Covid Safety Protocols

We’re back! Hooray?


I know. Right now is a very different reality from when we started planning our re-opening a few months ago in June. And even though this is not exactly the public health situation we were hoping for, we are still excited that Face-to-Face (or should we say Mask-to-Mask?) classes are back at Merlin Works. Play, fun, connection and community are so important to us all and we feel it’s time to return to them. Starting August 15th, 2021 Merlin Works Improv will open its doors to in-person classes at The Zach Theatre, 1500 Toomey Rd in Austin, Texas. We hope you will join us when you’re ready.

Safety is a top priority, so for this round of classes while we are creeping towards Stage 5 Restrictions in Austin, here are our some of our COVID Safety Protocols:

  • All students and staff are required to wear masks.
  • Temperatures will be checked and hands sanitized at the door.
  • Anyone who is sick, exhibiting symptoms, or not complying with safety protocols will be asked to stay home

For more details, check out our COVID Health Protocols. We are doing our best, like so many others to figure this stuff out. But we’re better at improvising comedy scenes than epidemiology protocols.  This is our plan as of 8/3/21 9:10pm, and like everything else, it’s subject to change and revision as the year unfolds. 

But back to the classes–what a lineup! We’ve got our classics like Improv and Musical Improv classes available, along  with a special pair of four-week Improv Master Classes taught by the one and only, Asaf Ronen. Storytelling will also leave the virtual world of Zoom to enter the classroom for our first-ever in-person Storytelling 101 class with award-winning storyteller (and now Dean!) Paul Normandin. And we’ve got our first Stand Up Comedy Class with Merlin Works alum and local legend, Valerie Nies.

Our faculty is delighted and thrilled for students to return to the classrooms at ZACH. Reach out to our new Dean, Paul Normandin for any comments, questions or suggestions. 

We are excited to be doing in person classes again, and judging from the signups for classes, our students and faculty are as well. While we’re slowly returning to a sense of normalcy, with some hiccups, public health remains an overriding concern for our community. We have based our guidelines on the COVID-19 stages outlined by The City of Austin.

The City is currently in: Stage 5

Here is an outline of the action Merlin Works is taking and what we’re asking of our faculty, students, and audiences as we move forward. We will have hand sanitizer and masks available, please wash your hands before you enter a shared space, and do stay home if they are feeling ill. We will do the following at each stage:

Stages 1-2

  • No special requirements.
  • Masks are welcomed, but not required.

Stage 3

  • Audiences must wear masks in the theater.
  • Performers not actively on stage for a show must wear masks in the theater.
  • Everyone is encouraged, but it is optional, to wear masks in the classroom.

Stage 4

  • Everyone, to include fully vaccinated participants, must wear masks.
  • Temperatures will be checked at the door.
  • Theater capacity will be reduced and seats will be in groups of two with space between.

Stage 5

  • All students and staff are required to wear masks.
  • Unvaccinated and those at high risk to COVID are discouraged from attending.
  • Temperatures will be checked and hands sanitized at the door.
  • Class size will be limited.
  • Anyone who is sick, exhibiting symptoms, or not complying with safety protocols will be asked to stay home

Thank you for your time and for complying with these guidelines. We want to remain safe so this is what we are doing to keep our beloved community safe. 

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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