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Comedy Classes

Improv Level 03 (Mon)

$265

with Javier Ungo

Calendar Mar 25, 2024 at 6 pm, runs for 8 weeks

Advanced Scene Work

Prerequisite: must have taken a Level 2 improv class at ColdTowne

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. This class includes a student performance!

JAVIER UNGO is a writer/performer based in Austin, TX who graduated from the ColdTowne Conservatory in 2013. As a house performer at ColdTowne Theater, he performs improv regularly with Kinkade, Three on a Match, Sauce and B. Iden Payne award winning all-Latinx team Prima Doñas. He is a writer/performer with Austin's first queer sketch group Martini Ranch and co-hosts and produces the queer comedy variety show QueerTowne. He has performed in comedy festivals all over the country including: the Del Close Marathon, San Francisco Sketchfest, Austin Sketch Fest, Dallas Comedy Festival, Denver Improv Festival, Moontower Comedy Festival and Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. In high school he was in a Beastie Boys cover band and makes sure to include that in every bio he writes.

Payment plan available: $50 deposit plus 2 payments of $107.50, paid every two weeks.

Improv Level 05 (Mon)

$265

with Anthony Ellison

Calendar Mar 25, 2024 at 6 pm, runs for 8 weeks

Level 05: Advanced Forms

Prequisite: must have taken a Level 4 improv class at ColdTowne

Students will build upon their knowledge of the Harold by exploring other improv show formats and structures. These structures include The Deconstruction, Close Quarters, Spokane, and other popular forms. 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!

ANTHONY ELLISON spent 9 years in Chicago writing, performing, teaching, etc. After dozens of sketch shows at Second City, Annoyance, CiC, he began to seek guidance in longer comedy within structure. He received an MFA in “The Art of Dramatic Structure”, and won the Scott McPherson Playwriting Award, while also directing for the OU Comedy Org - Black Sheep/Six to Midnight.  His plays have been produced in Chicago, NYC, Austin, Liverpool, Athens OH, Muncie IN, and a lot more.

Payment plan available: $50 deposit plus 2 payments of $107.50, paid every two weeks.

Improv Level 02 (Mon)

$265

with Drew Wesely

Calendar Mar 25, 2024 at 8 pm, runs for 8 weeks

Level 2: Scene Work Strategies

Prerequisite: Must have taken an improv class at ColdTowne or elsewhere.

Strengthen your two person scenes using characters, relationships, and finding & playing “The Game.”

Building on the fundamentals from Level 01, 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, while keeping things fun! Students will learn how to identify patterns within their scenes to create “The Game”: the engine that drives comedy in an improvised scene or sketch. This class includes a student performance!

DREW WESELY graduated from ColdTowne Conservatory in 2008, started as a Teacher’s Assistant in 2011, and became an improv teacher in 2015. He graduated from ColdTowne Conservatory’s Advanced Graduate Improv Studies program in 2016. He hosted the ColdTowne Theater monthly improv jam, and currently hosts his independently operated weekly drop-in improv class/jam. Instructors from UCB, iO, The Annoyance and The New Movement have either coached or taught him in classes or workshops.

Payment plan available: $50 deposit plus 2 payments of $107.50, paid every two weeks.

Improv Level 02 (Tue)

$265

with Anthony Ellison

Calendar Mar 26, 2024 at 6 pm, runs for 8 weeks

Level 2: Scene Work Strategies

Prerequisite: Must have taken an improv class at ColdTowne or elsewhere.

Strengthen your two person scenes using characters, relationships, and finding & playing “The Game.”

Building on the fundamentals from Level 01, 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, while keeping things fun! Students will learn how to identify patterns within their scenes to create “The Game”: the engine that drives comedy in an improvised scene or sketch. This class includes a student performance!

ANTHONY ELLISON spent 9 years in Chicago writing, performing, teaching, etc. After dozens of sketch shows at Second City, Annoyance, CiC, he began to seek guidance in longer comedy within structure. He received an MFA in “The Art of Dramatic Structure”, and won the Scott McPherson Playwriting Award, while also directing for the OU Comedy Org - Black Sheep/Six to Midnight.  His plays have been produced in Chicago, NYC, Austin, Liverpool, Athens OH, Muncie IN, and a lot more.

