FAQ

We receive a lot of questions from potential students, teachers and staff. So we’ve put the most popular ones together all in one place. If your question isn’t answered here, then just contact us directly! Or if you don’t know what to look for in an improvisation school, then check out our Choosing an improv school article. For questions regarding our online classes, see our Online Improv Classes FAQ. If you already have experience and wish to join our classes or shows, then see our join us page.

Class locations

I turned up for my first class, and there was nobody there!

When you register for a class, we immediately send you an email confirming that you are registered, and explain that we’ll send you another email with more details in the week before the class begins. Please make sure you receive the initial email which confirms that you are registered for the class. You may need to check your spam folder!

In the week before the class begins, we’ll send you a much more detailed email that includes everything you need to know about the class, including the location. Please make sure that you’ve received this email as well.

Note that our office and mailing address is Level 6, 10 Help St. in Chatswood, but we don’t run classes there. The email we send you the week before, contains the address of where the class will be held.

I arrived at 10 Help St. and I couldn’t get in!

We’re so sorry. We don’t run our classes at 10 Help St. You need to check the email we sent you the week before the class begins. If you don’t have that email, then you can send us a message through this website via our Contact form, which we monitor closely when a new class begins. Make sure you include your name, phone number and the class you are supposed to be in.

COVID-19

Are you currently running face to face classes?

Yes. We are currently running all of our regular face to face classes. We also run online versions of all our classes.

Class costs

When do you run your sales?

We consistently have the lowest price improv classes in Sydney and our prices never change, so you always know what each class costs. We know other schools regularly offer discounts or list classes as “on sale”, but our standard price is always lower than their discounted price. If you find a better deal, then let us know!

Beginners

I don’t want to do improv. I just want to be a bit more confident. Do you do that?

Yes we do! Our curriculum starts with our 4 week beginners 101 class which does this and more, without any work on “improv”. If students wish to do improv after that, then they continue on to our multi–level improv programme and already have the foundations in place to accelerate that training. No other improv schools offers this foundational beginners’ training.

Do I have to get on stage in your classes or for graduation shows?

No. Unlike other schools, we don’t run graduation shows, and no student will pass or fail based on whether they’ve been on stage. We do however run shows for students at intermediate levels and above, as the on–stage experience contributes to learning our curriculum. All of our shows are opt–in, so you have to want to be on–stage in order to be in them. You can certainly do all of our classes successfully and learn real world skills and techniques, having never once stepped on–stage.

If I begin training with you, can I also go elsewhere?

Certainly, and we can’t stop you doing that if you wish. However we strongly recommend only training at one improv school at a time, otherwise contradictory learning can occur. Basically you’re internalising method memory at one school, and then replacing it with another method memory a few days later. It’s a really bad way to learn improv. Even if you don’t train with us, choose one school and run their programme, then once you’ve completed that, choose another. Our book Inside Improvisation covers this in more detail.

Our training uniquely prepares you for all of the different main methods of improvisation that are taught today. By training with us first, this will give you the very best start for when you decide to train at another school. Many of our students do exactly this.

Also note below under Intermediate & Advanced Classes, that we do not accept students into our beginners classes who have already trained at another school or have some improv experience. This doesn’t mean that you can’t do classes elsewhere at the same time, but we definitely recommend against it.

What is “Keith Johnstone” and “Chicago improv”?

These are the names of just two of several different methods for playing improv scenes. When you learn one method, you can typically only play well with others who have learned the same method. Learn Keith, play Keith. Learn Chicago, only play Chicago. It is extremely difficult to learn both, which is why we’re the only school in Australia to successfuly do so. We’ve noticed some other schools say they give the best all-round training or their training let’s you play best with everyone, but that’s a common misunderstanding of how improvisation works, and often used to lock students into a particular school. Our book Inside Improvisation covers this in much more detail.

When are your Sydney inner west classes?

Every now and again as there is demand, but not as regularly as our Chatswood and north shore classes. Our international guest master classes always run in the inner west.

Do you offer scholarships?

Yes we do. From time to time we offer improvisation scholarships for various reasons and at our discretion, and there are always current improvisation scholars working their way through our programmes. These scholarships range from discounts for individual classes, through to fully paid progression through all of our programmes.

Generally our improvisation scholars are people we feel would greatly benefit from our training, and we really wish to give them the opportunity to do so, at our expense.

You can read more about our scholarships and how to apply, on our Improv Scholarships page.

I missed a class, can I still go to the next level?

Unfortunately, no. All beginners must complete every lesson in our beginners classes (Improvisation 101, Improvisation 101 Extension, Improv 1). These are foundation skills that students must have before continuing on to learn improv. We often give discounts for rerunning our beginners classes however, so contact us for details.

Intermediate & Advanced Classes

You only have beginners classes. Is this correct?

Not at all. We offer intermediate and advanced classes, and actually have the most advanced and comprehensive improv curriculum in Sydney — if not the world, but it is impossible to know for sure.

I’ve done some improv before, so can I skip your beginners classes?

Our beginners’ classes introduce general improvisation skills and theory that is not taught anywhere else, and is used as a foundation for all of our other classes. If you already have some improv experience, then we offer an “induction” course which teaches you these foundations, and then we’ll place you in an appropriate class based on your previous training. See our join us page for more details.

