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Classes

The Improv Embassy runs improv and other comedy classes in Ottawa for those wanting to learn comedy in a fun, supportive environment. With improv, walking onstage with nothing written down may seem daunting, but it’s a lot easier than it sounds — plus you’ll spend all class laughing! You’ll learn skills that will make you better at public speaking, get you out of your comfort zone and kick-start your creativity.

WHICH CLASS IS RIGHT FOR ME?

Intro to Improv – Our 4-week Intro classes are the perfect fit if you’re looking to work on public speaking, meet new people, build your communication and interpersonal skills, or just have some silly fun with the kind of improv games you’ve seen on “Whose Line Is It Anyway”. For folks who prefer the relaxed pace of our Intro classes, you are welcome to take them more than once — no two classes are exactly the same! (Visit our class policies page for more info about our retaking discount)

Longform Improv – Our Longform classes (spanning 5 levels of 8-week courses) are geared toward students who want to get into the theory of comedy, hone performance skills, learn game of the scene and the pattern work of thematic longform improv like New York’s Upright Citizens’ Brigade or Chicago’s iO Theater. We encourage you to bring a notebook to these classes, so you can keep track of new concepts and teacher feedback! (Note: at the Embassy, we have our own terms and style of play — all students start in 101, regardless of previous improv background, to encourage groupmind)

Other Programming – We offer Specialty Classes and Guest Workshops to give you a taste of other comedy disciplines and approaches to improv. (There is also a vibrant improv community outside of the Embassy with other places to learn — join Improv in Ottawa to keep up to date on new opportunities to watch, learn and grow).

CLASS POLICIES

Our class policies are updated each term — we recommend you give these a read for up to date information on refunds, class eligibility, and other policies before registering.

CLASSES IN SESSION (SEPT/OCT)

These are the current classes (upcoming November/December term offerings below).

Register before Friday, October 18 at 11:59 pm to get our 10% Early Bird discount! (Same deadline applies to our Inclusion Scholarship, which lets students from underrepresented communities and/or those with financial need to apply for subsidized classes)

Never tried improv before? This is the perfect introduction! We’ll work on teamwork, listening and presentation skills through fun improv games. It’s a great way to improve your public speaking, have fun and meet new people. Wednesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, October 2 – 23 (with Laura Jarescni) SOLD OUT Sundays, 6 to 8 pm, October 6 – 27 (with Adriana Johnston) Saturdays, 3 to 5 pm, November 2 – 23 (with Adriana Johnston) Mondays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, November 4 – 24 (with Laura Jarescni) Saturdays, 3 to 5 pm, November 30 – December 21 (with Adriana Johnston) Mondays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, December 2 – 23 (with Laura Jarescni) Location: 441 MacLaren St, Suite 330 This class is four weeks, two hours per session. $110 (+HST) EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: Register before 11:59 pm on Friday, October 18 for 10% discount. (FRIENDS DISCOUNT: Save $20 when you register yourself and a friend with the coupon code “FRIENDS” — don’t forget to include a note of your friend’s name and email)

This class is all about finding the truth in comedy and initiating scenes. You will learn to generate unique characters through status, emotion and mining real life for ideas. You’ll learn the Armando, a format that combines scenework and storytelling. (It helps to bring a notebook, as there will be more advanced concepts and instructor feedback than in our Intro class!)

Wednesdays, 6:30 to 9 pm, October 30 to December 18 (with Nick Howe)
Sundays, 3 to 5:30 pm, November 3 to December 22 (with Alex Keenan)

Location: 441 MacLaren St, Suite 330

Classes are eight weeks, 2.5 hours per class, one class show. $225 (+HST)
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: Register before 11:59 pm on Friday, October 18 for 10% discount.

Prerequisite: Prior performing experience or Intro to Improv

Instructors: Alex Keenan, Nick Howe

This class is all about creating killer improv scenes. We delve deep into the dynamics of a scene, working on building strong relationships between characters, making the most of our stage presence and escalating humour by finding the “game” of the scene.

Sundays, 12 to 2:30 pm, November 3 to December 22 (with Woody McCadden) Location: 441 MacLaren St, Suite 330

Classes are eight weeks, 2.5 hours per class, one class show. $225 (+HST)
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: Register before 11:59 pm on Friday, October 18 for 10% discount.

Prerequisite: Longform 101

 

Instructor: Woody McCadden

This class is all about group dynamics. You will learn to navigate scenes with multiple characters, work on developing the groupmind with your ensemble, and find how your unique comedic voice can best serve your team. This class will help you learn to make support moves, analyze game mechanics, and use elements like movement, composition and music to add depth to scenes.

 Tuesdays, 6:30 to 9 pm, October 29 to December 17 (with Dani Alon)

Location: 441 MacLaren St, Suite 330

Eight weeks, 2.5 hours per class, one class show. $225 (+HST).
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: Register before 11:59 pm on Friday, October 18 for 10% discount.

Prerequisite: Longform 201

Instructor: Dani Alon

Now it’s time to put everything you’ve learned together to perform the granddaddy of all longform improv formats: The Harold. The ensemble learns to create a rich, comedic world with strong characters in an entertaining half-hour set. This classic format, from which most others are derived, is performed regularly at such institutions as the iO Theatre in Chicago and Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City.

