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Upcoming Classes

These are the current classes (upcoming November/December term offerings below).

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

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)

This class explores the idea of tension in improv, whether it’s a single scene or a longer format, comedy or drama. We explore what tension is, how it can be used and how catharsis comes from relieving that tension. If you’ve talked about escalating or heightening a scene but aren’t sure what that means or how to do it, this workshop is for you! For students who grasp the basics and are looking to level up their storytelling skills. Wednesdays, 7 to 9 pm, July 8 to 29 (with Vinny Francois)
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, June 29 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 Vinny Francois has over 25 years of experience as a professional improviser in both English and French and is an award-winning instructor. A founding director of the Montreal Improv Theatre, he has performed in more shows and venues across Canada, the US and Europe than he cares to count. He was the Executive Producer of Mprov: The Montreal Improv Festival, runs Camp Zipzap (an improv camp for adults in Quebec) and has been published in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. 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, July 6 to 27 (with Ayan Ali and Sara Meleika)
Mondays, 7 to 9 pm, August 10 to 31 (with Ayan Ali and Sara Meleika)

Each 4-week class covers different material and is $100 (+HST) each, or you can register for both at the same time for $150 (+HST).

We have two free spots for applicants of our Inclusion Scholarship, prioritized for Black and Indigenous students (the deadline to apply is Monday, June 29 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.

All proceeds from our weekly The Preserve Longform Jam – (online!) will be donated to Canadian Black-led initiatives in the fight for racial justice (for those who wish to donate directly, more info here)

The Preserve Longform Improv Jam is back — online!
These jams are every Thursday 7-9pm (eastern time) and PWYC (with different pricing options based on financial need)**.

**If you have financial need, we have a Free option available. The jam is usually valued at $5. (And if you have the means and would like to make a donation to help the Embassy with expenses while we work on developing new programming for the community, we also have a $10 and $20 ticketing option.) Please note we are not able to move dates or offer refunds if you can’t make it. 

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

HOW IT WORKS:
On the day of the workshop we email you log-in info for the zoom chat, at least an hour before the start time.
If you’re new to the technology, don’t worry! We will review the basics at the start of the jam.
As with our usual jams, we start with a check-in about access needs and boundaries, and then do a warm up, a couple of games/exercises, and then after the break do some open montages of scenes.

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 you log onto the session at least 15 minutes early to work out any tech issues.

ABOUT THE JAM!
These workshops are all about flexing your improv skills in a fun environment. The first part focuses on skillbuilding (i.e. object work, character, ensemble, stage picture); the second part features longform sets with occasional side-coaching.

If you’re brand new to improv, you’re welcome to participate as much as you’re comfortable with.

If you have previous improv experience, you may find our style different than what you’re used to.
These jams, facilitated by our Artistic Director (Dani Alon) and other instructors, are offered as a place to get stage reps and practice skills learned in Embassy classes, which focus on thematic longform and game of the scene.

These jams take place in a welcoming, non-competitive space. While we’re all here to have fun, we’re also here to up our improv game, develop good stage habits, and create an environment of encouragement and community.

We discourage any conduct, onstage or off, that is sexist, racist, homophobic, ableist, etc. Toxic behaviour will be shut down.

The Preserve, even more than a place to play, is about community. Everyone was new and shy once — if you’re a jam regular and see a newbie who doesn’t know anyone, say hello!

See you at the jams!

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