Improv Training Program

American Stage Improv ignites artistry, cultivates community, and empowers personal growth. Classes are available for all levels, beginner to advanced. We offer shortform classes, specialized electives, musical improv training, and our main focus – UCB longform training.  All classes are taught by professionals from American Stage Improv, Second City, The Groundlings, or Upright Citizen’s Brigade. Live. Laugh. Improv!

Receive 15% if you qualify in one of these ways:
Retake a Level (applies to L1-L4)
Enroll in a 2nd class during the same quarter
Present a current college ID at the Box Office
(15% discounts can only be applied via phone or at Box Office. Cannot be used in combination with EARLY promo)

Review our class policies and FAQs.

Improv Training Programs at American Stage

Improv4Life – Ignite your creative voice with short form improv. Play and explore while developing communication, collaboration, active listening, and more!

Improv Foundations (Levels 1-4) Learn the basics of longform improv in Levels 1 through 4! Explore the art of making things up, elevate your acting technique, and hone your comedic storytelling instincts.

Level 5 Ensemble – After graduating the 4-Level Improv Foundations Program, students have the opportunity to heighten the skills explored throughout the basic curriculum in the previous levels. An audition is required to join the L5 Advanced Ensemble. More details here.

2018-19 ASI Shows

The Nest! Practice & Performance Opportunities for All

Summer Classes Now Enrolling

Save 20% on Summer Classes through July 5th with offer code: EARLY

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Improv4Life

Playtime for grown-ups!

Using fun short-form improv games & exercises like those seen on Whose Line is it Anyway? this class introduces you to the world of improvisation. With the guiding principle “Yes, And…” students will be exposed to the basics of improv while having fun performing.  This class is perfect for beginners, as well as more experienced improvisers, looking for awesome grown-up playtime.

Improv4Life will culminate in a student performance for family and friends.

NOTE: If you have minimal to no performance experience or would like to learn the art of Short-Form Improv, take Improv4Life before considering Level 1. If you have some performance experience, and would like to learn the art of Long-Form Improv, take Level 1.  For more information, please download this article written by ASI co-founder, Gavin Hawk…
What is the difference between Level 1 and Improv4Life? Which class should I take first?

Minimum: 8 students
Maximum: 20 students

JOHN HULS  John Huls is a veteran actor, producer, director, and educator, who has performed in just about every bay area theater. An alumnus of U.S.F. (BFA) and Tampa’s School of Night improv group, John taught theater at Patel Conservatory and Berkeley Preparatory School for over 20 years. He also served as Educational Director at American Stage.

Wednesdays
Dates: July 17 – September 4
Time:
7pm-9:30pm
Location: 
American Stage
Performance in Student Festival:
September 8
Instructor:
John Huls

Tuition: $215
(20% with code EARLY by July 5th)

Enroll Today!

Saturdays

Date: April 20 – June 15, 2019

Time: Saturdays 11:00am – 1:00pm
Location: American Stage
Performance in Student Festival: June 16
Instructor: Matt Walker
Tuition: $215
(20% with code EARLY by April 5th)

ENROLL TODAY!

Improv Level 1 — Setting the Scene

Learn the basics of how to perform long-form improv!

Level One is the starting mark, this is where you learn the fundamentals of Long Form Improv: Yes and, agreement, listening and commitment. Group exercises, basic scene work and object work are geared to make students more confident, committed performers and people.

There are no prerequisites for this class. It is designed for the beginner improviser and/or the seasoned actor interested in the art of improv.

NOTE: If you have some performance experience, and would like to learn the art of Long-Form Improv, take Level 1. If you have minimal to no performance experience or would like to learn the art of Short-Form Improv, take Improv4Life before considering Level 1. For more information, please download this article written by ASI co-founder, Gavin Hawk…
What is the difference between Level 1 and Improv4Life? Which class should I take first?