Payment plan available: $50 deposit plus 2 payments of $107.50, paid every two weeks.

Improv Level 06 (Tue)

$265

with Asaf Ronen

Calendar Mar 26, 2024 at 6 pm, runs for 8 weeks

Level 06: Creating a Form

Prequisite: must have taken a Level 5 improv class at ColdTowne

In Level 6, you'll take everything you've been learning for the past year and apply it to creating and performing your class's own form. You'll also get a series of showcases at the theater that run concurrently with the class and culminate in a graduation show and ceremony. You get a certificate and everything!

This class includes a 4 showcase performances including a graduation performance.

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.

Payment plan available: $50 deposit plus 2 payments of $107.50, paid every two weeks.

Improv Level 01 (Tue)

$265

with Tiana Stuart

Calendar Mar 26, 2024 at 8 pm, runs for 8 weeks

Level 1: Intro To Improv

Spontaneity. Playfulness. Listening. Trust. Honesty.

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 work to build your confidence both on-stage and off. This class will 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.” Find out when the next classes begin by clicking register!

TIANA STUART (she/her) is an actor, improvisor, musician, writer, and director.  Tiana discovered a love for improv comedy when she lived in Amsterdam from 2016-2019 where she studied long-form improv at the world-renowned Boom Chicago under Michael Orton-Toliver, who combined curriculums from both Boom Chicago and The Free Association out of London. She then moved back to the U.S. where she graduated from Coldtowne's conservatory program in 2022. You can now catch her goofing around on multiple House Teams at Coldtowne and in other troupes. Tiana co-wrote and directed Twinsies, a comedic short-film that has garnered 25 award nominations and 4 wins, including Best Comedy at the Austin Indie Fest. Tiana is also a co-producer of the Lysistrata Women's Comedy Festival, a four-day comedy festival celebrating the collective power of women. You can catch her in HBO's Love and Death and other films and commercials. She is represented by the Zephyr Talent Agency.

Payment plan available: $50 deposit plus 2 payments of $71.66, paid weekly. Final payment of $71.68.

Will run

Improv Level 04 (Mon)

$265

with Amy Knop

Calendar Mar 26, 2024 at 8 pm, runs for 8 weeks

The Harold

Prerequisite: must have taken a Level 03 Improv class at ColdTowne

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.

AMY KNOP (she/her) is an experienced teacher and prolific performer, producer, and director of improv at ColdTowne since 2016 -- including as B. Iden Payne-nominated director of "My Own Worst Enemy", "It's Britney, Bitch", and producer of sold-out runs of "Angola," "Old Love," "The Rose," and more. She has toured with Prayer Circle Comedy (Denver Improv Fest, Dallas Comedy Festival, Big Little Comedy Fest), performed in multiple ColdTowne mainstages, co-captains Fallout's Saturday night house team, and been managing director of Austin Sketch Fest since 2019. She is a graduate of ColdTowne Conservatory and Advanced Studies programs and performs every Friday with "Austin Chronicle Best Of" nominees "A Very Special Episode." She loves welcoming new performers and showrunners into the Austin improv community!

Payment plan available: $50 deposit plus 2 payments of $107.50, paid every two weeks.

The Inner Game of Improv

$200

with Michael Jastroch

Calendar Mar 26, 2024 at 8 pm, runs for 6 weeks

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

Most performers have a little voice in the back of their heads analyzing and judging the moves they’re making as if they have a terrible little improv teacher perched on their shoulder telling them what to do (best case) or berating them for being terrible at improv (worst case). This is the experience of “being in your head,” bringing the analytical/problem-solving mind to bear in situations where it hinders peak performance - what athletes call choking. 

Improv scenes are not problems that need to be analyzed and solved but rather experiences to be had. The more fully present and invested we are in them, the richer and more memorable they’ll be. Through a series of physical and mental exercises in this six-week course, students will develop mindfulness practices that will help them turn down the volume on their inner critic, become more attuned to the imaginary worlds they’re creating on stage, and be more active, present, and playful in their scenes.

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. 

Payment plan available: $50 deposit plus 2 payments of $75.00, paid every two weeks.




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