The Institution Theater

Making the Impossible Happen

Improv classes and off-beat theatre in Austin, TX

Instructor Biographies


Tom Booker

TOM BOOKER has studied improvisation and sketch at The Second City Training Center and with legendary improv guru Del Close at Chicago’s ImprovOlympic. He is a founding member of Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre and has been a director and instructor at The Second City Training Center in Los Angeles.

Tom co-wrote and co-directed (with producing partner Jon Kean) the feature film Kill The Man starring Luke Wilson, which premiered at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. Through Theatre-A-Go-Go!, the L.A. theater company he founded, Tom wrote and directed “Patty, Patty, BANG! BANG! – The Patty Hearst Musical!” and “Up With Puberty!” (co-written with Whose Line Is It Anyway?’s musical director, Laura Hall), and a stage production of Valley Of The Dolls (which starred Kate Flannery of The Office) at New York’s Circle In The Square Theater.

Tom performed in The Annoyance Theatre’s Off-Broadway production of “The Real Live Brady Bunch” at the world famous Village Gate Theatre and at the Westwood Playhouse in Los Angeles.

He has appeared in several television shows, a few movies and nearly a hundred commercials.

He’s a really nice guy. You should meet him.


Asaf Ronen

ASAF RONEN is the creator and Editor-in-Chief of, a website devoted to improvisation, and is the author of Directing Improv: Show the Way By Getting Out of the Way. He has been involved in improv since 1990, starting in college and working with Theatresports, ComedySportz and directing his own longform improv troupe, Hiatus, where he helped create original formats.

Asaf has taught improvisation in Canada, Great Britain, Norway and in twenty-two of The United States. His directing credits include the all-girl group goga, the improvised comic book adventure show Ka-Baam!!, and Death in the City, a dramatic longform improv piece, at the NY Fringe Festival. He was a producer on Trust Us, This Is All Made Up, a documentary on legendary improvisers TJ & Dave that had its world premiere at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival and was a writer on the soon-to-be-released Days of Delusion.

Asaf has taught throughout NYC’s public school system as a resident artist through LEAP and New Horizons and as part of Weist-Barron’s ACTeen. In 2000, Asaf worked with Cirque du Soleil as a scout for improvisational talent.


Ted Meredith

TED MEREDITH is that fun loving guy that answers your life-long question, “what would happen if Gene Wilder and Jon Lovitz had a lovechild?” He is currently an actor and writer at Esther’s Follies, Austin’s only 30 year old sketch/music/magic show, and has spent nearly five years playing characters from Bill Clinton to Glenn Beck.

Ted has a BFA, cum laude, in Acting for Theater from Southwestern University, where he studied Viewpoints, Alexander Technique, Directing, Dance, Voice, etc. Upon graduating he joined the company of Austin Shakespeare, performed with Zilker Hillside Musical, and was one of the founding members of the Austiner Ensemble. He has been nominated for B. Iden Payne and Austin Critic’s Table awards, and was winner of of his High School’s Mr. PHS Theater award! He is also a frequent performer for Zach Scott Theater’s children shows and Austin Shakespeare’s roaming production of the World’s Fastest Hamlet.

Ted can be seen in the web series Freelancers, on which Ted is a co-writer/creator/director/actor with Erica Lies. Ted has also been cast in several commercials and films, including Austin-set film The Two Bobs and the upcoming Days of Delusion. You can watch Ted perform in real life with Church Potluck (The Institution house team), Esther’s Follies (every Thurs, Fri, & Sat), and The Best of Everything (once a month at the Highball).


Sarah Marie Curry

SARAH MARIE CURRY has been an acting singing improvising artistic adventurer for over twelve years, with extensive experience in musical theatre and theatre management. She has been an improvisational actress since 2009 and has clocked over 120 performance hours thus far. In addition to pursuing improv and acting, Sarah Marie has recently undertaken rhythmic improvisation as a medium by directing RACKET: Improvised Stomp at The Institution Theatre. She is a current member and ongoing performer with Girls Girls Girls Improvised Musicals (one of the oldest improv troupes in Austin) and Improv for Evil (one of the most evil troupes in Austin) and regularly performs long form narrative with The Hideout Theatre, Gnap Theatre Projects, and The Institution Theatre.


Clifton Highfield

CLIFTON HIGHFIELD has over 15 years of improv experience. His Austin improv experience includes performing in ”DANGER: The Improvised Lifetime Movie”, and “PULP FRICTION: Improvised Tarantino” at The Institution Theater, and directing “Townsville” at Coldtowne. Clifton was an actor in the debut of original plays “How Cissy Grew” in Los Angeles, and “Bakers of Lakewood” in Phoenix. Additionally, he was Technical Director of an original Greg Kotis production, “The Unhappiness Plays” which debuted in Phoenix, and performed in New York City. His zombie impressions have been showcased in the feature film I Am Legend and the iPhone audio adventure game “Blindside”. In a 2011 production of “Locked up Abroad”, Clifton played Bobby the Gardener in a retelling of the Henry Hill story. He co-starred in the short film Damsel which premiered at the Phoenix Film Festival in 2012.

He would like to extend special thanks to you, because you make improv possible.


Brently Heilbron

BRENTLY HEILBRON started performing improv in clubs at 14. Then at 15, he took the leap to stand-up, keeping up his improvisational chops with early Austin troupes like Monks Night Out and Only 90% Effective. He won the first ever Maestro show in Austin, which is now the longest running show Improv show in town.

He was voted Best Stand-Up in Austin by the Austin Chronicle and as a comedian and actor, he has opened for Paul McCartney, toured with Robert Schimmel and was hand-picked by Woody Allen to appear in the Los Angeles Opera production of GIANNI SCHICCHI. He also appeared on the Bravo improvised television series SIGNIFICANT OTHERS as well as FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS on NBC and THE LYING GAME on ABC Family. His verbatim performance of R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet in its entirety brought attention from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times among others.