I only did a level or two somewhere else. Can I take your beginners’ classes?

We don’t take beginner students who have trained elsewhere for more than about 20 hours. However we do make exceptions in certain cases, where students have only taken a level or two elsewhere and have no on–stage experience. Contact us if you’re unsure and we’ll figure it out for you.

I took classes at another school and wasn’t taught very well. Can I take your classes?

We find this a lot. Most students love improv classes as the best thing since sliced bread. But only after some time does this subside and they are able to compare the quality of students from competing schools. Unfortunately you can’t take our beginners’ classes, but we may be able to start you in our classes at an appropriate level. See our join us page for more details.

Why can’t I just take your classes? Take my money already!

We teach improv differently, and we prefer to do that from the very beginning. Our students end up with the best training in many different improv methods, and that approach requires a beginner level clean slate. If you’ve trained elsewhere, then we don’t know what you learned or who you learned it from, so you may come with training and improv muscle memory that will need to be fixed or changed before entering our curriculum. We do run “induction” classes however, which will teach you our foundations and then we can place you in an appropriate class. See our join us page for more details.

Seriously? It’s just improv! Does it really matter?

Yes it does. For both the student, and their effect it has on the other students in their class.

I missed a few weeks of classes, can I continue to the next level?

You can miss up to 2 of our 8 lesson classes, but any more than that and you must rerun the level. We do however make exceptions in rare cases, but that is at our discretion based on your experience, ability and the content of the missed classes. You must complete every lesson of our 4 week classes without exception, because it is the foundation of our work.

Improv classs aren’t like a gym class, where you can drop in and continue whenever you like. Every lesson of our curriculum is important, and every lesson builds on what has gone before. If you miss a single lesson, then you miss out on skills required for later lessons, and these will be permanent skill gaps unless you rerun that lesson at a later date. For this reason we recommend you come to every lesson, unless it is impossible for you to do so due to illness or unforeseen work or personal commitments.

Can my group hire you for private training in the inner west?

Absolutely! Our teachers are usually available for any kind of improvisation, improv or spontaneity training you need, pretty much anywhere in Sydney. We love working with different groups at various experience levels, as well as helping organisations improve their team work, spontaneity and agility. Private training is also the easiest way for experienced improvisors to join our classes, as our teachers will be able to observe your group and prepare you for our curriculum. Contact us if you’d like to hire us for private or corporate training.

Our group isn’t in Sydney, can you still train/coach us?

Absolutely. We’ve have a range of online training techniques for improv, all centred around have a teacher or coach working live with students or performers. Contact us for details.

Corporate Training

Do you run workshops for business?

Yes we do! You can read more about what we do on our Corporate Training page.

Can you run a team building or bonding session for my team day?

We don’t run generic team building or bonding sessions, because we feel this is a vague and very low bar for which to aim. Our workshops are all outcome driven, giving staff additional skills way beyond “bonding”, while allowing staff to actually “bond” at the same time over the shared learning and improved abilities. Our workshops are all based on the latest science and research, and skills and experience are delivered along with this understanding. For more information, see our Corporate Training page.

Do you do pro bono corporate training?

Yes we do. Working with organisations in the local community, those doing good ethical work, and those with similar goals, align with our mission statement. In some cases where we are inspired or are in awe of an organisation or it’s work, at our discretion we offer our services pro bono.

Teachers & Faculty

I can teach improv. Can I teach for you?

Sure! We love new teachers coming on board with us and we’re always on the look out for good teachers. However due to the nature of our curriculum, we require a very high standard of teaching, either in improv, drama or other related domains, along with a formal teaching background at either school or corporate level. We do make exceptions though, so let us know if you’re interested.

I taught improv at another school. Can I teach for you?

That depends on what you taught and what other experience you have. We don’t hire improvisors who would like to learn how to teach, students who are a few years out of classes, or improvisors who also teach. You must have other skills in teaching and/or drama or related domains in order to teach with us.

Do you have an Assistant Teacher, Train The Trainer or Teaching Track programme?

No. We don’t teach our teachers how to be teachers. We also don’t hire teachers from people who have recently been through these kinds of programmes.

Can you tell me who your teachers are, as they aren’t on your website?

No, sorry. Our faculty aren’t shown on our website, except where they also hold senior advisory roles. If you’ve signed up for a class, then you will receive an email regarding who your teacher will be. If you haven’t signed up yet and wish to know who your teacher will be before you do, then contact us directly.

Who are your beginners class teachers then?

We don’t have fixed beginners class teachers. Our faculty are also practicing artists and teachers, and so we schedule them based on their availability. Your teacher for a particular class might not be the same as your friend’s teacher who took them for an earlier running of that class.

Harold

What’s this “modern” and “classic” Harold you mention in class descriptions?

The show format most popularly referred to these days around the world as Harold, is actually called a training wheels Harold, and is a beginners’ version of the original “free and open” Harold. The training wheels Harold has a roughly fixed structure and rules that guide beginner improvisors in their early days of learning Harold, but also comes with some historical baggage which often denigrates the format. We teach both the “modern” Harold, an updated version of the training wheels Harold for contemporary audiences, as well as the “classic” Harold with its less engaging and more mystical elements.

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I love you guys, you’re awesome!

You’re totally awesome and we love you too! If you have any further questions, then just ask.