The Institution Theater

Making the Impossible Happen

Improv classes and off-beat theatre in Austin, TX

IMPROV ANONYMOUS

IMPROV ANONYMOUS

IMPROV ANONYMOUS

Come in. Take a seat. Let’s talk.

Improv Anonymous explores the hidden world of shame and how we mere mortals deal with it. Using Interview and Improv as both windows in to and methods for illumination of the dark recesses of our guests’ past humiliation, mortification, and embarrassment, our host, Paul Normandin, together with our live audience, Improv Anonymous will shine some tender light on our guests past discomfort and offer support and hope while finding understanding and unexpected humor.

Director, Kenny Madison, is an Improv actor with over six years of performance and two years of therapy. Kenny knows shame and seeks to challenge our understanding of it pulling from his personal experience in a twelve-step program related to relationships and addiction as well as the influences of comedians like Jimmy Carrane, Paul Gilmartin, and Tig Notaro, who demonstrate the power of melding a comedic tone to serious discussions.

Host, Paul Normandin is the founder of the Improv troupe In Our Prime, a troupe that focuses on real human relationships without fear of the dark places our hearts and minds. Paul has lived a life supporting a close family member with a severe mental illness and is no stranger to the feelings of failure, shame, and stigma associated with a life well examined. Paul is a frequent performer at Austin No Shame Theater where he tells true stories without fear. (Okay, maybe a little fear.)

This month's guest:
March 28th – SUNDARAM “SUNY” ADER is a relative newcomer to the Austin improv and theater scene. In his short time here, he has actively participated in shows at The Institution Theater, as well as Salvage Vanguard Theater and the Lucky Chaos Theater. In his work, Suny seeks to bring an awareness to shame due to mental illness. He has personally struggled with bipolar disorder in his life, which has affected the work that he has—and hasn’t—been able to do. Behind the performer is someone that wants to be understood for the person he really is and seeks to correct any misunderstandings about the shames associated with mental illness.

April 4th – JAYME RAMSAY grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA, before moving to Austin in 2014. After supporting herself as a barista and movie-store clerk, she soon created the B. Iden Payne show Hurly Burly: Unscripted Burlesque Stories, which recently wrapped up its second run at the Institution Theater. Despite her quick rise to success in the improv scene, Ramsey still deals with severe anxiety and has ever since childhood. In order to help deal with her anxiety, Ramsey has adopted many teachings, including that of her primary profession as instructor at the Montessori Center in Hyde Park. These teachings have fed her work and made her driven, but also had its drawbacks. Through whatever she is doing, she attempts to convey one message to everyone—YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

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BOOKER AND A BUDDY

BOOKER AND A BUDDY

BOOKER AND A BUDDY

Storied and renowned Austin improviser, Tom Booker, performs an hour-long improvised romp with a friend of his choosing. Invited guests will include the best performers, improvisers and entertainers from across this fine city as well as special guests visiting from the far reaches of New York, Chicago and LA. The resulting performance will be a funny and breath taking joy ride through the great unknown and beyond! 

March's guest is PETER ROGERS who has been involved with Austin improv since 2000, performing it in every style from Star Trek to Shakespeare. He has been cast in so many Mainstage shows at The Institution and Hideout Theaters (sometimes being in three different shows in the same week) that it would be madness to list them all.

TOM BOOKER has studied and taught improvisation and sketch at The Second City Training Center, ImprovOlympic, and is a founding member of Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre. Tom has written, directed and acted in several productions, such as “Patty, Patty, BANG! BANG! – The Patty Hearst Musical!” and a stage version of Valley of the Dolls as well as playing Bobby in the Off-Broadway run of “The Real Live Brady Bunch.” Tom has appeared in several television shows, films and nearly a hundred commercials.

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IMPROMP-TWO - A Casual Duo Night

IMPROMP-TWO - A Casual Duo Night

IMPROMP-TWO - A Casual Duo Night

ImprompTwo is a casual evening of improv performance featuring the duo Cascade with a different top-notch guest duo every week. The atmosphere is relaxed and inviting like a hidden jazz lounge where the musicians play just for the buzz of it. Plus, the admission is free with a free glass of wine to the first ten people who come through the door and stay for the show.

CASCADE (Sarah Marie Curry & Cat Drago) welcomes you to the flood. Starting in the middle of what looks like a modern three act play (example: God of Carnage, Proof, Take Me Out, Closer) Cascade improvises through the darkest and lightest moments of a slice of human experience until the lights go out.

