Where Parents and Kids Communicate and Play Together

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Upcoming Events:

January 22, 2021 8pm - 9pm FREE (Suggested Donation of $10)

Improv your child's "RAM" - free one night workshop

Register here


A Parent Workshop where we Practice Games that you can play with your kids to improve Resilence, Adaptability & Mindset

“Hey Mom, Hey Dad, what is school going to be like this year? 

“Who’s my teacher going to be?” 

“What days am I going? Am I going?” 

“When’s the next time I’m actually going to be in a room with a friend?"


It’s a time when, as parents, we don’t have the answers, but we know the tools we want to equip our kids with: Resilience, Adaptability, and a Mindset that enables them to learn and grow no matter what the situation. That’s where improv comes in: because, at its heart, improv is the practice of taking any information at all and turning it into something useful. 


In this parent-to-parent workshop, we’re going to use improv games to address how our kids are taking on their schoolwork, the challenges of socializing, and the frustrations of collaborating while working online. You’ll leave this workshop with actionable “games” that will get your kids saying “Yes, And” to the adventures presented to them in our new normal.

"Thanks so much for another great worshop. What should be so obvious isn't. We all need more 'yes,and...' practice in life, and especially with our little ones." - Yvette 

"Just wanted to thank you guys again for these past 6 six weeks. It’s made a huge difference for me - and my family as a result, and feel like mindset is shifting. I also somehow have more energy after each class! Which is hard for me to do!" - Joseph  


To Register email us here


Past Events:

October 29th, Nov 5th and 12th 2020 8pm-9pm ($50)

Improv Your Child's "Ram"

A Parent Workshop where we Practice Games that you can play with your kids to improve Resilence, Adaptability & Mindset

A 3 week deep dive into conversation, support and improv games to help parents develop their muscles around Resilience, Adaptability & Mindset. Each class tackles one of these topics and with takeaways to play with their kids!


Register HERE

September 18th, 2020 8pm - 9pm FREE (Suggested Donation of $10)

Improv Your Child's "Ram"

True Play Improv Online for New York Public Library August 27th, 2020

True Play Improv Online for Brooklyn Public Library July 3rd, 2020

True Play Improv Online for Brooklyn Public Library April 11th, 2020

May 12,  19, June 2, 9  2pm-3pm

4 week True Play Class (Ages 3-5 with Parent / Caregiver)

In every class, we play games that develop an improv mindset for a changing world! When we practice improv, we practice adapting to surprises and changes in environment, doing it with positivity, and using all information as blocks to build on. We'll play fun, collaborative games that help solidify the concepts of listening attentively, finding agreement and making connections in information and feelings. When Parents and kids do improv together, they create habits of communication that can help them anywhere, at any time. They play as partners, and share so many laughs that you can’t help knowing you’ve had a positive play experience. $125 for Parent and Child!

May 12, 19 June 2, 9 (3-4pm)

4 Week True Play Class (Ages 6-9 with Parent/Caregiver)

Improv gets us into the habit of trying new things. In doing that, it helps us learn faster. In this age group, parents can worry about how much time their kids are spending on screens, how they’re interacting with other kids, and how they can keep the connection of play in their lives. In this class, we'll use more character-based games and narratives to connect our fun to the ideas and concepts kids are learning in school, as well as do scenework that helps us recognize and deal with emotions. When Parents and kids do improv together, they create habits of communication that can help them anywhere, at any time. They play as partners, and share so many laughs that you can’t help knowing you’ve had a positive play experience. $125 for both Parent and Child together!

Sunday, February 11, 3-3:45pm, $3

Family Improv Jam at the PIT!

Sometimes you just want to play! So we host the No Peanut Butter & Jam at the People's Improv Theater! Parents and kids, come on over, hop up onto the stage, and play some fast-paced, shortform improv games. 

February 16 @9am

Math-tery at PS 69

Free for District 30 parents! We're thrilled to bring Math-tery back to District 30, thanks to a grant from Councilman Danny Dromm. Parents laugh, engage, and see in real time how improv training helps us communicate with our kids about Common Core Math

March 4, 6:30-8:30pm

Listen Agree & Laugh Party

Bring your kids to play in the play area, while parents play with communication skills and enjoy some adult talk and wine & cheese.

