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Improv

in Comedy Classes

The Art of Misbehavior

$265

with Michael Jastroch

Calendar Jan 17, 2024 at 6 pm, runs for 8 weeks

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

Truly great improvisers can generate a ton of sharp comedic material while simultaneously playing from their heart. Unfortunately, for most of us, our so-called Actor's Brain (imagination, emotion, and listening skills) isn't in sync with our much easier to access  Comedy-Writer's Brain (generating premises, creating and heightening games) when we're on stage and under pressure.

This eight-week course - based on ColdTowne Theater's Advanced Studies curriculum - is designed to help strengthen students' ability to execute premise and game-based improv as naturally as playing pretend.

Through rigorous (and fun) drills, students will master advanced techniques to generate premises from suggestions, openings, monologues, and first beats. They'll also learn new ways to recognize and heighten games in their scenes as well as position play (e.g. straight/absurd dynamics), strengthen their internal comedy logic (e.g. if/then), and use Commedia archetypes to create a personal library of comedic characters.

If you've ever felt lost, like everyone else understands the game of the scene and you don't, then this class is for you.

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. 

Full Course

Unconditional Support: The Spirit of JTS Brown

$100

with Pete Grosz

Calendar Mar 1, 2024 at 12 pm

USE THE CODE JTSBROWN WHEN REGISTERING BY FEBRUARY 25 TO GET $20 OFF.

How can you become a both more confident improviser AND a better scene partner and teammate? The answer to both questions is the same. Unconditional Support. In this workshop, Peter Grosz will use the principles developed in the shows JTS Brown, 4 Square and 2 Square to get you to recommit to the basic principle of “Yes And” and help you unlock your sense of freedom and play. He’ll show you how getting out of your head and supporting the moves of your fellow players can be accomplished at the same time. Through a combination of individual and group exercises he’ll create the space for experimentation, risk and a ton of fun. Come shake off the cobwebs and rediscover the joy of improvisation.

PETER GROSZ has been teaching improvisation and writing at various theaters across America for the last 20 years. He was a founding member of the experimental improv groups JTS Brown, 4 Square and 2 Square. He has written for The Colbert Report, Late Night With Seth Meyers and At Home With Amy Sedaris, and had the good fortune to win two Emmys, three WGA awards and a Peabody. He just wrapped up a run of the play Goodnight, Oscar starring Sean Hayes on Broadway. On screens you’ve seen him in The Menu, Veep, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The President Show, and more. You can hear him on Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me on NPR and he was in a few commercials for Sonic drive-in, but only for 18 years so you might have missed them. Follow him on all socials at @petergrosz.

Free Intro to Improv (Sat)

Free

with Asaf Ronen

Calendar Mar 9, 2024 at 4 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 Mar 12, 2024 at 8 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 (Wed)

Free

with Asaf Ronen

Calendar Mar 13, 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.

Improv Level 01 (Sat)

$265

with Keylan Haynes

Calendar Mar 23, 2024 at 12:30 pm, runs for 8 weeks

NOTE: Class skips April 6.

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!

KEYLAN HAYNES is an Austin based actor and a graduate of ColdTowne Theater. He has taught in ColdTowne’s wonderful youth program, Excused Absence, and is a part of the B. Iden Payne award-winning improv troupe Sugar Water Purple. He co-directed The Emma Dilemma and performs every Sunday with his Harold troupe All Night All Night All Night.

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

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.




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