Tickets are free, but you can guarantee a seat reservation with a $1 charge.

This month's guests:
March 29 - Ball & Chain (Ruby Wilmann & Troy Miller) with musical guest Brently Heilbron
April 5 - ScreenPlay (Clif Highfield & Asaf Ronen)
April 12 - Bulletproof (David Lampe & Kevin Miller) with musical guest Brently Heilbron
April 19th - Miller and Lies (Nat Miller & Erica Lies) with musical guest Brently Heilbron
April 26th - Skeeter & Sweaty (Jason Vines and Mike Kinald)

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THE RUBBER ROOM

THE RUBBER ROOM

THE RUBBER ROOM

Does getting on stage drive you mad? Is this idea of jumping in front of a crowd of people with no idea what you’ll say an insane idea? Would you find it crazy to join seasoned professionals at creating characters and making up stories on the spot?

Is this the kind of crazy you find irresistible or are you looking for new outlets for the many voices in your head? Then check into The Rubber Room every Sunday at 8 PM at The Institution Theater.

The Rubber Room begins with a no-pressure jam session where anyone can join in the fun and is led by one of The Institution’s own teachers. A simple theme will guide each week’s jam, and the teacher will ensure everyone who wants to will have a time to play in a safe, welcoming environment.

After the jam, stay for a 30-minute show put on by The Faculty, consisting of The Institution’s teachers. The Faculty Show will showcase and highlights the style of improv taught at the theater. Plus, it gives the faculty the opportunity to play together, which they love to do.

Then, stick around for The Institution Lottery, where you and up to three other people can join members of The Institution faculty on stage. The Institution’s is faculty made up of Tom Booker, Asaf Ronen, Sarah Marie Curry, Ted Meredith, Clifton Highfield, and Jo Chauvin (along with weekly guests) a varied group of improvisers that have made their mark around the country (and even the world for a couple of them). They’ll follow the basic tenet of “make the other people look good” if you’re lucky enough to join them on stage.

The Rubber Room, a safe place to bounce around new ideas every Sunday night at 8 PM at The Institution Theater. You’d be crazy to miss this.

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IMPROV MIXTAPE

IMPROV MIXTAPE

IMPROV MIXTAPE

A collection of improv and sketch and general acts of merriment from throughout the Austin comedy scene on one long track.

March 27th
Dumbasses
– Marcus Hysmith and Luis Salinas play a couple of well-meaning guys who attempt to carry out tasks that require intelligence and/or skill, while possessing neither.
Pilot's License – You don’t need a pilot’s license to fly! Austin improvisers Wendell Smith, Adam Weightman, Nick Doumlele, Colin Gray, and Nathan Ehrmann united under a common love for television and formed Pilot’s License, an improv troupe dedicated to creating TV pilots on the spot. Tell the cabin crew your favorite show and you just might inspire their next pilot!
Reboot – Featuring Ouardane Jouannot and Ian Parizot (from France!) A man is sitting at a table in a coffee house. A waiter comes. How many different scenes exist in that given platform? What happpens when we go back and change the choices we made in the scene? This show explores those questions.
Cascade – Sarah Marie Curry & Cat Drago welcomes you to the flood. Starting in the middle of what looks like a modern three act play (example: God of Carnage, Proof, Take Me Out, Closer) Cascade improvises through the darkest and lightest moments of a slice of human experience until the lights go out.

April 3rd
Swipe Left

Mirage Machine – Enter into the dream-like world of the Mirage Machine. Combining traditional improv with surreal imagery and characters, the Machine creates a show based off of an audience members single dream. They combine this story with the unique no-edit based editing, where players simply begin new scenes within other scenes.
Character Explosion – Hideout Theatre students/recent graduates will challenge one member by playing a variety of characters that he must then play. After running through this character gauntlet, a montage will occur where anyone can play any of the characters from the challenge.
NugeField – Nugefield is an improv duo that performs "solid, relationship-based improvisation".

$5 (FREE for Institution students) • Apr 3, 2015 @ 8:00pm • The Institution Theater, 3708 Woodbury Drive Reserve Tickets

LATE NIGHT TIME MACHINE – Season Two

LATE NIGHT TIME MACHINE – Season Two

LATE NIGHT TIME MACHINE – Season Two

Late Night Time Machine launches a second season with hard-drinking, hard-smoking host Teddy Hancox as he helms the third most popular talk show of 1968! Teddy returns with a guest list of more impressive luminaries plucked from the past and the future than even before!

