Hooray for Hotlanta

My workshops in Atlanta went fabulously. I’ve already got several invitations to come back and teach.

There are several great things about teaching out of town troupes:

1)You’ve got credibility and authority during your workshop. And because they are paying for their time, they are extra eager to listen and respond.

2)You don’t have to mess around with all the baggage of a peer relationship. It is very hard to have an effective feedback loop in a peer group. But I can come in and can lay down a lot of feedback very quickly and people are appreciative, not defensive.

3) I can coach the coaches. Often troupes have leaders or more experienced directors that are often running the show and don’t get a chance to be a student or get feedback, not only on their improv but on their directing skills. I’m able to provide coaching to coaches and give them a break from the everyday.

4) You get to show them new stuff they can get excited about. You can make the improv fresh, whether it’s teaching them a new game or scenework technique.

My one problem was I tended to be overambitious with my curriculum, trying to cram too much in to the limited amount of time. But when I get started teaching, I get so passionate and excited about the work that it’s hard for me to stop when time is up. I think I went over time with every group.

I also got to learn a lot about the improv scene in Atlanta. It has really grown a lot since I left town almost 10 years ago. There are 3-4 really substantial troupes with their own spaces and classes and a bunch of other troupes that are up and coming.

I had them fill out evaluations and got a lot of positive feedback. Here’s some excerpts:

It was great. I learned so much. I can’t imagine how it could have been better unless you would have stayed longer.

I loved this workshop. I felt on, I felt like it clicked. . . This was a lot of fun; please come back again.

I found this workshop immensely hepful because I don’t get enough feedback and critiquing usually (due to being one of the oldest members) Encouragement is great, but constructive criticism is better.

I love the side coaching and seeing how a bad scene can be made create by simple adjustments.

You will get key feeback through the unique insight of the director. One of the best workshops I’ve ever taken and I’ve taken quite a few.

This workshop will really identify so many things that might be holding back your improv growth.

Shana has a real instinct for discovering players strengths and weaknesses and is able to coach on how those strengths are useful and how to improve the weaknesses and how they balance.

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About Shana Merlin

Merlin Works is the brainchild of Shana Merlin: improviser, teacher, and performer. Since 1996, she’s been leading classes that stretch people’s imaginations, push them out of their comfort zones, and make them laugh out loud for hours at a time.
Replies: 2


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