What is improv?

I’m Kevin, and I’ve been improvising for my entire life—just like you, whether you realize it or not. For the last 16 years I’ve done it on stages all over the world, and for the last five I’ve taught and performed with the Merlin Works school of improv.


(And sometimes I get a makeover.)


Even though it’s more popular than ever, many people aren’t familiar with improv as an art form, or why in the world they would want to take an improv class.

Very simply, improv is unscripted theater. You might have seen the rapid-fire games on “Whose Line is it Anyway?” and that is indeed some of the best improv in the world. But improv can be many other things, from a silly teambuilding activity to a full-length improvised play. It’s make-believe, which means it has no limits.


Why take an improv class?

Some people want to be onstage making an audience laugh. Others just want to gain confidence in their personal or professional lives. Improv has a broad range of benefits, even if you have no interest in being a professional comedian. Here are some of my favorite reasons to take an improv class:


Improv brings you joy.

You have FUN in improv class—it’s like playtime for grown-ups. Over the course of eight weeks you can take a break from your adult responsibilities, and just be goofy for a couple of hours. (Careful: You might make new best friends in the process!)


Improv brings you confidence.

Thanks to improv, I no longer have awkward moments! That’s a lie, of course; awkward moments happen to us all the time. But when they do, I no longer freeze up and lie awake in bed wondering how I could have handled it better. Improv lets you handle the unexpected with aplomb. Mistakes are gifts in improv.


Improv brings you creativity.

Improv lets you access the spark of originality that’s inside you. If you feel less creative than your friends and colleagues, there’s no better workout than making things up on the spot, over and over and over again. If you love to plan everything in advance, that’s great! But improv lets you learn to love living in the moment too.

Interested in learning more?

Merlin Works is registering now for our fall session, with Improv 101 classes beginning October 11th at the ZACH Theatre downtown and October 12th at the ZACH North in Cedar Park.

Enroll for Improv 101!

Want to try it out? Check out our free intro classes on October 4th and 5th!


About Kevin

Kevin Miller is the Dean of the Merlin Works Institute for Improvisation. He has performed, coached, and taught improv in Austin, Texas for over 15 years.

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