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ColdTowne Theater

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Comedy Classes

Character Lab

$150

with Heidi Rogers

Calendar Apr 24, 2024 at 6 pm, runs for 4 weeks

Prerequisite: Level 3 or higher in an established improv school.

Let’s experiment. Let’s play. Let’s explore all the potential characters that live inside of you. Through physicality, voice, and all the other available tools, you’ll learn how to get into character more quickly and more intensely. You’ll broaden your range of characters and see how to make them stick around for the whole scene.

HEIDI ROGERS is based in Austin, TX, and has been performing improv for over 10 years. In addition to performing in over 25 mainstage shows in Austin, Heidi has performed at improv festivals around the country including UCB's Del Close Marathon (New York City), Improvaganza (Honolulu, HI), New South Comedy Festival (Greenville, SC), Improv Fest Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, OK), Big Little Comedy Fest (San Antonio, TX) and Out of Bounds (Austin, TX). Heidi’s favorite part of improv is creating rich, unique characters with a myriad of voices and accents. She is passionate about teaching improv and sharing her performance experience with the ColdTowne student community. When not improvising Heidi enjoys game nights with friends, watching movies at Alamo Drafthouse, spending time outside and ample snuggles with her dog Leo.

Playing Slow to Play Fast

$150

with Kenny Madison

Calendar Apr 24, 2024 at 8 pm, runs for 4 weeks

Prerequisite: Level 3 or higher in an established improv school.

If you're an anxious improviser, this class is for you. In this four week class, we're going to slow down your brain so you can speed up your play. Kenny Madison will be giving you tactics, shortcuts, and straight up lazy hack moves that will make you look like you’re confident (without even needing to be!)

All the while, we'll be unlocking the note of what it means to slow down and listen to your fellow players. It's not rocket science – it's just getting out of your own way, noticing the choices you’re already making, and doing it on stage. If it sounds simple, it is. But you just don't know it yet.

KENNY MADISON has been doing improv for 15 years and coaching/teaching for 8 of those years. He currently teaches at Hideout Theatre and has done mainstages at Coldtowne, Hideout, Fallout, and directed 3 shows at The Institution Theater (RIP). In 2024, he directed "What Next?" for FronteraFest's Free Fringe with Gloria Rabil. That made it into Best of Week, which is pretty cool. With Heidi Rogers, he performs as one-half of Kenny/Rogers, which was accepted into the Del Close Marathon in 2018 and tours whenever they can. They currently have a monthly show as the hosts/producers of the After Dark LIVE Adult Comedy Show in Austin.

Whenever he is not keeping busy with that, he's 1/3 of Lasso Cast, a Ted Lasso podcast where he talks with critics, crew, and castmembers from the Emmy Award winning show Ted Lasso. And he also co-hosts the Trek Wars Podcast, which goes through both Star Trek and Star Wars in chronological release order.

When he's not doing any of that, he sleeps.

 

Real Scenes

$150

with Clifton Highfield

Calendar Apr 24, 2024 at 8 pm, runs for 4 weeks

Prerequisite: Level 3 or higher in an established improv school or theatrical experience.

Make improv easy again by slowing down and letting your imagination do the work for you. Play the moment honestly by noticing what the scene is already offering. Practice sustaining the scene and heightening with agreement, listening, and grounded active choices. Make moments matter by applying emotional stakes.

CLIFTON HIGHFIELD has been teaching in Austin for over a decade and has studied comedy in Chicago at Improv Olympic, in Los Angeles at iO West, and at UCB LA. Clifton has performed in over a thousand shows and taught hundreds of students at various theaters, festivals, comedy clubs, schools, and workplaces across the US and has international performance and teaching experience from Canada and Australia. Clifton is currently a Faculty Instructor at The Fallout Theater.He recently performed in Sextet at Coldtowne Theater and currently on Harold nights with Captain January. Clifton will be a special guest performer with Glitter Witch at The Hideout Theater Fridays in May.

 

Full Course

Shut the F*ck Up: Honing Group Scene Dynamics

$80

with Michael Jastroch

Calendar May 7, 2024 at 8 pm, runs for 2 weeks

Prerequisite: Level 2 or higher in an established improv school.

By popular demand! 

Experienced improvisers know that scenes can get exponentially harder to wrangle the more people you add to them. The more folks on stage, the more likely it is for people to talk over each other and for scenes to lose focus and devolve into an unwatchable cluster-f*ck. 

We got your back! In this deep dive into the intricacies of group scene work, we’ll hone skills to juggle complex scene structures and intricate character dynamics, including manipulating stage pictures, wordlessly pushing focus, and most importantly, learning when to shut the f*ck up.

MICHAEL JASTROCH is a comedic actor, writer, and improv instructor, formerly based out of Austin, TX, and presently living his “Van Life” dream of traveling the country and working out of Walmart Parking lots. 

As one of the founders of ColdTowne Theater and a member of the seminal improv groups ColdTowne and The Frank Mills, Michael has won several awards for his work, including “Best Comedy Group ” in the Austin Chronicle Reader’s poll and the B. Iden Payne award for “Outstanding Improv Ensemble.” His improv and sketch comedy podcast Victrola! was named one of Austin’s “Best Comedy Podcasts” and nominated by Austin Chronicle readers as one of the city’s best comedy groups.