Please Note: As of January 2019, ASI students starting Level 1 are beginning a 5Level training program (formerly a 4-Level training program). The future Level 5 will give students an opportunity to elevate all of the skills explored throughout the curriculum in the previous levels.

Minimum: 6 students
Maximum: 18 students

Attendance policy: Any student who misses more than 2 classes across the 8-week session, will not be permitted to enroll in Level 2. (ASI reserves the right to make exceptions).

MATT WALKER Matt is a multi-faceted improviser with a wide array of experiences from LA, Chicago, and St. Pete. He has learned improv technique from Amy Goerlich (KROMPF), Michael McCusker (Cook County Social Club), Ryan Marsico (Red Door) and many others. He has performed with Terry Withers, Ricky Wayne, Gavin Hawk, Josh Spence, Will Luera and many more, in festivals, in LA (at the Pack Theater, iO West, UCB Sunset, Second City, Impro and more) He currently hosts and produces three local comedy/improv shows; one with his duo/trio The Bitter And (w/ Scott Shoaf), another, in unison with American Stage, highlighting improvisers willing to try something new: The Nest; and lastly, The Estate Show, a variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, and music all in one show. Aside from his 9+ years experiences performing improv, he has an album on Spotify (MW Walker, “Half Awake”), performs stand-up comedy, and is also a prolific painter and artist. Follow all of his endeavors at @mattwindwalker

Wednesdays
Dates:
July 17 – Sept 4
Time: 6:30-9:00PM
Location: American Stage
Instructor: Matt Walker
Performance in Student Festival: Sept 8
Tuition
: $230* (20% with code EARLY by July 5th)

Recommended Text – UCB Manual

SOLD OUT

Saturdays
Dates: 
 April 20 – June 15
Time:
11:00 – 1:00PM
Location: 
American Stage
Instructor: Davina Reid
Performance in Student Festival: June 16
Tuition: $230
(20% with code EARLY by April 5th)

Recommended Text – UCB Manual

ENROLL TODAY!

IMPROV LEVEL 2 — Finding the Funny

Picking up where Level 1 left off, students will learn to find and play the Game of The Scene, the cornerstone of our improv philosophy. Students will learn how identifying and playing “game” makes their long-form improv scenes funny. Students will expand their improv tools to include: Finding the First Unusual Thing, The Game of the Scene, Heightening, Exploring, and Walk-Ons. The class culminates in a performance at the Student Improv Festival.

Minimum: 6 students
Maximum: 16 students

Attendance policy: Any student who misses more than 2 classes across the session, will not be permitted to enroll in Level 3. (ASI reserves the right to make exceptions).

Instructor Bios

Kris Atkinson is originally from Tulsa Oklahoma, is a filmmaker, writer, and comedic actor, that has been in St Pete since 2013. He has a Bachelors of Fine Art in Graphic Design and Mixed Media Art and is currently completing his Masters of Fine Art in filmmaking and screenwriting with a focus on the comedic response; his thesis film is set to premiere in April 2018. Kris has written and directed eight short films and has experience as a 1st Assistant Director, Unit Production Manager, Line Producer, Art Director and in other art department rolls on various film projects. Kris is a graduate of the American Stage Improv program and plays with the house team As Per Usual.

Wednesdays 

Dates: July 17 – Sept 4
Time:
6:30-9:00PM
Location: 
American Stage
Instructor: 
Kris Atkinson
Performance in Student Festival: 
Sept 8
Tuition: $255
(20% with code EARLY by July 5th)

Prerequisite: Completion of Improv Level 1 (including performance in student improv fest)

ENROLL TODAY!

IMPROV LEVEL 3 – Creating the Character

Picking up where Level 2 left off, students will explore and apply improv concepts like “Point of View”, “Character Mirroring”, and “Status”. Through both improv & acting exercises, learn to create grounded, dynamic comedic characters. Students in this class will hone their acting skills, and stretch and define their comedic voice.