$25 per family. Please RSVP to sunnysideplays@gmail.com or call 929-328-0757

January 20, 7-8:30

LAL with Wine and Cheese at Sunnyside Plays

Join us for a Parents-Only evening with fun friends and adult-friendly refreshments. We'll enjoy some grown-up to grown-up conversation and walk away with some new tools for our parent tool belts

$25 per individual or couple, please RSVP to sunnysideplays@gmail.com or 929-328-0757

January 8, 11 am

True Play at Sunnyside Plays

Join us for True Play at beautiful Sunnyside Plays - 43-09 48th Avenue, in Queens!
Parents and kids (ages 3-6) are invited to play together.
Kids are invited to stay for Open Play until 4:00 pm!
Refreshments will be served following the workshop.

$25 per family; Please RSVP to sunnysideplays@gmail.com or 929-328-0757


Improv: Applied to help families grow together

Our Programs

When we began improvising 20 years ago, we quickly realized that it was changing the way we listened, the way we saw problems, and the way we asserted ourselves.

It has also changed the way we parent. Which shouldn't have been a surprise.

When Viola Spolin started teaching theater games to kids in a community center on the south side of Chicago, her goals weren't to create comedy, but rather to improve communication and confidence. We all long for our kids to engage in more creative play and less gadgetry, but we might be unsure how to actually "play."

This is a new way to offer parent workshops, in which everyone is on their feet, everyone is engaged, and laughing while genuinely practicing impactful skills that they can bring directly to their families. So come join us and play.

True Play

Our original Workshop - for Parents & Kids together. In every True Play class: Parents and kids build stories together. Kids sometimes lead their parents. Kids agree with their parents - it’s a RULE! We practice active listening. Everyone laughs, without the pressure of a performance. In this class, you will again play together and improve communication in a fun way. This is not a performance class, this is a class for parents and kids to use the many beneficial aspects of improv training to really have a great time together while building a stronger bond.

LAL: Listen, Agree, and Laugh

In LAL (Listen, Agree & Laugh) Workshops, parents get a chance to talk and play grown-up to grown-up, and discuss the ideas behind the exercises. It's still fast-paced and interactive - while giving both a conceptual understanding of the principles of communication and live, fun practice in different ways to share them with your kids.It's an energizing workshop filled with laughter and shared experiences: from parents to parents.

Word Play

Improv for Reading. Here's an interesting stat: in Scholastic's Kids and Family Reading Report, 83% of kids aged 6-17 either like or LOVE being read to. Reading with our kids is a fantastic way to stay close.In this workshop, we use improv and storytelling tools to develop expressive reading skills - whether you're reading to your kids or helping them along their reading journeys. We play with environment and character. We practice skills to improve retention, active listening, and to make reading even more fun, so that your kids can't wait to open up their next book with you.


Improv Mindset for Math. In a study at the University of Chicago, emotional awareness and control was shown to be just as important to a student's success as talent, and a mindset of "What can I learn" from this problem is far more important than "how do I solve it."In this workshop, we use improvisation to recognize and guide our emotions, and to encourage the sense of "getting lost so we can find our way". We give parents tools to help our kids in math EVEN WHEN WE DON'T KNOW THE ANSWERS OURSELVES.


"I have never seen a room filled with adults laugh so much, have so much fun, while learning these valuable skills. They became confident with the full realization that play and laughter can lead to more open relaxed communication. I can’t think of a better way to foster the connection between parent and child."

NYC District 30 Administrator

"I've already used what I learned in the workshop while reading to my daughter”

Parent & Workshop Participant


Who We Are

Meet Pat & Mary

Mary Theresa Archbold and Pat Shay are the CoFounders of True Play Improv and hosts of the Funny Parents Podcast and are a married couple with two kids.


They are also lifelong improvisers and improv teachers who have worked for Second City, iO Chicago, The Magnet Theater, The Peoples Improv Theater and have taught many workshops across the nation. As performers they have appeared on TV (Bull, FBI, Blacklist, Law & Order: SVU), as well as creating a two person sketch comedy show, Jazz hand, that enjoyed an invited performance at The Kennedy Center.


In addition to their stage experience, Pat uses an improv foundation in his work as a personal skills coach for many organizations, including Columbia Business School, Wharton, and throughout the Americas for a global financial institution. Mary has used improv as a teaching artist at schools across Manhattan and Queens to help classes develop original theater productions. As a storyteller she has been featured on This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour, and Risk!


As well, they are teachers for Queens Theatre's "Theater for All" program, helping to train young artists with disabilities for a professional career in the arts.


Contact Me

Learn more about our programming, or reach out to schedule a workshop with your group or school!


A NYC DOE Vendor