Michael has taught improv comedy for the last seventeen years and has been nominated and won “Best Improv Teacher” and “Best Improv Coach” a whole bunch. He’s taught his improv workshops all over the country, including at the Magnet Theater in NYC, the Oberlin College Improv Festival, The Oklahoma Improv Festival, the Phoenix Improv Festival, The Dallas Comedy Fest, The Alaska State Improv Fest, and the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival in Chapel Hill. 

Free Intro to Improv (Sat)

Free

with Asaf Ronen

Calendar May 18, 2024 at 3 pm

Maybe you’ve seen a few improv shows and thought, “I could do that.” (And you’re right!) And sure, it looks like it might be fun. What if you could see for yourself with the least possible commitment? That's why ColdTowne is offering this one-off class all for the low, low price of FREE. Taught by members of the ColdTowne Conservatory faculty, this Free Intro to Improv is a heaping sample of what you’ll encounter in your typical Level One class.

That means a warmup, a lot of group games, and some discussion of the basic principles of improv. At ColdTowne we believe that best way to learn improv is to do improv, so we get you up and playing right from the start. Not only does this make for better improv . . . it’s more fun.

And fun is the operating principle here, people.

ASAF RONEN is the author of Directing Improv: Show the Way By Getting Out of the Way. He regularly performs, teaches and produces in Austin, was Education Director at The Institution Theater for eight years and is currently the Conservatory Director at ColdTowne Theater. He is also a Producer and Education Director of Austin’s annual Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. He has taught and performed improvisation in Canada, Great Britain, Norway and in twenty-eight of these United States with such groups as the B. Iden Payne Award winning Confidence Men (improvised plays in the style of David Mamet) and imp (mostly silent improv). He was also producer on TRUST US, THIS IS ALL MADE UP, a documentary on legendary improvisers TJ & Dave that premiered at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival in 2009 and helped develop the improvised film Days of Delusion with director Scott Myers. In 1999, Asaf founded the improv website, YESand.com of which he is Editor-in-Chief.

Free Intro to Improv (Tue)

Free

with Asaf Ronen

Calendar May 21, 2024 at 7 pm

Maybe you’ve seen a few improv shows and thought, “I could do that.” (And you’re right!) And sure, it looks like it might be fun. What if you could see for yourself with the least possible commitment? That's why ColdTowne is offering this one-off class all for the low, low price of FREE. Taught by members of the ColdTowne Conservatory faculty, this Free Intro to Improv is a heaping sample of what you’ll encounter in your typical Level One class.

That means a warmup, a lot of group games, and some discussion of the basic principles of improv. At ColdTowne we believe that best way to learn improv is to do improv, so we get you up and playing right from the start. Not only does this make for better improv . . . it’s more fun.

And fun is the operating principle here, people.

ASAF RONEN is the author of Directing Improv: Show the Way By Getting Out of the Way. He regularly performs, teaches and produces in Austin, was Education Director at The Institution Theater for eight years and is currently the Conservatory Director at ColdTowne Theater. He is also a Producer and Education Director of Austin’s annual Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. He has taught and performed improvisation in Canada, Great Britain, Norway and in twenty-eight of these United States with such groups as the B. Iden Payne Award winning Confidence Men (improvised plays in the style of David Mamet) and imp (mostly silent improv). He was also producer on TRUST US, THIS IS ALL MADE UP, a documentary on legendary improvisers TJ & Dave that premiered at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival in 2009 and helped develop the improvised film Days of Delusion with director Scott Myers. In 1999, Asaf founded the improv website, YESand.com of which he is Editor-in-Chief.

Musical Improv for Everyone!

$100

with Chris Grace

Calendar May 25, 2024 at 12 pm

This workshop will serve as a fun, fear-free exploration of improvising through song and dance. Musical structure and approaches will be introduced for total beginners and improvisers with experience in musical shows will get a chance to refine or improve their skills. Improv and/or musical theater experience is welcome, but the only thing required is enthusiasm! Piano accompaniment by Yuki Desouza.

CHRIS GRACE is a comedian and actor you may know from Superstore, This Is Us, PEN15, Broad City, and more. Grace performed his one-man show Chris Grace: As Scarlett Johannson to effusive reviews and sold out crowds at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He's bringing his new show, Sardines, to headline Austin Sketch Fest on Memorial Day Weekend.

This project has been financed in whole or in part by the City of Austin’s Elevate Grant Program. Austin Creative Alliance is a fiscal sponsor of Austin Sketch Fest.

Collaborating in the Writers Room

$75

with Joan & Raft

Calendar May 25, 2024 at 3 pm

This workshop will cover best practices and exercises for collaborative writing, whether you’re a sketch duo, trio, team, or trying to break into a writer’s room for TV and film. With their experience leading sketch writing meetings, directing sketches, as well as their collective time spent writing for television, Joan and Raft will walk you through how to pitch, how to collaborate, and how to cook up magic in a writers room setting. Bring some of your sketches for feedback or develop new ideas together in real time!

JOAN & RAFT is a comedy duo featuring LA's two hottest trans best friends Joan Haley Ford and Raft. You may have enjoyed their writing on shows on Netflix, HBO Max, Cartoon Network, and Comedy Central. They're a consistent Austin Sketch Fest producer and fan favorite!

This project has been financed in whole or in part by the City of Austin’s Elevate Grant Program. Austin Creative Alliance is a fiscal sponsor of Austin Sketch Fest. 





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