29 Improv Opening Lines to Try

Improv starters that suggest characters and settings for student actors

Onstage theater training includes running lines on stage

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Here are 29 opening lines—improv starters—to get two-person improvisations jump-started. Each line is created to give the student actors a sense of the characters and setting for an improvised scene.


  1. Print this page and cut the paper into strips—one line per strip.
  2. Put the strips into a “hat”—a container.
  3. Assemble student actors into groups of two scene partners.
  4. Explain that one student actor per pair will pick a slip that has an opening line printed on it. That student actor will need to read and memorize the opening line, but will not reveal the line to his or her scene partner—yet. This line will be the first line spoken in the pair’s improv.
  5. Have one member of each pair pick a line out of the hat and memorize it.
  6. Remind student actors of the classroom improvisation guidelines.
  7. Have each pair present their improv.
  8. Hold a brief reflection on each improv—“What can you praise?” “What might they polish?”

Opening Lines

  1. Excuse me, ma’am. I need to return this shirt for a refund.
  2. Miss, I am afraid I did not order a hot dog for dinner.
  3. Look, I know you hate this, but we need at least one good photo of you.
  4. So, Jordan, please explain why Paul’s homework was in your backpack.
  5. Officer, please, no! Don’t give me a speeding ticket!
  6. Do you think Mother would like this crown or the silver one?
  7. Oh! It is such an honor to meet you! Could I get your autograph for my daughter?
  8. Sir, your suitcase will not fit in the overhead bin.
  9. I think our cheer needs a better jump and some words that rhyme with "team."
  10. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome today’s guest—Pat Perkins—an expert on how to organize your desk!
  11. Look, my muscles are killing me! Can’t we take a break from this workout?
  12. Just rip the paper off! I can’t wait for you to see this totally unique gift!
  13. Excuse me, ma’am. Is that dinosaur skeleton real or is it just a model?
  14. Well, this is what we’ve been training for—the Olympics! Are you ready to earn that gold medal?
  15. I think these shoes make my feet look far too big. Please get me a different pair.
  16. Ugh! All the other parents let their kids see PG-13 movies! You’ve just got to let me go!
  17. All you have to do is step-kick-step-kick-step-kick. Now try it with me.
  18. Behind us is the U.S. Capitol Building, and over there, you’ll see the Washington Monument.
  19. It’s just a little tattoo on my arm! Dad has one! I don’t see why you are so upset!
  20. Mr. Higgins, please tell our viewers how you plan to spend your lottery winnings!
  21. I understand you were an eyewitness to the skateboard theft. Please tell our viewers what you saw.
  22. Oh, I am so sorry, but pumpkin spice latte season ended yesterday! What other drink can I get you?
  23. Did you honestly think that a trail of breadcrumbs would help us find our way out of the forest and back to our house?
  24. Stop right there. You are not leaving this house dressed like that!
  25. Halt right there! You are not leaving this palace dressed like that!
  26. Your teacher tells me that your classroom behavior is inappropriate. What is your side of the story?
  27. I am so sorry, but your credit card has been declined. I’ll need another form of payment.
  28. O woe! O pity! There is no way we shall ever reach the castle by dark!
  29. Ew! I thought you said you could cook!