Wednesdays, 6:30 to 9:30 pm, October 30 to December 18 (with Chris Hannay)

Location note: this class will be held in the Boardroom of the Ottawa Arts Council (Arts Court, 2 Daly Ave), which is down 7 steps (email us at inclusion@improvembassy.com if you will need assistance).

Eight weeks, three hours per class, two class shows. $245 (+HST).
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: Register before 11:59 pm on Friday, October 11 for 10% discount.

Prerequisite: Longform 301

Instructor: Chris Hannay

This is where we get into the really bold stuff. Building on the previous level, this class will explore not only the ways that the audience suggestion informs the content of the scenes — but the very structure of the Harold itself. You will deconstruct the meanings and properties of words, get playful with theatrical techniques, and turn each individual Harold into its own unique experience.

Next offered in January-February 2020.

Eight weeks, three hours per class, two class shows. $245 (+HST).

Prerequisite: Longform 401

Instructor: Dani Alon

Stories can be powerful, and improvised stories can be both powerful and hilarious. In this class, you will learn to create compelling characters, hone your acting chops, and analyze the structures of common genres.

Sundays, 3 to 5:30 pm, September 8 to October 27
 SOLD OUT

This specialty course is taught by Chris Hannay and Angus MacDonald, two members of the action-movie-spoofing trio Bro Bro Bro Your Boat (winners of the 2016 Crush Improv Bout Time tournament) and two of the founders of Quest Friends Forever, Ottawa’s Dungeons & Dragons improv show.

Location: 441 MacLaren St, Suite 330

Classes are eight weeks, 2.5 hours per class, one class show. $225 (+HST)
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: Register before 11:59 pm on Friday, August 16 for 10% discount.

Prerequisite: Longform 201 or permission of the Artistic Director

 

How about some discounts?

  • Sign up before October 18 at 11:59 pm to get our 10% Early Bird discount!
  • Sign up for an Intro to Improv class with a friend and save $20! Just purchase more than one at a time and enter the coupon code “FRIENDS” at checkout. Email us if you have any questions.
  • Want to retake a class? You can take a class again and meet a new group of students, all for 50% off the regular class price. Email us for more info.
  • Our Inclusion Scholarship lets students from underrepresented communities and/or those with financial need to apply for subsidized classes. Deadline before the next term is October 18 at 11:59 pm.

And some class policies:

  • CLASS MINIMUM: In general, we require a minimum of 6 people registered to run a class.
  • Participants should be 18 or older to sign up; interested parties under 18 should have a parent or guardian contact us (our classes are geared toward adults, and admittance of minors are at the discretion of the registrar)
  • LATENESS/ABSENCES: Please aim to arrive 10 minutes early to ensure class starts on time. If you know you’re going to be late or absent, email the teacher so they can adjust, as a courtesy to them and your classmates.
  • ADVANCEMENT: Students who miss more than 2 days of a class may not be eligible to advance to the next level, without prior approval from our education director. (If you register without emailing us, your tuition will be refunded and a $25 admin fee deducted.) Occasionally, we may suggest you retake a class or do practice reps at our Thursday jam to build skills before advancing to the next level. 
  • PREREQUISITES: If you have not done a prerequisite or any classes at the Embassy, email info@improvembassy.com to introduce yourself and your background before registering for a specialty course, or 201 or higher, and the admin can decide at their discretion before you make the purchase.
    (If you register for the class without emailing first, it will be automatically refunded with the $25 fee deducted.)
  • CHANGING CLASSES: If your schedule changes and you wish to transfer into a different class time, it is a $25 admin fee to make the change (making up a missed class in another section is not permitted for the Intro level). Message us first to ask if the switch is possible (Note: if your class section is sold out, a switch may not be possible on short notice if we cannot sell your spot to another student.)
  • REFUNDS: in fairness to others who couldn’t secure spots, refunds can only be made one week before the first class, minus the $25 admin fee.
  • DEFERRALS: If you register for a class but find your availability changes, it is a $25 admin fee to defer a class, till the next term only (with reasonable notice before the start of class; once class is in session or if it is short notice and your class is sold out and we cannot sell your spot, a deferral may not be possible)
  • RETAKING A CLASS: If you are hoping to retake a course, email info@improvembassy.com to and we can set up a 50% discount coupon for you if there is extra space in the class — we will know the week leading up to class if 1/2 price spots are available (note: we prioritize students who haven’t taken a course the first time; depending on demand, we may have you register the week leading up to the start of class OR you are welcome to register at full price to ensure you have spot in the class)
  • SIGNING UP A FRIEND: If you’re signing up for or with a friend, please include a note with their name and email so we can add them to our class list.
  • EMAIL ADDRESS: Make sure you enter your email address correctly so we can add you to the class list and you will get necessary info and updates.

 

 

The folks at The Improv Embassy are the reason I was able to finally try stand up comedy. They host great shows and workshops and are super inclusive with a strong belief that comedy should “punch up”.

Jennifer W.
Civil Servant
I was terrified before the first class, but I’m so glad I came. The teachers are great, the environment is friendly, supportive and so, so much fun!
Dave M.
Teacher

Fabulous opportunity to … learn new skills, be expressive with only powerful move me forward comments and encouragement. This style created a better result in my day to day speaking.

Yetta D.
Business Owner/Realtor

I really enjoyed being in a space that celebrates punching up and encourages inclusion!

Lindsay S.

The Embassy is a warm and welcoming community. They provide a great space for learning and performing improv.

Jesse H.

This class will make a butterfly out of you.

C.P.

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