Witness a world where Stevie Nicks and Manuel Noriega party together. Emily Dickinson and Bjork swap poems, and Amy Winehouse hooks up with Genghis Khan. With its unique combination of onstage acts and backstage drama, satire and stupidity, improv, sketch, and stand-up, Late Night Time Machine is a crazy, unpredictable live comedy ride unlike anything else in Austin!

Unique episodes of Late Night Time Machine will be performed at 10PM every Friday from April 3rd through May 8th The Institution Theater. Starring James C. Leary as Teddy Hancox, with Sydney Huddleston as beleaguered stage manager Tildy Weatherspoon and Mike Carreon as Teddy’s sidekick, Bud Grouper, with a cavalcade of guests that span across time: Albert Einstein (Michael Ferstenfeld), Alexander the Great (Kevin Miller), Amy Winehouse (Kristen Kurtis), Benjamin Franklin (Marcus Hysmith), Bill Clinton (Asaf Ronen), Bjork (Sarah Marie Curry), Buster Keaton (Luke Wallens), Catherine the Great (Jessica Arjet), Charlie Chaplin (Alex Ayala), Cleopatra (Roanna Flowers), Conan O'Brien (Ryan Hill), Emily Dickinson (Hanna Abu Zayed), Eve (Heidi Rogers), Genghis Khan (Brad Hawkins), Groucho Marx (Robert Slack), Joan Jett (Jayme Ramsay), Manuel Noriega (Donnie Loa), Orson Welles (Jordan T. Maxwell), Salvador Dali (Brently Heilbron), Stanley Kubrick (Kenny Madison), Stevie Nicks (Donna Rice), Vincent van Gogh (Chris Allen) and Wernher von Braun (Andreas Fabis).

Directed by Mason Pitluk. Created, produced, and written by Tess Hermes and Mason Pitluk. Technical Direction by Mark Shoemaker.

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MONOLOGUE JAM - Solo Competitive Improv

MONOLOGUE JAM - Solo Competitive Improv

MONOLOGUE JAM - Solo Competitive Improv

The world is full of characters: yours. The Austin Improv Monologue Jam celebrates the power of instant storytelling and comedic character building with a head-to-head competition between ten monologists vying for a jar of delicious jam. Victory never tasted so sweet.

Each monologist will be presented with a suggestion to launch them into the creation of a three-minute characters. Nine of the competitors will be pulled from the vast talent pool of Austin improvisers with the tenth being a Wild Card performer culled from that night's audience volunteers. The crowd chooses their favorite monologue of the night, and the winner leaves with a jar of SWEET VICTORY (jam).

This month, opening for Monologue Jam will be THE SABBATICAL, a short improv set directed by Clif Highfield and featuring Angie Epley, Cené Hale, Dori Alvarado, Elizabeth Hotchkiss, Jeff Knobloch, Joy Parks, Mark Carpenter, Samy Boss, and Suzanna Brown.

The Austin Improv Monologue Jam is produced and directed by Tyler Bryce and Jennifer Dorsey, part of the team that brought you the award-winning Thinning the Herd. The format for the show is based on the Dallas Monologue Jam created by Brad McEntire and produced annually at the Big Sexy Weekend of Improv (a production of the Alternative Comedy Theater).

People interested in performing should keep their eye on the Austin Monologue Jam Facebook page to sign up: https://www.facebook.com/monologuejam.

$5 (FREE for Institution students) • Apr 4, 2015 @10:00pm • The Institution Theater Clubhouse, 3708 Woodbury Drive Reserve Tickets

WHITEBOARD: Fast-paced heavily audience-inspired improv.

WHITEBOARD: Fast-paced heavily audience-inspired improv.

WHITEBOARD: Fast-paced heavily audience-inspired improv.

Whiteboard is totally dependent on YOU, the AUDIENCE! Before the show begins a BLANK whiteboard will be on stage and it is YOUR job to fill it up. You can draw pictures, write poetry, words, phrases, numbers - anything that inspires you!

Hopefully, the whiteboard inspires the improvisors as well who will launch into an high-energy, fast-paced show using as much of YOUR IMAGINATION as possible, using every part of the buffalo to generate spontaneous scenes, stories and then some.

