July, 1964 – Tom Booker is born into this world, specifically Tulsa, Oklahoma.
July, 1972 – Asaf Ronen is born into this world, specifically Jerusalem, Israel.
1986 – Tom becomes Top Dog, the mascot for The University of Oklahoma basketball team. A star is born.
August, 1986 – Tom moves to Chicago, starts classes at Second City the very next day.
1990 – Tom plays Bobby Brady in The Real Live Brady Bunch which plays at The Annoyance Theatre in Chicago, The Village Gate in New York City, and The Westwood Playhouse in Los Angeles (where they break the record for longest-running show).
October, 1990 – Asaf starts doing improv in college.
1998 – Tom co-directs the film Kill The Man with Jon Kean starring Luke Wilson, Josh Molina, Terry Garr, Michael McKean, Phil Lamar and others. Finally quits waiting tables at Steven Spielberg’s restaurant, Dive!
1999 – Kill the Man goes to Sundance Film Festival where the film was bought by October Films, a division of Universal that no longer exists. Tom just tells people it was picked up by Universal.
May, 1999 – Asaf founds YESand.com.
September, 2000 – Asaf works as a talent scout for Cirque du Soleil for a season.
2001 – Tom starts teaching at The Second City Training Center in Los Angeles.
2005 – Asaf publishes Directing Improv: Show the Way by Getting Out of the Way.
January, 2007 – Asaf moves to Austin. It’s considered a “big deal.”
August, 2007 – Tom moves to Austin, stealing Asaf’s thunder.
October, 2007 – Tom starts teaching classes at The Velveeta Room under the banner of The Institution Theater.
2008 – Tom and Asaf become roommates in the saddest duplex ever.
2008 – Asaf meets Keith Johnstone.
2009 – Asaf becomes a producer on the documentary Trust Us, This Is All Made Up.
2010 – Asaf becomes Education Director of The Institution Theater.
2011 – The Institution Theater finds its new home in a converted warehouse at 3708 Woodbury Drive.
2012 – Asaf becomes Education Director for the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival.
The Institution Theater started in the Fall of 2007. Tom Booker left his job teaching at The Second City Los Angeles, loaded up his Saturn, said “Goodbye” to Hollywood and headed east to start an Improv School and Theater in Austin, Texas. The Institution Theater came from humble beginnings, starting out with just one single improv class that met at Esther’s Follies every Saturday afternoon. Soon that one class sprouted into two more improv classes and an Audition Workshop.
As The Institution Theater grew, more teachers were needed. In 2009, the amazing Asaf Ronen joined the teaching staff (which now numbered two teachers) at The Institution Theater. Asaf Ronen’s groundbreaking ideas and vast teaching experience has put The Institution Theater on the cutting edge of the evolution of the Art Of Improvisation.
Even though The Institution Theater lacked a performance space of it’s very own, many groups coming out of The Institution Theater and influenced by The Institution Theater began performing around Austin to great critical acclaim. Among those groups were “Confidence Men”, “Baxter & Bernard”, “Sword Fight”, “Grey Matters”, “Church Potluck” and many more.
In 2010, The Institution Theater added Ted Meredith and Kristin Firth to their teaching staff. Added to what can easily be considered the most experience Improv teaching staff in Texas. And a little bit later, The Institution Theater teamed up with The Highball to present “Teen Angst Tuesdays”, “The Best Of Everything” and “The Nearly Complete Works of Harry Potter In About An Hour.”
In May of 2011, The Institution Theater moved into it’s “Starter Theater” just of South Congress in South Austin (3708 Woodbury Ave.) where they are in the process of building their very own 50 seat theater for improvised performances and other theatrical extravaganzas.