Welcome to the Academy of Improvisation. We are a world class improv school, teaching theatrical improvisation — often called impro or improv. We’re based in Sydney and the surrounding areas, especially the northern suburbs of Chatswood and Gordon.
Theatrical improvisation can be seen on TV shows such as Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Thank God You’re Here. On stage in shows such as Theatresports. And in movies such as Spinal Tap, Anchorman and the movies of Christopher Guest. Improvisation is also a comedy performance and writing skill, with many big name comedians and actors having come through improvisation. Names such as Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Alan Alda, Barbara Harris, Adam McKay, Amy Poehler, Stephen Colbert, Mike Myers, Mike Nichols, Chris Farley, Aziz Ansari, Jack McBrayer, Alan Arkin … the list goes on and on.
We’re unique amongst improvisation schools in Australia. We teach the foundation skills of improvisation and spontaneity first, skills used in life as well as improv comedy. Then if you wish to progress to the stage, we build on those skills with a number of different theatrical or comedic improvisation methods. Improvising comedians don’t come from trying to be a laugh masters. They come from an understanding of improvisation and spontaneity, and the methods used to turn it into drama and comedy. All other schools go straight to learning comedy using their specific method. We start building improvisors from the very beginning, and then build to the stage.
Our classes are uniquely developed by us, based on a modern approach and comprehensive understanding of improvisation. Instead of age old traditions or training levels copied ad hoc from U.S. improv schools, such as UCB, iO (formerly Improv Olympic) or The Second City.
Founded in 2010 as Improv Theatre Company, we were the first school in Australia to teach the Chicago improv method and Chicago long–form improvisation. And we’re the only school to teach the two main methods — Johnstone’s impro and Chicago improv — in a single comprehensive curriculum.
Our core curriculum
We have fun beginners classes which introduce improvisation, which may be repeated again and again. And if you’re ready to take the next step, then our core curriculum will take you from beginner through to on stage improvisor. Giving you the acting, improvisation and comedy skills you need to perform regularly in public theatre performances and festivals.
There are different theoretical methods for improvising. All other improvisation schools teach only one method, and some schools don’t even know there are other methods. Some acting schools also teach improvisation, but it’s usually a checkbox, instead of a deep dive.
Our classes explore the different methods, giving students a wider experience of improvisation, as well as an understanding of which techniques work in different circumstances. Our unique techniques avoid the confusion many improvisors feel when they think all improvisation is the same. For this reason our core curriculum is longer and more comprehensive than other improvisation schools. And our classes are for everyone from beginners to experienced actors.
We teach the most modern and researched improvisation curriculum in Australia — possibly the world, but it’s difficult to check — starting from grounded foundation skills, through clarity of the different methods, and ending with a more complete and well rounded education in theatrical improvisation. We bring out the performer that’s always been inside you.
All our classes are the most fun you can have without props.
We use fun exercises and games to engage students in what we call learning play. Learning play reminds adults what it was like to be a kid, to learn and play all at the same time. For our child students, learning play is what they already do every day — we just focus it on life skills, improvisation, acting and comedy.
Come to think of it, we’re also the most fun you can have with props.