Level One: Intro to Improv
Learn the basic fundamentals of improv comedy and meet cool new people in the process.
Our courses are designed to help students unlock their inner creativity in a fun and supportive environment. Whether you want to learn more about the comedic process to become a better writer/actor/performer, or you just want to loosen up and improve your communication skills while becoming more comfortable in your own skin, the lessons of improv we teach are wonderful because they work to build your confidence both on-stage and off. We teach you how to celebrate who you are and to find truth in comedy through a series of improv and acting exercises that focus on honesty, spontaneity, playfulness, and saying “yes, and…” to others as well as yourself.
Level Two: Scenework Strategies
Building on the fundamentals from Level 1, students will begin to practice skills and techniques that strengthen their scenes and characters. Concepts will be introduced to help create deeper characters and relationships more quickly and to keep things fun. Students will learn how to identify patterns or “games” within a scene (or character) as well as how to create rich environments by performing good object work. Various longform techniques will be covered, such as edits, walk-ons, tag-outs, group scenes, and other tools to help students become more comfortable performing scenes and improvising in front of an audience for their first performance. This class includes a student performance.
Level Three: This is Longform
Strong group work, or “group mind,” is the focus of level 3 where students take a deeper look at their scenework and begin to create shows that are more than just a montage of disconnected scenes. While continuing to strengthen and build on the lessons of past levels, various storytelling techniques and other skills are introduced to help students go from improvising a single scene to creating an entire longform improv show. Students practice performing additional “beats” of an original scene to heighten an idea. We teach ways to identify and have fun with the “games of a show” happening between scenes that give each show its shape. In this level students also begin to learn some traditional improv formats that practice useful skills like deconstructing a selected source material (like a true personal story) in order to pull ideas for a scene. This class includes a student performance.
Level Four: The Harold
If Chicago-style improv were music, The Harold would be the twelve-bar blues, the language that’s shared by all improvisers in this tradition. In addition to being a challenging and rewarding form in itself The Harold is also a great teaching tool, and the skills learned in mastering it are applicable to almost every other form of improv. This level builds on and challenges all of the skills the students have learned up to this point. Students weave together multiple story lines and characters to create shows that are each a unique tapestry spun from what has come before. This class includes a student performance.
Level Five: Advanced Forms
Students will build upon their knowledge of the Harold by exploring other improv show formats and structures. These structures include the Armando, the Living Room, the Deconstruction, the Movie, and others. Through practice of these structures students will hone their abilities while also gaining an understanding of the various parts and workings of an improv form. Understanding how to produce the kind of show you want to put up by creating your own form will be essential for the final level. This class includes a student performance.
Level Six: Your Own Show
In the final level students develop their own show to perform multiple times at ColdTowne Theater. Students will collaborate with their classmates under the guidance of an instructor to create an improv structure, and then work to perfect their idea for their four student showcase performances. After the final performance a graduation ceremony will be held where friends and families can stay to hear past teachers speak about each of the students. This level teaches the entire process of creating a show so that after graduation students can hopefully continue to produce their own works to perform at ColdTowne or anywhere! This class includes 4 student performances.