Improv Classes and Courses

Making a Scene: An introduction to improvisation

(Working Together (4 Tuesdays from 8th January 2019,  7-10pm, £95, £80 Early Bird)

The Nursery ‘Making a Scene’ courses are groundings in the core principles and techniques of improvisation. In a supportive, fun environment, you will be guided through improvised scenes and games in a way which is accessible and friendly, whatever your background. You will create characters and stories both realistic and bizarre and find how the fun can come slowly and organically or quickly and impulsively. And you will laugh long and hard. Guaranteed.

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Making a Show: Organic Longform

(Six Wednesdays from 7th November, 7-10pm, £120, £105 Early Bird)

In improvisation, every show is unique, created from the genius of the performers, the enthusiasm of the audience and that little sprinkle of luck. The beauty and the buzz of making it up comes in large part from that feeling of freshness and immediacy that comes from having no script.
So why not do the same with the form as we do with the content? By developing our curiosity and noticing what is already happening, supporting each other onstage and treating every oddity as an opportunity, it is possible to not just have a new show every night, but a whole new show format every night. Slick, elegant improvised theatre that happens easily and effortlessly, and is completely original.

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Making A Show: Acting for Improvisers and Improvising for Actors

(Eight Wednesdays from 6th February, 7-10pm, £160, £140 Early Bird)

Anybody can improvise. Anybody can get onstage and play a game or a scene, finding joy, confidence and increased creativity, as well as a sense of community and connection with their class and teammates. But to take your improv to the next level of professionalism, improvisers are wise to steal some skills from the acting world, skills which are invaluable not only on the stage, but in life. These skills will help you to feel liberated and empowered onstage as well as allowing you to work less hard to delight your audience.

In this course, you will be introduced to theatrical training techniques that can be quickly and easily applied to an improvised show. You will be taught simple, practical techniques to control and vary your vocal quality and physicality, as well as investigate your personal onstage habits and psychology. These techniques will be applied to improvisation, allowing you to not just ‘play a character’, but be a person, naturally living and responding on the stage simply and easily commanding a room and charming an audience.

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Regular classes and jams

 

International Guests and one-off classes

The Simplest Option – with Jason Shotts

(Thursday 14th February from 7pm-10pm, £35)

One of the most common notes we hear after a tough improv show is: “It was just way too complicated” or “There were too many things happening onstage”. Instead of holding onto a simple choice, we unnecessarily add more and more stuff to our scenes. We make the mistake of listening to the voice in our head screaming: “This isn’t enough! Start talking about something else!” One minute you’re obsessing about Indian food. Next you’re talking about Spiderman. Ice cream. Quantum mechanics. You’re lost (and so is your audience). In this workshop, we’ll work on identifying a simple “thing” for you. Then we’ll figure out your character’s “Up” and their “Down”. A simple scene is a scene you can navigate. Stop getting lost!

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Start Freaking Out – with Colleen Doyle

(Thursday 14th February from 7pm-10pm, £35)

We get it, you’re cool. But being cool on stage makes finding your character’s point of view and meaning in your scenes more difficult than it has to be. Improvisers who are more reactive help themselves and their ensemble understand their scenes and introduce information that can clearly and easily be used later in a show. In this workshop we’ll focus on not waiting to find something to react to, recognizing when gifts are given and accepting them with enthusiasm. We’ll address how often we ignore, don’t notice or flatly deny a gift from our scene partner(s) and instead seek out every opportunity to make things more meaningful in a variety of ways.

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How to Own Your Scene – with Jason Shotts

(Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th February from 10.30am-5pm each day, £130)

We’ll do exercises that prioritize vulnerability over defensiveness; a concept of improv that seems easy on paper, but can be difficult to put into practice. A stumbling block for improvisers is our own natural inclination to try to “fix” or “change” our partners; consequently, our scenes struggle because we’re not focusing on “owning” our own choices/wants/POV.  We’ll also work on balancing out the “weird” and “normal” in our scenework. Too much (or not enough) of one of these elements and the audience will struggle to connect with what we’re creating. We’ll also focus on decision-making (“What is this scene about?”) and how to communicate that information to our scene partners.

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Advanced Longform – with Colleen Doyle

(Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th February from 10.30am-5pm each day, £130)

This intensive will focus on the tenets of excellent longform: getting on the same page and creating dynamic and energetic group work, clear and easily understood scenes with well-defined characters and relationships, following characters and relationships in nonlinear ways, and following the fun rather than feeling hamstrung by form. We will be mindful of thoughtful editing, walk-ons, and ways we’re able to contribute to and support scenes that aren’t “ours”. We will start with the Harold and explore its possibilities before moving onto Slacker, and Pretty Little Flower. Familiarity with Harold or other similar longform structure will be useful!

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Jams!

We run two weekly jams for improvisers of all levels, each including some great acts too!