Minimum: 10 students
Maximum: 18 students

Attendance policy: Any student who misses more than 2 classes across the session, will not be permitted to enroll in Level 4. (ASI reserves the right to make exceptions).

Instructor Bio

Ricky Wayne was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has trained and taught at Children’s Theatre Workshop and American Conservatory Theatre in theatre and acting, and at The Groundlings in Los Angeles in improvisation and sketch comedy writing. American Stage audiences might remember him as Carl from OPUS in 2010, Marc in ART in 2013 and as Tartuffe in TARTUFFE in 2016. Currently he is in his 9th year in residence here at American Stage performing the first Sunday of the month as one half of Hawk and Wayne, a long form improv comedy duo with local actor and director Gavin Hawk in KARAOKE-PROV (THE DUMB SHOW, 321, THE MEMORY, NEWS OF THE WEIRD: LIVE!, IT’S A LIVING!, THIS IS A COMEDY SHOW, THE MOCKUMENTARY and ANYWHERE, USA) and is a founding member of American Stage Improv. Other local theatre credits include A Simple Theatre’s CONGRATULATIONS, JOE! and The Heather’s SPEED-THE-PLOW, ON TIDY ENDINGS and GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS. He currently works in television and film. Recent film credits include Girls Trip, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House. Television credits include recurring roles in WGN’s Outsiders, Netflix’s Bloodline, AMC’s The Walking Dead and Sundance Channel’s Rectify.  Most recently he can be seen in Madden NFL 18: Longshot as Ross Fountain. He is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association.  www.rickywayne.com

Wednesdays 

Dates: July 17 – Sept 4

Time: 6:30 – 9:00pm
Location: 
American Stage
Performance in Student Festival: 
Sept 8
Instructor: Ricky Wayne
Tuition: $270
(20% with code EARLY by July 5th)

PREREQUISITE:  Completion of Improv Level 2 (including performance in student improv fest)

ENROLL TODAY!

Coming April 2018!

IMPROV LEVEL 4 — Longform Format

Picking up where Level 3 left off, students will learn troupe-focused improv concepts like “Group Scenes”, “Tags” and “Second and Third Beats,” and apply them to performing a long form format that highlights the strengths of the group. Explore the logistics and framework behind montage sets, and integrate the skills you’ve acquired through out your improv training.

Note: As of October 2019, an audition is required to enroll in Level 4.

Minimum: 8 students
Maximum: 16 students

Instructor Bio

Wednesdays

Dates: July 17 – Sept 4

Time: 6:30 – 9:00pm
Location: 
American Stage
Performance in Student Festival: 
Sept 8
Instructor: TBA     Assistant Instructor: Davina Reid
Tuition: $270
(20% with code EARLY by July 5th)

PREREQUISITE: Improv Level 3 (including performance in student improv festival)

ENROLL TODAY!

Coming April 2018!

IMPROV LEVEL 5 Ensemble

Level 5 – Advanced ASI Ensemble

Take your improv technique from good to great. After graduating the 4-Level Improv Foundations Program, students have the opportunity to heighten the skills explored throughout the basic curriculum in the previous levels.

Starting fall 2019, the Level 5 Advanced Ensemble will receive training and performance opportunities as an ASI team. They will work together with a coach for 6 months to elevate their acting technique, dig into emotionally driven scenework, continue to explore various comedic styles, and define and hone a format fitting to the team as a unit. The L5 Ensemble will perform in an ASI event once/month (details coming soon).

Pre-requisite: Completion of Level 4 at ASI, or equivalent experience (such as completion of an approved improv training program). Contact tford@americanstage.org with questions. More FAQs about L5 here.

