Why take an improv class?
The Houston School of Improv is here to help those who have never been on stage learn how to do comedy like the professionals! Our classes improve public speaking skills, confidence, memory, and awareness - all within a safe and supportive environment. Improv isn't about being funny - it's about being you.
Level One: Intro to Improv
Whether you're a professional in search of stronger voice, or someone wanting to blow off steam and enjoy a fun hobby with new friends, an actor or comedian wanting to sharpen their performances skills, improv training can be invaluable to your life.
This class teaches the basic skills needed to be successful in improvisational comedy through games, exercises, and workshops focusing on communication, confidence, commitment, listening, focus, story-telling, and spontaneity. You'll build great habits of thought in a supportive, laid-back, and fun environment. Good vibes guaranteed! People of all experience levels are welcome.
Prerequisites: None. This is a beginners level.
Level Two: Beyond the Basics
In this class, students will learn the next steps necessary to becoming a successful improviser on stage. We will focus more on high-energy commitment to scenes, building unique characters, and exploring themes and patterns in a comedic way. Both game-based and long-form improv skills will be taught in this advanced class. Students will explore the versatility of their physicality and voice in playing different kinds of characters and games.
Prerequisites: Level One
Level Three: Playing the Scene
Not all improv scenes are created equally, but that doesn't mean you can't be confidence about being in them. Level Three is all about attacking any and every kind of scene that comes your way. Students will learn different approaches to scenework and scene games through groundedness, game heightening, and group work. Students will feel comfortable performing with players old and new, in all styles of improv!
Level Four: Playing the Show
Every lesson, game and activity moves towards the goal of performing at a professional level. Students in Level Four will learn how to perform in the context of a full show. Skills like audience engagement, idea retention, sustaining energy, and finding the running joke will be taught in the context of our flagship show, ComedySportz. At the end of the class, students will have a performance with the professionals of CSz Houston in a special ComedySportz match.
Masterclass: Improv for Actors
Presence, humor, honesty, and curiosity is crucial for the professional actor - in auditions, rehearsal rooms, and in front of an audience. These skills can make or break an opening night, or simply a casting call! Through long-form improv, viewpoints, Meisner and yoga techniques, students will learn to focus their unique personal energy into dynamic characters, complex improvised stories, and hilarious scenes heightened to previously unreached levels. Actors will have the skills to reach new heights in their process, but also add tools to aid in devising new works.
Prerequisites: One year performance experience.
Meet the Instructors
Director of Education
With CSz Houston, Brendon has taught countless workshops to students of all ages, corporate groups, and performers. He has also directed the hilarious productions Aladdin: Unscripted, Back to the Future: Unscripted, and The EaDo Comedy Show. By day, Brendon teaches for the Alley Theatre as part of their Staging STEM and Playmakers programs. As a performer, he has made audiences laugh in over 300 shows with CSz Houston, and his long-form troupe Flirt Reynolds, in comedy venues, theaters, and festivals (Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, The Fracas! Improv Festival, Houston Improv Festival) across the country. He has also acted professionally in Houston at theaters including Horse Head Theatre Company, The Ensemble Theatre Houston and The Landing Theatre Company. Brendon has studied long-form improv at the legendary iO Chicago, and holds a BFA in Theatre with a focus in Acting from the University of Houston.
Level One Instructor, GM, and overall fun guy
Benji Cooksey is the owner and general manager of CSz Houston. He has been a player on the team for 5 years and is the head of corporate entertainment bookings. Benji's production credits include the founding of Improv! The Musical - Houston's first completely improvised musical, making its way into its second year of running, (713) - An original Houston late night Comedy Show and Beer Babies - An improvised drinking show.