Whiteboard is totally dependent on YOU, the AUDIENCE! Before the show begins a BLANK whiteboard will be on stage and it is YOUR job to fill it up. You can draw pictures, write poetry, words, phrases, numbers - anything that inspires you!

Hopefully, the whiteboard inspires the improvisors as well who will launch into an high-energy, fast-paced show using as much of YOUR IMAGINATION as possible, using every part of the buffalo to generate spontaneous scenes, stories and then some.

The performers April 11th will be: Ariel Greenspoon, Cené Hale, Erica Lies, Jessie Pascarelli, Regina Soto, Nathan Sowell, Wyatt Tall, Megan Venable and Eric Wallenstein.

$5 • Apr 11, 2015 @10:00pm • The Institution Theater, 3708 Woodbury Drive Reserve Tickets

THE SECRET LIVES OF SOCCER MOMS with Girls Girls Girls

THE SECRET LIVES OF SOCCER MOMS with Girls Girls Girls

THE SECRET LIVES OF SOCCER MOMS with Girls Girls Girls

Behind the facade of every perfect life is a secret. Behind every perfect suburban hedge is a pile of dry leaves waiting for a match. Behind every ordinary day is the song of lost potential. Behind every goal post, is a child that needs an orange slice, and behind every PTA meeting, is a mom who just wishes she could have been a broadway star instead. Watch as the ladies of GGG improvise a full-length musical in the vein of Weeds, or Desperate Housewives but with songs, dance, scandal and soccer, all while coaching their children from the sidelines of the big game.

They are all women. They are all mothers of children who play soccer. But one of them has a secret that's going to shake the cul-de-sac apart when it comes out. Maybe she’s a contract killer. Maybe she has a second family in Des Moines. Maybe she hoards Precious Moments figurines.

GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS is Austin, Texas’ longest running all-female musical theater improvisation troupe with a specialty in creating full-length improvised Broadway musicals from a single audience suggestion. They have performed in festivals in New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, Honolulu, Atlanta, Dallas and, of course, our home of Austin, Texas. GGG is the 2012 recipient of the B. Iden Payne “Excellence in Improvisational Theater”.

Friday night shows will feature free, onsite childcare and fun improv games for kids ages 6-12 (up to 20 kids). Click here to reserve your spot: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/F6VDS5D. Saturdays will have a pre-show starting at 6:30PM as the ladies tailgate and drink out of hot pink, GGG water bottles (filled with what? It’s a secret!) in the parking lot.

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TARANTULA - Organic Improv

TARANTULA - Organic Improv

TARANTULA - Organic Improv

Tarantula is Improv like you've never seen before.  It’s an experience.  It’s an organic, odd, vibrant web of collective consciousness that breathes life into the darkest corners of our minds. Once you’re inside you can’t escape it.

Tarantula is a combination of improv and live music melding together in the most unique ways.  The improvisers will use the stage and their own bodies like a canvas, a tapestry of emotions and perceptions.  Unlike most improvised shows that tell a story in a narrative fashion, Tarantula will tell a story that is fragmentary and organic.  You will relate to the weird and twisty rhythms of the show because you are HUMAN and it connects with you soul.  Improvisers will move as one, create without structure and follows the beats and tempo that the musicians lay down for them in the moment.

This month's cast will feature: Kareem Badr, Sarah Marie Curry, Michael Ferstenfeld, Courtney Hopkin, Lisa Michelle Jackson, Adam Mengesha, and Ashley Nugent with musical accompaniment by Content Love Knowles.

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FRAGILE ROCK - The World's First Emo Puppet Band

FRAGILE ROCK -  The World's First Emo Puppet Band

FRAGILE ROCK - The World's First Emo Puppet Band

Fragile Rock is Austin's own emo puppet band. They are very real and very felt. See them LIVE in their first artist residency at the Institution Theater – assuming they don't break up mid-show again.

See their debut video, I AM SAD (SO AM I) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDbkANrP-H8!

Written by Brently Heilbron with Bryan Curry, Ryan Hill, Taylor Howe, Jayme Ramsay, Devon Ragsdale, Bryan "Lubu" Roberts, Chadwick Smith, Kim Stacy, Megan Thornton, Cynthia Ward. Band stylist: Emily Cawood and puppet master: Shaun Branigan. Videos directed by Jessica Gardner.

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