Minimum: 6
Maximum: 16

Saturdays 
Dates: TBA
Time:
TBA
Location: 
American Stage
Performance:
Once/month, TBA
Instructor: TBA
Tuition: $90/mo

COMING SOON

Musical Improv

WHAT?! Musical Improv? This is a real thing? Yes, and it’s amazing. This class teaches the art of impromptu musicals though exploring how to craft songs collaboratively, and how to grow a scene into a song.  It will heighten your scenework, and delight you with new discoveries. Having a good singing voice is NOT required to take this high-energy course. You just need a touch of fearlessness, a big imagination, and a solid grasp of Improv Level 1 (or higher). From there, the instructors meet each student at their level, and push you to new heights. We’ll be covering physicality, song structure, group numbers and a little bit of rhyming. If you’re looking to be more comfortable thinking on your feet and in verse, this class is for you. If you’re looking to stretching your improv skills further, this is right up your alley

Instructor Bios

Colleen Cherry is a professional actor, singer, and a founding member of ASI musical house team, Definitely Not A Murderers. Theatrical credits include starring in the the Straz/Jobsite Theater co-production of LIZZE and all three years of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE at American Stage. Local regional credits include: BLITHE SPIRIT (Stageworks); THE THREEPENNY OPERA,  SILENCE! (Jobsite Theater/Straz Center); MY FAIR LADY (Asolo Repertory Theatre); GREASE (Show Palace Dinner Theatre); ROCKY HORROR (Straz Center), and performances with The Radio Theatre Project at the Studio@620. She has recently performed in ensembles backing Sarah Brightman and Josh Groban. She is a vocalist with The Florida Bjorkestra previously featured in Life on Venus: The Florida Bjorkestra Plays Bowie and as everyone’s favorite vampire slayer in BuffyFest. She is an Artistic Associate at Jobsite Theater and Volunteer Coordinator for the Tampa International Fringe Festival. By day Colleen works as the Community Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator and teaching artist at American Stage.

Jeremy Douglass is a pianist, deep sea welder and leader of acclaimed megasuperband The Florida Bjorkestra. Recently he’s been Jobsite Theater’s resident music director in productions of LIZZIE: A Killer Rock Musical, The Threepenny Opera, and Jobsite’s #1 selling show Hedwig And The Angry Inch.  He’s composed original music for Jobsite’s productions of The Tempest, Edgar And Emily and Othello. He’s also the improv music director and instructor at American Stage Improv, and a performer with their house team Definitely Not Murderers.  Currently he’s resident pianist at Straz Center for the Performing Arts and can be found during Broadway series opening nights on the piano in the lobby of Morsani Hall.  If you’re looking. He makes records, too, but jeez this bio is getting long already and we can talk about that later.

Wednesdays

Dates: July 17 – Sept 4
Time: 6:30 – 9:00pm
Location: American Stage
Performance in Student Festival: Sept 8
Instructor: Colleen Cherry & Jeremy Douglass
Tuition: $270
(20% with code EARLY by July 5th)

Prerequisite: Completion of Improv Level 1 strongly recommended, not required.

ENROLL TODAY!

Call for details

Summer Saturday Intensives

Summer Camp for Grown Ups! (Ages 18-118). Dive into two unique summer improv intensives. Each class meets for three 3-hour sessions, and culminates in an informal performance for family & friends.

Intensive #1: Intro to Narrative.
Intensive #2: Intermediate Short Form.

DETAILS & ENROLLMENT BELOW!

Intensive #1: Intro to Narrative. Explore and apply the basic tenets of narrative improv. Dig into story structure and creating authentic characters with depth. Recommended for those who have completed Level 2 or beyond.
Saturdays, 12pm-3pm
August 10, 17, 24
Performance on August 24, 3pm
Tuition: $120
Instructor: Chris Friday

Intensive #2: Intermediate Short Form. Elevate your short form skills and learn new games! Students will explore finding the funny, creating bold characters, and classic comedic archetypes.
Saturdays, 12pm-3pm
August 24, 31, September 7
Performance in the Student Improv Festival, September 8
Tuition: $120
Instructor: Patrick A. Jackson

Instructor Bios

more details coming soon!

