Welcome to the Academy of Improvisation (AOI). We are a world class improv school, teaching theatrical improvisation — often called impro or improv — public speaking, performance and presentation skills, and subsequently life, work and social skills. We’re based in Sydney and the surrounding areas, especially the northern suburbs of Chatswood and Gordon and the inner west.
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.
Our unique approach
We’re unique amongst improv schools in Australia. We first teach the foundation skills of improvisation, spontaneity and performance, including presentation and public speaking skills, storytelling, how comedy works, and how to work with and respond to an audience. These are all skills used in life as well as improv comedy. These beginners classes introduce improvisation in a fun and collaborative environment, and may be repeated again and again.
Then if you wish to progress to improv comedy, we build on those skills with a number of different theatrical or comedic improvisation methods. Most schools go straight to learning comedy using a rough mix of improv methods. Instead, we build improvisors from improvisation foundations, and introduce and explore each major method in detail — making more rounded and knowledgable improvising actors and comedians.
Our classes are uniquely developed by us, based on a more modern approach and comprehensive understanding of improvisation and how it works. And if you don’t believe us, then read our book Inside Improvisation: The Science Behind Theatrical Improvisation and How To Get Better.
Founded in 2010 as Improv Theatre Company, we are the first school in Australia to have taught long–form improvisation and the Chicago improv method, and we’ve since helped other schools do the same. We’re also the only school in NSW to teach the Chicago method, and the only school worldwide to teach the two main methods of theatrical improvisation — Keith Johnstone’s Impro and Chicago improv — in a single comprehensive curriculum.
You don’t need to be naturally talented and funny to do improv. Everyone can learn to improvise and everyone can learn to be a good comedy improvisor.
Our core curriculum
If you’re ready to take the next step, then our core curriculum will take you from beginner through to on stage comedy improvisor, giving you the acting, improvisation and comedy skills you need to perform regularly in public theatre performances and comedy festivals.
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 curriculum avoids the confusion many improvisors feel when they think all improvisation is the same when it is not. For this reason our core curriculum is longer and more comprehensive than other improvisation schools.
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 improv and theatrical improvisation. We bring out the performer that’s always been inside you.
Public speaking and presentation skills
Public speaking is often taught as a writing skill, when it is actually a performance skill. While writing is a starting point, without the ability to engage an audience, think on your feet, optimise how theatre and audiences work, project your voice and be confident doing so, a written speech is simply that: a written speech. Anyone can write a speech given the time, but not everyone can make an audience believe in it and you, in the moment.
Our beginners improvisation classes take you through all the skills needed to turn you into a great public speaker.
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 age 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.