Tom Booker

Sketch Comedy Writing, Make Your Movie Now!

TOM BOOKER started studying improvisation in 1986 at The Second City Training Center in Chicago before studying with legendary improv guru Del Close at ImprovOlympic (iO) where he performed with the infamous house troupe, Blue Velveeta. He is also a founding member of Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre where, among other things, he performed in their Off-Broadway production of The Real Live Brady Bunch at the world famous Village Gate Theater and at the Westwood Playhouse in Los Angeles.

After moving to Los Angeles in 1991, Tom formed Theatre-A-Go-Go! with Laura Hall, the musical director from Whose Line Is It Anyway? He eventually started teaching improv and sketch writing at The Second City Training Center in Los Angeles. Tom also 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. Tom has appeared in several television shows, a few movies and nearly a hundred commercials.

In 2007, Tom Booker came to Austin to start an improv theater and school and Austin’s Institution Theater was born! He’s a really nice guy. You should meet him.

Jo Chauvin

Improv 101

JO CHAUVIN took the very first class offered at The Institution Theater back in 2008, and, despite hiding at the back of the class for the first two years, enjoyed herself so much that she stayed as a student for 4 1/2 years.

Jo has performed at 4 of the 5 Austin theatres and has participated in many improv workshops, led by such improv greats as Keith Johnstone, Laura Hall, and Jill Bernard. Jo is a member of The Better Half, an improv troupe with local legend Regina Soto. She also performed with Flying Theater Machine, a weekly improvised children’s show, for two years. Jo performs improv, scripted work, and hosts many shows around Austin.

She is extremely happy to teach Level 101 and seeing the light in the students’ eyes as they get comfortable onstage, have fun, and make an improv breakthrough.


Rob Nash

Flyin Solo – Creating Your One Person Show

ROB NASH is a 33 year international Venteran Writer, Actor and Stand Up Comic. Rob has appeared on VH1 and Comedy Central and is the creator of “Holy Cross Sucks!” which opened Off-Broadway to RAVE reviews and won Top Ten Broadway/Off-Broadway Shows from Time Out New York Magazine in 2005.

Rob has taught his method of standup and comic acting at CAP 21 Studios at New York University, and Austin’s own Zachary Scott Theatre and Esther’s Follies.


Valerie Nies

Stand Up Comedy

VALERIE NIES is a comedian, writer, and gluten enthusiast who spends a fair amount of time scanning WebMD, convincing herself she has an incurable disease. She’s written for humor sites Reductress and McSweeney’s and performed standup at the Out of Bounds and Big Little Comedy Festivals. Her sketches have been featured on Bitch, Jezebel, Salon, and Huffington Post; and she’s won awards for television scripts that never aired. She wants a dog but is too afraid of commitment.


Ali Thompson

Stand Up Comedy

ALI THOMPSON was a student of our stand-up comedy class back in 2014 and two years later became a Funniest Person in Austin Finalist. He’s performed in festivals across the country including San Francisco SketchFest, Beast Village, Out of Bounds, and the Cleveland Comedy Festival. He’s written for numerous local sketch comedy shows including his own show “Terrible People”. He excels at one-liners because he knows how to get the most punch out of every word. He loves breaking down jokes, analyzing what makes them tick, and is excited to share what he’s learned.