The Institution Theater

Making the Impossible Happen

Improv classes and off-beat theatre in Austin, TX

The Institution Theater is a fully operational school on Improvisation, Sketch Writing, and Comedic Acting with 8-week programs available for different levels of experience (listed below). In addition, we occasionally offer one-off classes with easier time commitments, taught by special guest instructors and with a more advanced focus of study. There are also the Free Improv Workshops that we host every two months. It’s the best and easiest way to get a taste of what improv and The Institution is all about.

FREE IMPROV WORKSHOPS with The Institution Theater

Ongoing Classes with The Institution Theater

With the most experienced staff in town, The Institution Theater is emerging as a leading school for people in and around Austin to study the Art of Improvisation, Sketch Writing and Comedic Acting. We guarantee a safe and supportive environment to let yourself be free and have fun.

At The Institution Theater our goal is to show our students that they already possess the skills and imagination, they just don‘t know it. Whether you're a classically trained actor or a complete beginner, we'll help you get rid of your fears and find your artistic voice so that you can express yourself in a fun, creative manner.

Sketch Writing - Level 1 — $195.00

This class will focus on taking your funny ideas, goofy characters and crazy “what ifs?” and turning them into sketches that are entertaining, thought provoking and funny. Through a series of exercises, demonstrations and weekly homework assignments that Tom Booker developed during the seven years that he taught sketch writing at The Second City Training Center, you will emerge from this class with a knowledge of the different types of sketches used most often in sketch writing, the ability to get your point of view across to the world in a unique and humorous way, and a portfolio of your work. No previous writing experience is necessary. Students only need to possess a willingness to learn.

Each class is limited to 8 students.

Save $15.00 with coupon code EarlyBird before May 20!

Mondays starting Jun 1 for 8 weeks with Tom Booker from 7:00pm – 10:00pm Register

Sketch Writing - Level 2 — $195.00

This class will build on the lessons learned in Sketch Lab 101 as we delve into the world of writing satire, using music in our sketches, writing for short films and messing with the perceived and expected form of sketch writing. Students will be given weekly homework assignments as well as in class writing assignments and rewriting assignments throughout this course. Students are required to take Sketch Lab 101 before being allowed to enroll in Sketch Lab 201.

Sketch Writing 201 will be taught by Shaun Branigan. Shaun is a seventeen-year veteran of Esther's Follies, where he both writes and performs. He has written for Zach Theater's Playspace program, Chamber Theatre Productions, and the Austin Lyric opera. He has no allergies that he is aware of.

This class is limited to 8 students.

The next round of classes will be announced soon. Contact Asaf Ronen at asafronen@theinstitituiontheater.com to be notified when registration opens.

Improv 101: Self-Expression & Self-Empowerment — $135.00

For ages 18 & older only

You are capable of more creativity than you realize. This class helps you let loose and get around the fears that might get in your way. Through acting exercises and improv games played in a safe and fun environment, you’ll learn to spontaneously create great improvised scenes and characters with strong points of view. Whether your goal is to use improv as a tool for acting or a way to enhance your life, you will walk away with a sense of freedom and empowerment that only this art form can bring.

This Class Will Focus On:
- Creating Characters Spontaneously
- Making Bold Initiations
- Having Fun In The Moment

Saturdays starting May 30 for 8 weeks with Jo Chauvin from 1:00pm – 3:30pm Register
Wednesdays starting Jun 3 for 8 weeks with Jo Chauvin from 7:00pm – 9:30pm Register

Improv 201: Scene Dynamics and Forms — $195.00

For ages 18 & older only.

All improv scenes are about the dynamics between its characters. You’ll learn how the simplest moves can develop into fun and complex relationships. Those relationships develop into stories. Those stories into a fully fleshed out world.

This Class Will Focus On:
- Emotional Range
- Stage Picture
- Playing In Genres
- Advanced Character Development

This class is limited to 12 students.

Save $15.00 with coupon code EarlyBird before May 20!

Sundays starting May 31 for 8 weeks with Sarah Marie Curry from 1:00pm – 3:30pm Register
Tuesdays starting Jun 2 for 8 weeks with Sarah Marie Curry from 7:00pm – 9:30pm Register

Improv 301: Group Connection and Play — $195.00

For ages 18 & older only

Step into advanced scene work and the beginnings of longform structure. This class will break every convention and create some new ones along the way. You will learn tactics that will make you simultaneously more aggressive and more playful while milking as much fun as you can in each and every moment.

This Class Will Focus On:
- Rapid Fire Scene Initiations
- Making Group Scenes Easy
- Editing Scenes
- Longform structure

PREREQUISITE: MUST HAVE ALREADY TAKEN 201 AT THE INSTITUTION TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS CLASS

This class is limited to 12 students.

The next round of classes will be announced soon. Contact Asaf Ronen at asafronen@theinstitituiontheater.com to be notified when registration opens.

Improv 401: Structure and Form — $195.00

For ages 18 & older only

Learn to listen to the rhythms of scenes to develop new structures that have never been played before. Along the way, the class will touch upon familiar forms such as the Harold, monoscenes, and Storyboard before going completely free form where students will be guided in pushing the boundaries. Learn about how the stage isn't just the 7 inches of wood that you're standing on, but anywhere the performance takes you.

PREREQUISITE: MUST HAVE ALREADY TAKEN 301 AT THE INSTITUTION TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS CLASS.

This class is limited to 12 students.

The next round of classes will be announced soon. Contact Asaf Ronen at asafronen@theinstitituiontheater.com to be notified when registration opens.

Improv 501: Pump Up the Improv — $195.00

A continuation of the study of long form improv with emphasis on further development of themes, further exploration of game and learning to discover the structure along the way. While focusing on making the active choice, students will be asked to push themselves as they explore ways to maintain the truth and integrity of their scene while moving the narrative forward.

PREREQUISITE: MUST HAVE ALREADY TAKEN IMPROV 401 TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS CLASS.

This class is limited to 12 students.

The next round of classes will be announced soon. Contact Asaf Ronen at asafronen@theinstitituiontheater.com to be notified when registration opens.

Improv 601: Playing with the Playground — $180.00

This is the graduation level of The Institution program where the students creative instincts are pushed further than ever before. The emphasis is on melting any remaining boundaries of stage, content, and structure to create those moments that have never happened before. This is the culmination of the tools from the previous five levels at The Institution Theater to develop a unique long form format that works best for the ensemble. Along the way you'll receive direction and encouragement to help you find what's next in your artistic trajectory, Institution diploma in hand.

The next round of classes will be announced soon. Contact Asaf Ronen at asafronen@theinstitituiontheater.com to be notified when registration opens.

Stand Up Comedy Class — $200.00

This is the first step to really developing the writing that will fit your individual voice. There is no rubber stamped style and everyone is unique. Learn techniques to kick start the writing process and avoid many common pitfalls of stand-up writing and delivery. The goal of this class is to develop a 5-10 minute stand-up set that is polished and ready to hit the stages of Austin and beyond.

This is a six-session class with a student showcase on Thursday, June 25th at 8pm.

This class is limited to 10 students

Save $15.00 with coupon code StandUpEarly before May 10!

Tuesdays starting May 19 for 6 weeks with Brently Heilbron from 7:00pm – 10:00pm Register