Quest can be as short as a few hours or as long as 24 hours, or for some, even longer. It should be noted that participants do not need to stay awake for the entire experience.
The general instructions for The Quest itself are quite simple: informed by the skills learned in the workshop and guided by your signs and symbols, go out into the world with an improvisational mindset and attempt to sustain that mindset for the duration of the exercise. At the conclusion of the Quest, reflect on that experience, and see what insights are revealed as a part of that process.


At the end of The Quest, participants gather together to share their stories of their journey. The storytelling is a key component of the Quest, helps to clarify the experience, tease out additional insights and enhance the group mind.  An optional component to the experience is to add a storytelling performance as part of the plan, so that participants can then share their stories in a more formal performative setting.

Additional Details

Time Needed

  • Workshop: 2-4 hours depending on number of participants.
  • Quest: 2-24 Hours
  • Storytelling: 2-4 Hours
  • Performance:(optional):2-3 Hours


There are several ways to structure the Quest:

Single Day

For those interested in embarking on a shorter Quest, the  workshop can be structured to take place in a single day—with the workshop in the morning, the Quest at mid-day and the story-sharing in the late afternoon or evening.

Two or More Days

For those embarking on a 24-hour Quest, two or more days are needed.

For example the workshop can take place on a Thursday evening, participants can embark on their Quest, then, 24-hours later, gather together again on Friday evening, to share their stories.
Alternately, to allow more flexibility with when to begin and end the Quest, the workshop can be held, participants can decide when to begin their Quest (in the allotted time frame) then the storytelling can take place a few days following. For example, a workshop Wednesday night,  then the Quest (at time selected by participants) and the story sharing on Sunday evening.

Materials needed

  • Room large enough for participants to stand in a circle move about the room.
  • Chairs for all participants and facilitator
  • Table
  • Whiteboard or flip chart.
  • Small notebooks and pens/pencils for participants to record experiences

Number of participants

The Quest can be done for 1-40 participants.

Materials provided by facilitator

  • Symbols
  • completion medallions (unless otherwise noted)

What are the symbols?

Prior to embarking on their Quest, each of the participants is given a sign or symbol to help guide their journey.  Generally participants are given two cards: one with a color (red or silver) and the other with one of the five elements (earth, air, fire, water, metal).

The cards and distribution can be customized based on the needs of the group. For example, the cards can be changed to reflect a specific prompt or challenge, participants can each be given the same symbol. Participants can also co-create the symbol cards together.

Why are they used?

In many improv exercises or games the players ask the audience for a suggestion or a theme, these suggestions can be very specific, or very general but the players use them as a source of inspiration and guidance to begin their scenes and games. Similarly, the symbols help guide the participants on the Quest and help focus their attention, identify patterns, and find inspiration.