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Classes

Note: Unfortunately, we’ve had to hit pause on all our classes because of COVID-19. We hope to resume as soon as we can. In the meantime, we are hosting some improv jams online. Check out the Improv Embassy’s Facebook page for more news, or our Community group to stay involved. If you have any questions, please e-mail info@improvembassy.com. 

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 (JAN/FEB)

These are the current classes (upcoming March/April term offerings below).

Register before Friday, February 14 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)

Learn how to create relatable improv characters that can connect with your audience. Andrea will run a variety of warmups, exercises, and do scene work with you focused on character building. Have fun creating characters with strong points of view that are inspired by the people around you and your imagination. Thursdays, 7 to 9 pm, August 6 to 27 (with Andrea Marston)
Experience: Intermediate and above The course price is $100 (+HST). We have two free spots for applicants of our Inclusion Scholarship, prioritized for Black and Indigenous students (the deadline to apply is Monday, July 27 at 11:59pm — recipients will be notified by the end of the week). This course will be run online using Zoom. We recommend downloading the program in advance: https://zoom.us/download Andrea Marston is a comedian originally from Calgary, Alberta. She started her training and performing with Calgary’s Improv Lab – The Kinkonauts before moving to Toronto. Since moving to Toronto, Andrea has understudied the Second City Mainstage, been apart of the NBC Universal Bob Curry Diversity Fellowship, and was apart of the Second City House Company. Andrea is a teacher and performer at Bad Dog Theatre company. She also host two comedy podcasts – The Great Callback and HawtBox. RECOMMENDATIONS: 1. You will need a laptop or desktop with reliable internet connection, and we recommend using headphones or earbuds. 2. If you’ve never used the software before, please have it downloaded in advance — we suggest trying it out with friends before the beginning of the course and/or logging onto the session at least 15 minutes early to work out any tech issues.

This introductory stand-up course is geared toward BIPOC students new to comedy. This class is designed to be a safer space where students can share their voice and learn how to develop their unique perspective into a 3-5 minute comedic set.

Mondays, 7 to 9 pm, August 10 to 31 (with Ayan Ali and Sara Meleika)

The course price is $100 (+HST). We have two free spots for applicants of our Inclusion Scholarship, prioritized for Black and Indigenous students (the deadline to apply is Monday, July 27 at 11:59pm — recipients will be notified by the end of the week).

This course will be run online using Zoom. We recommend downloading the program in advance: https://zoom.us/download

Ayan Ali is an Ottawa-based Somali-Canadian improviser, standup comedian and oral storyteller. They are the Inclusion Coordinator at the Improv Embassy, performs regularly with Ottawa comedy shows The Fembassy and Spice, and has performed at Mprov 2019. Their absurdist, narrative style of observational comedy often centres on their intersections as a queer Black Muslim.

Sara Meleika is an Egyptian improviser, storyteller, and high-school teacher. She produces and performs in Colour Outside the Lines – a show created out of a desire to see greater representation appear on Montreal’s improv stages. She is the (Anglophone) Inclusion Coordinator at Montreal Improv, co-produced Ladyfest Montreal 2017 & 2018, and co-artistic directed MPROV 2019. She has performed in MPROV, Montreal Sketchfest, Ladyfest Montreal, the Ottawa Improv Festival, Toronto’s Combustion Festival, the Big City Improv Festival and OFF-JFL/Zoofest.


RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. You will need a laptop or desktop with reliable internet connection, and we recommend using headphones or earbuds.
2. If you’ve never used the software before, please have it downloaded in advance — we suggest trying it out with friends before the beginning of the course and/or logging onto the session at least 15 minutes early to work out any tech issues.

During this time of isolation, Solo Sketch Comedy is an outlet for all of your creative juices. As a Solo Sketch Comedian you are the Writer, Actor, Wig Specialist, Tech Wizard and MUCH MUCH MORE. At the end of Solo Sketch Comedy Creation you’ll walk away with polished characters and sketches (there will be weekly homework!) and have the tools to further develop solo content!

Tuesdays, 7 to 9 pm, August 4 – 25 (with Tom Hearn)

Experience: Some sketch comedy experience is preferred but not required. 

The course price is $100 (+HST). We have two free spots for applicants of our Inclusion Scholarship, prioritized for Black and Indigenous students (the deadline to apply is Monday, July 27 at 11:59pm — recipients will be notified by the end of the week).

This course will be run online using Zoom. We recommend downloading the program in advance: https://zoom.us/download

Tom is a sketch comedian, improviser and producer currently living in Toronto. You can catch him in the hit improv show Hookup at Bad Dog Theatre Company, Sunday Night Live with The Sketchersons, or his sold out original hit Lipsynced The Show. He also created the queer sketch revue “A Sketch Comedy Extravaganza Eleganza” which was named one of the Top Five Comedy shows of 2018 by NOW Magazine and won the Canadian Comedy Award for Best Live Production. “A Sketch Comedy Extravaganza Eleganza” also played in OFF-JFL in Montreal after a successful run on the Second City Toronto Mainstage. He produces and plays in “Kinsey Fail”, Toronto’s only queer improv ensemble and the award winning touring sketch duo Tom & Erica. He has also been featured on Funny Or Die’s Best of the Web for his sketch “10/17”. He recently toured his 5-star reviewed solo show “SLANG” with multiple performances across Canada.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. You will need a laptop or desktop with reliable internet connection, and we recommend using headphones or earbuds.
2. If you’ve never used the software before, please have it downloaded in advance — we suggest trying it out with friends before the beginning of the course and/or logging onto the session at least 15 minutes early to work out any tech issues.