Saturdays

Intensive #1: Intro to Narrative
Dates*:
August 10, 17, 24
Time: 12:00pm-3:00pm
Location: 
American Stage
Instructor: Chris Friday
Tuition: $120

ENROLL TODAY!

Intensive #2: Intermediate Short Form
Dates*:
August 24, 31, September 7
Time: 12:00pm-3:00pm
Location: 
American Stage
Instructor: Patrick A Jackson
Tuition: $120

ENROLL TODAY!

*Attendance at all 3 class meetings is required.

Call for details

Dates: TBD Spring Quarter (not available every quarter)
Time:
Location: American Stage
Final Performance:
Coach:
Tuition:
PREREQUISITE: Improv Level 4 , and Instructor approval/invitation.

Please call 727-823-1600 x 204 to enroll.

NEXT LAB TBD!

Advanced Musical Improv

Elevate your musical improv game! You’ve learned various song structures, strengthened your emotionally driven scenework, some basic musical theatre movement, and and explored musical montage structures. In Advanced Musical Improv, students will explore the basics of to crafting an impromptu narrative musical – including story structure. We’ll also continue to hone emotionally truthful characters, working as an ensemble, rhyming (and when not to rhyme), and additional song structures.

Instructor Bios

Chris Friday is an improviser with over 20 years of experience. He is an original member of the FST Improv Group, and founding member of the Musical Improv program at FST. In addition to performing at FST, Chris serves as Director of Curriculum and Senior Consultant for Game on Nation. His unique talent for using positive humor to inspire change has helped all branches of the US military, as well as some of the world’s most prestigious athletes and teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, NFL Players Association, University of Alabama Football, and over 100 first-round NBA and NFL draft picks. Chris resides in Sarasota, FL with his wife and two daughters.

Jeremy Douglass is a pianist, deep sea welder and leader of acclaimed megasuperband The Florida Bjorkestra. Recently he’s been Jobsite Theater’s resident music director in productions of LIZZIE: A Killer Rock Musical, The Threepenny Opera, and Jobsite’s #1 selling show Hedwig And The Angry Inch.  He’s composed original music for Jobsite’s productions of The Tempest, Edgar And Emily and Othello. He’s also the improv music director and instructor at American Stage Improv, and a performer with their house team Definitely Not Murderers.  Currently he’s resident pianist at Straz Center for the Performing Arts and can be found during Broadway series opening nights on the piano in the lobby of Morsani Hall.  If you’re looking. He makes records, too, but jeez this bio is getting long already and we can talk about that later.

Tuesdays
Dates: 
July 23 – Sept 4
Time: 7pm-9:30pm
Location: American Stage
Performance in Student Festival: Sept 8
Instructor: Chris Friday & Jeremy Douglass
Tuition: $270
(20% with code EARLY by July 5th)

Prerequisite: Completion of Intermediate Musical Improv.

ENROLL TODAY!

Call for details

Dates: TBD Spring Quarter (not available every quarter)
Time:
Location: American Stage
Final Performance:
Coach:
Tuition:
PREREQUISITE: Improv Level 4 , and Instructor approval/invitation.

Please call 727-823-1600 x 204 to enroll.

NEXT LAB TBD!

American Stage Improv Financial Aid

Seeing theatre, and participating in theatre-making empowers us to be bolder, wiser, and more compassionate on stage and in life.  American Stage Improv strives to cultivate community through the art and practice of improv.

Now through the American Stage Sponsor-a-Student Program, adult students of ASI can receive partial funding to support their improv education. American Stage reserves two slots in each class for two deserving improv students. Applicants may apply for more than one class.

Interested in supporting Sponsor-a-Student? Click here.

Deadline to Apply: June 28th

 

APPLICATIONS CLOSED

Quarter Months
Fall: October to December
Winter: January to March
Spring: April to June
Summer: July to September

Classes subject to change and/or cancellation if fewer than the minimum number of students enroll. Should this occur, your tuition will be fully refunded.

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