Big News, Big Changes at Merlin Works: December 2020 Newsletter

Image from The Curly Mess on Etsy

Okay, So 2020 Was a Dumpster Fire

We’re putting that dumpster in the… umm… trash can and starting new things in 2021

We’ve based our business on in-person training for the past 17 years. We built up a bustling company of classes, trainings, shows, and events with an incredible team of talented teachers. And in March of 2020, that all came to an abrupt halt, along with the childcare that made much of our business success possible. 

So this Spring and Summer, with whatever strength we had left at the end of the day of home distance learning, public health anxiety, and distress about racism in our country, we pivoted. Or we spun around in circles and gave ourselves whiplash. It’s hard to tell sometimes. Either way, we put our classes, shows, and community online. 

We’ve had some success--figuring out how to find the hidden magic in Zoom, reaching students in different states and continents, and creating new content to with partners like SAFE Austin and PTA Associations. We’ve also had our share of cancellations, postponements and days where the phone just didn’t ring. Worst of all we’ve seen some of our family and community members grieve the loss of loved ones due to COVID-19. 

At the end of 2020, as we bid a fond farewell to our beloved and esteemed Dean of five years, Kevin Miller, we feel how hard change can be. But we also see what an opportunity it is. As the founder of Merlin Works, I am stepping back in to the Dean role. My first order of business, after having a nice bon voyage party for Kevin, was to launch a ton of new classes, panel discussions, and a series of public classes with the theme Improv For Everyone. Here’s a sample of the new things in store in the new year:

New Specialty Classes: 

  • In-Person (Masked, Outdoor, Socially Distant) Improv Classes
  • Writing Comedy Songs
  • Improv on Your Phone
  • Grounded Narrative Longform
  • Improv For Stress Management
  • Improv to Create the Life You Dream

New Panel Discussions: 

  • The Art of Improv
  • The Business of  Improv 
  • Applied Improv

New Public Applied Improv Classes:

  • Improv for Nurses
  • Improv for New Moms
  • Improv for Chefs
  • Improv for Couples
  • And More…


It’s a classic throw-the-spaghetti-at-the-wall technique I’ve honed over years of improv training and entrepreneurship. If something isn’t working, try something new. Better yet, try twelve something news. The market will tell you which ones are actually a good idea. 

So please check out the new options on our recently re-vamped www.merlin-works.com, sign up for something, and send us your feedback. Good riddance 2020. And here’s hoping 2021 brings us something better. Or at least different. 

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.
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