You’ve participated in an opening, listened to a monologue or started from nothing, then you initiate a scene. Cool. Now what? Well, you’ve got to sustain that scene for up to 3-5 minutes. In this class you’ll learn how to break scenes down into two parts. Verse and Chorus. Information and fun. We can create multiple paths for heightening characters, environment and physicality. Cause we all like being on stage longer, ya?

Wednesdays, 7 to 9 pm, August 5 – 26 (with Adam Cawley)

Experience: A year of improv experience

The course price is $100 (+HST). We have two free spots for applicants of our Inclusion Scholarship, prioritized for Black and Indigenous students (the deadline to apply is Monday, July 27 at 11:59pm — recipients will be notified by the end of the week).

This course will be run online using Zoom. We recommend downloading the program in advance: https://zoom.us/download

An alumnus of The Second City Mainstage, The Just for Laughs Festival and a three time Canadian Comedy Award winner – including Canada’s Best Male Improviser. A recurring actor on Baroness Von Sketch Show and Workin’ Moms (also a writer) Adam lives in Los Angeles and teaches/coaches at Second City Hollywood, Westside Comedy Theatre and as a co-host of The Backline Podcast, tours the world teaching and performing improv.

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, March 4 – 25 (with Joshua Mayo)
Saturdays, noon to 2 pm, March 7 – 28 (with Gilbert El-Dick)
Wednesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, April 1 – 22 (with Joshua Mayo)
Saturdays, 12:30 to 2:30 pm, April 4 – 25 (with Gilbert El-Dick) (Note: Class will be in session on Easter Weekend)

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, February 14 for a 10% discount.
(FRIENDS DISCOUNT: Save $20 when you register yourself and a friend with the coupon code “FRIENDS” — please include a note of your friend’s name and email so we can add them to the class list)

CLASS POLICIES: There are no refunds or deferrals once class is in session (if you have to drop the class for whatever reason, there is the possibility of a discount to register for the next available class). Before registering, please read our policies on payment and other class expectations, to make sure that the class is right for you.

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!)

Tuesday, 6:30 to 9 pm, March 3 to April 21 (with Adriana Johnston) (Note: Class will be in session on Easter Weekend)
Sunday, 6 to 8:30 pm, March 8 to April 26 (with Alex Keenan) (Note: Class will be in session on Easter Weekend)

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, February 14 for a 10% discount.

Prerequisite: Prior performing experience or Intro to Improv

CLASS POLICIES: There are no refunds or deferrals once class is in session (if you have to drop the class for whatever reason, there is the possibility of a discount to register for the next available class). Before registering, please read our policies on payment and other class expectations, to make sure that the class is right for you.

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.

Mondays, 6:30 to 9 pm, March 2 to April 20 (with Woody McCadden) (Note: Class will be in session on Easter Weekend)
Saturdays, 3 to 5:30 pm, March 7 to April 25 (with Angus MacDonald) (Note: Class will be in session on Easter Weekend)

Classes are eight weeks, 2.5 hours per class, one class show. $225 (+HST)
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: Register before 11:59 pm on Friday, February 14 for a 10% discount.

Prerequisite: Longform 101

CLASS POLICIES: There are no refunds or deferrals once class is in session (if you have to drop the class for whatever reason, there is the possibility of a discount to register for the next available class). Before registering, please read our policies on payment and other class expectations, to make sure that the class is right for you.

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.

Sundays, 3 to 5:30 pm, March 8 to April 26 (with Dani Alon) (Note: Class will be in session on Easter Weekend)

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, February 14 for a 10% discount.

Prerequisite: Longform 201

CLASS POLICIES: There are no refunds or deferrals once class is in session (if you have to drop the class for whatever reason, there is the possibility of a discount to register for the next available class). Before registering, please read our policies on payment and other class expectations, to make sure that the class is right for you.

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.

Sundays, 12 to 3 pm, March 8 to April 26 (with Chris Hannay) (Note: Class will be in session on Easter Weekend)

Eight weeks, three hours per class, two class shows. $245 (+HST).
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: Register before 11:59 pm on Friday, February 14 for a 10% discount.

Prerequisite: Longform 301

CLASS POLICIES: There are no refunds or deferrals once class is in session (if you have to drop the class for whatever reason, there is the possibility of a discount to register for the next available class). Before registering, please read our policies on payment and other class expectations, to make sure that the class is right for you.

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.

Wednesdays, 6:30 to 9:30 pm, March 4 to April 22 (with Dani Alon)
Location note: this class will be held in the Library at Arts Court (2 Daly Ave).

Eight weeks, three hours per class, two class shows. $245 (+HST).
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: Register before 11:59 pm on Friday, February 14 for a 10% discount.

Prerequisite: Longform 401

Instructor: Dani Alon

How about some discounts?

  • Sign up before February 14 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 February 14 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.

 

These classes are memory-making. Besides what you learn about spontaneity and physicality, you have a blast.

Wes S.
I never knew I could do the things I’ve done here!
Geoff B.
Engineer
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

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

Lindsay S.

I find improv such a fun activity to do after a busy workday! I always laugh a lot and have met such funny amazing people.

Adele D.
Dental Assistant

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

Jesse H.

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