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Philly Improv Theater

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The Deconstruction


with Sam Miller

Calendar Jun 3, 2023 at 1:30 pm, runs for 8 weeks

 “Where traditional Harolds utilized an Opening to generate ideas and information upon which to base the piece, the Decon asked a simple question, how many different ways can you be inspired by a scene.” ~ Miles Stroth (of The Family)

The Deconstruction, or Decon, was created by the Chicago-based team The Family under the direction of Del Close. It’s among the most strictly constructed of all the long form structures, and incredibly fulfilling and fun to play and watch. Over eight weeks students will learn the structure of the form, the key components including - base grounded scenes, developing strong character relationships that evolve, change and arc throughout the performance. Pulling themes to inspire characters and new scenes, understanding the approach to generating commentary ideas and executing them through position play. Creating a final tag run, maintaining pace, retaining source material with strong ideas for callbacks and connections. This class will run eight weeks. Class meets once a week for two hours.  


PREREQUISITE:  Level 301 long form improv from any established improv training center. May substitute two consecutive years on an established long form improv team or with permission from the Instructor or Education Director.


Day: Saturday

Dates: 6/3, 6/10, 6/23, 6/24, 7/1, 7/8, 7/15, 7/22

Time: 1:30 p.m. 3:30 p.m.

Class location: 2nd Stage (this is an accesible space)

Showcase: This class will be scheduled to perform in either a Friday or Saturday evening PHIT show as their showcase.  Date and time TBD in consultation with the Instructor and PHIT schedule.


About the Instructor:

Sam Miller(he/him) is a veteran improviser, recovering television writer and aspiring clown. Sam currently performs with the PHIT Harold Team Schmooty and is a member of the PHIT Programming Committee, directing the student production Shattered and the upcoming improvised superhero movie. Prior to Philadelphia, Sam lived in Los Angeles and was on a Deconstruction indie team, The Feel Good Not Bad Death Laser. He also studied the decon at The Pack Theater with Miles Stroth and Brian James O'Connell. Sam’s television writing credits include sitcoms on CBS, Disney and YouTube Red, which was, in fact, a thing.

Will run

Musical Improv 101


with Paul Hazen

Calendar Jun 11, 2023 at 11:30 am, runs for 6 weeks

Musical Improv 101: This class is for anyone who has some experience with improv and wants to explore the fun of creating songs along with scenes.

Over the course of six weeks you will learn the fundamentals of musical improv, including how to create songs and lyrics on the spot, how to use music to enhance your characters and scene work, and explore various musical theater genres and tropes.  Class meets once a week for six weeks. Each class is two hours and will consist of a mix of exercises, games and scene work.

This class will be co-led by Instructors Paul Hazen and Kirk Stevens.


PREREQUISITE: Level 101 improv. Ability to carry a tune (shower singing counts!)

Day: Sunday

Dates: 6/11, 6/18, 6/25, 7/2, 7/9, 7/16

Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Class Location: Second Stage

Showcase Date & Time:  7/23 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Theater Location: 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103


About the Instructors:

Paul Hazen (he/him) began improvising music as a jazz saxophonist in high school and went on to earn his Bachelor’s of Music degree from Temple University. A lifelong musical theater fan, Paul has also played and conducted in many pit orchestras over the years and is one of the founding members of The Good Kids musical improv team. Paul is an ensemble member of the musical team Thank You, Places where he combines his love of comedy, theater, and making up songs. In addition to performing, Paul is also an amateur cocktail enthusiast known for making his own syrups and super juices and wearing an obnoxious hipster bartender’s apron at both appropriate and inappropriate occasions. And although he loves musical improv with his whole heart, Paul’s favorite and most important role will always be husband and father.

Kirk Stevens (he/him) is an actor, musician, filmmaker & improviser originally from Rochester, NY. He has been doing improv for 20 years and has trained at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre. Currently Kirk is an ensemble member of the musical team Thank You Places. He previously performed on the New York musical improv team, Good Catch and the PHIT Harold Team, Remain Calm. He has released several albums of original music that are available on Bandcamp and many other streaming platforms. He is a Blu-ray & DVD enthusiast and a father to a misbehaved, but very sweet beagle.


Payment plan available: $170 deposit plus 2 payments of $104.50, paid weekly.

S is for Stage Picture


with Katie Butler

Calendar Jul 11, 2023 at 7 pm, runs for 2 weeks

S is for Stage Picture - A two week class in how to block

“Every actor on stage is responsible for everything that happens. If some actors are not aware of the stage picture, other actors must move them.”

~ Viola Spolin, Improvisation for the Theater. A Handbook of Teaching and Directing Techniques. 


There is an expression that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s true, then what are your improv stage pictures saying? How we arrange ourselves on stage can either direct energy, focus, and reveal things about characters and story OR they can distract, pull focus away from the story and lose the interest of our audiences and fellow players. 

Performances that grip the attention of an audience require performers to be aware of both what they are doing and saying and HOW they are doing it.

In this two week class you will learn a few different techniques to become aware of yourself, your scene partners, and the imaginary world around you.  You will gain greater ability to control the “message” you are sending.  In week one you’ll learn about status, push-pull, action efforts, how to use objects (real and imaginary) to greater effect. In week two you will apply these techniques in games and scene work, both scripted and improvised to really lock in the techniques.


Prerequistes: Minimum Improv 101 or Acting 101

Day: Tuesday

Dates 7/11, 7/18

Time: 7pm - 9pm

Class Location: Second Stage (this is an accessible location)

No showcase offered


About the Instructor:

Katie is a Philadelphia-based teaching artist and theatre maker. She has been teaching for seven years and earned her BFA from the University of Texas at Arlington ('10) and her MFA from The Pig Iron School ('20). Her work as an artist and educator revolves around building community and connection through physical discovery and play. Katie is also a founding company member of Shakespeare On Tap and performs and teaches nationally.


What others say:

"Katie is a master (expert) of improv. She communicates goals clearly and sets high expectations. She provides encouragement and compassion in meeting the challenges of each student. She sets safe boundaries, and is trustworthy. Her enthusiasm is uplifting, and it is clear she is passionate about teaching and improv."

"Thanks for teaching us! I learned so much about my performance style and how to trust others to create great scenes."

"Katie Butler is a complete beam of light and a dream to work with! She cultivated a safe and brave space and allowed us to flop and learn from doing instead of talking at us."

Will run

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