The Improv Embassy runs improv and sketch 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.
I’m in! Where do I start?
If you’ve never tried improv before, but you’re curious, start with our Intro to Improv class. This is designed to teach you the basics of making things up on stage through collaboration, listening and a bit of public speaking. Our intro teachers are supportive and our lessons are designed to put you at ease — while also having a lot of fun.
Next available class: Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm (Oct 3 – 24), Sundays 6:30-8:30pm (Oct 8 – 29), Saturdays 1-3pm (Nov 4 – 25), Sundays 4-6pm (Nov 5 – 26).
Each intro class is four weeks long, with two hours per session.
And if writing is more your thing, a few times a year we offer an eight-week long Sketch Comedy Writing class. Students learn how to generate ideas from real life and current events, how to structure their sketches for maximum payoff, and how to polish their work — all with weekly “homework” assignments. Check out our shop page to see if it’s offered next term.
I already have some experience! What now?
This is the Improv Embassy’s main, very popular set of classes: longform improv. You will learn how to write and perform on your feet in one of the most fun, collaborative artforms there is. We have helped hundreds of students unlock their creativity and become more comfortable on stage.
101: Truth in Comedy. 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.
Next available class: Tuesdays 6:30-9pm (Oct 31 – Dec 19), Sundays 6:30-9pm (Nov 5 – Dec 24).
201: Advanced Scenework. 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.
Next available class: Mondays 6:30-9pm (Oct 30 – Dec 18).
301: Ensemble. You will learn to navigate scenes with multiple characters, work on developing the group mind with your ensemble, and find how your unique comedic voice can best serve your team.
Next available class: Wednesdays 6:30-9pm (Nov 1 – Dec 20).
401: The Harold. Now it’s time to put together everything you’ve learned with The Harold format, popular at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City and dozens of other comedy institutions. The ensemble learns to create a rich, comedic world with strong characters in an entertaining half-hour set. Next offered: January 2018.
Each course is eight weeks long, 2.5 hours per session. The classes build on each other, so you will need to start at 101 and progress from there. Any questions, please email our education director Dani Alon.
How about some discounts?
- Sign up before October 9 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 16.
And some class policies:
- 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.
- Students who miss more than two days of a class may not be eligible to advance to the next level.
- Refunds: in fairness to others who couldn’t secure spots, full refunds can only be made before the first class. After the first class and before the second you may get a 50% refund. If you register for a class but find your availability changes, you can defer a class till the next term only.
The Embassy improv classes were incredibly useful and fun. All of the instructors brought positive energy, a spirit of co-operation and support, and invaluable knowledge of the art of improv to the classes.
As a new improvisor I felt the 101 class had a supportive and comfortable teaching environment. I learned new skills and how to apply them and the class was my first step into taking improv as a more serious hobby.
I have taken multiple public speaking workshops and I found the Improv Embassy to be the most helpful and practical. My ability to speak publicly with confidence has dramatically improved.