The Unified Scene Theater’s classes: they run the gamut from classes, workshops, and instruction in everything from improv comedy to sketch-writing to one-off workshops in creativity. We even offer classes with practical applications that help you be a better performer at work, and a better leader for your team. And we offer classes throughout the year — for beginning and novice students to even the most advanced students — on both weekday evenings and on weekends during the day. Don’t see an available class or one that fits your schedule? Keep checking back: we’ll continually update this page as new classes are available. Or join our email list to be one of the first notified when new classes are announced. Currently available classes are below: 

Winter & Spring 2018

Classes & Workshops.

Saturday May 12th

Wednesday Apr 25th

JUST ADDED | Starts Apr. 24th

Introduction to Sketch Comedy (Single Day Intensive) with Bad Medicine

Saturday,  May 12th, 10a-5p


Sketch comedy: It’s been the staple of comedy theater, radio, and TV comedy for nearly a century. And if you’re comedy geek, you’ve seen tons of it, from old time episodes of The Abbott & Costello show, to The Carol Burnett Show, to — yes, of course — Saturday Night Live, and to the numerous million-hit YouTube comedy shorts you’ve no doubt seen. And if you’re an even geekier comedy geek, you’ve always wanted to try it. Well, now’s your chance: The Unified Scene Theater is proud to bring you an introductory course in writing sketch comedy, brought to you by  the venerable members of Bad Medicine, one of DC’s most brilliantly hilarious sketch comedy troupes.

This course will walk you briefly through the history of sketch comedy, and then through the components of what makes a good sketch. Once that’s done, you’ll be invited to brainstorm a few ideas for sketches that you’ll then “pitch” to your classmates, set about writing and finessing your final idea, and then a read-through. In short, you’ll go from initial idea to premise to finished, performance-ready sketch in one afternoon, and walk away armed with a solid grounding in foundations of sketch comedy, as well as how to craft and write sketches of your own.

Space is limited. 

About Your Instructors: 

Elizabeth Kemp is a founding member of Bad Medicine, an award-winning sketch comedy troupe. She is also a political comedy writer and speech consultant in Washington DC. She has written and performed sketch comedy throughout DC and for the Charm City Festival, New York Sketch Fest and Philadelphia Sketch Festival. She studied creative writing at the University of Iowa and was a regular writer and performer at the No Shame Theater.

Julian Morgan is a founding member of Bad Medicine, an award winning DC Sketch Comedy Troupe. He has studied with the Upright Citizens Brigade in NYC and written and performed sketch comedy throughout DC and for the Charm City Festival, New York Sketch Fest and Philadelphia Sketch Festival. Julian also provides in-depth analysis of popular sketches on the Sketch-Nerds comedy podcast.

Shoa Appelman is a constant source of delight who has performed sketch comedy with Bad Medicine for festivals in Montreal, Philadelphia, New York, and DC, Improv Comedy with ComedySportz, and stand-up. She is also the writer and creator of the animated series, The First Female Bank Robber, which was recently accepted into the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.

About Bad Medicine: 

Bad Medicine is a Washington DC based sketch comedy group specializing in the dark, the cerebral, and the absurd. Though it has humble beginnings–conceived over a plate of tater tots–Bad Medicine has since performed all over DC and the east coast including Charm City Comedy Festival, Philly Sketchfest, Montreal Sketchfest and NYC Sketch Fest. They are a group of singers, designers, lawyers, and students with the shared goal of writing the best comedy about the worst of humanity. No side effects. No horse pills. No cures.


“I take writing workshops all the time and this was hands down one of the best. The in-class exercises were outstanding and some of the best at ripping us out of our comfort zones.” – Stephanie K.

Introduction to Improvisational Comedy | Level 1

Wednesdays, 7-9 p.m., April 25th – June 6th (six classes on Wednesday evenings, with a graduation show on the evening of June 6th during week 7)

Perhaps you’ve seen improv comedy on television: the TV show “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?” popularized “short-form” improv comedy in both Britain and America. And some of the most prominent names in comedy – Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrell (among numerous others) – have been trained almost exclusively in this style of comedy. Students will be taught the basics of improv through exercises and games that demonstrate the fundamental principles behind this fun and exciting art form, such as:

  • Agreement (at every point)
  • Commitment (at “Level 10”)
  • Being “in the moment” and “transparent”
  • “Checking your ego at the door”
  • Collaborating (with enthusiasm)
  • Listening (to everyone, and to everything)

What does it all add up to? A buttload of fun and awesomeness.

Instructor: Shawn Westfall

Prerequisites: None, except a willingness to leave one’s comfort zone and have a blast in the process…

Advanced Improvisational Comedy: The Harold | Level 4

Tuesdays, 7-9 p.m. , April 24th — June 5th (a six week class that meets weekly on Tuesdays with a graduation show in week seven, on June 5th)

It’s a strange name for an improv class, we know. But it’s the name given to this particular improv structure by its inventor, Del Close, for years the primary teacher of improv at Second City. And it’s the most popular form of improvisational comedy: most improv theaters around the country host a “Harold team” or a “Harold Night.” What’s a “Harold?” It’s a way of taking the sometimes-unfocused choices in improvisational comedy and turning them into a highly focused entity, one that, instead of simply playing a “game,” tells a story with a beginning, middle, and an end. And not just any “story”: Think of it as a play you and your scene partners are writing on you’re feet even as you perform it — a play that’s also friggin’ milk-our-your-nose, incapable-with-laughter funny. In this class you’ll learn to do precisely that. You’ll learn to the basic structure of a Harold, the essential components of scene work that make Harolds successful, and how commitment and character-choices can help you and your scene partners quickly discover what’s uniquely funny about your scenes, and “follow the funny” to its culmination. And you’ll have a damned blast doing all that. We promise.

Your Instructor: Shawn Westfall

Prerequisite: Either the Introduction To Long-Form Improv class taught at The Unified Scene Theater, a class in the basics/essentials of long-form improv at a recognized improv theater, or permission of the instructor

Attendance Policy

Due to the collaborative nature of this art form, attendance is crucial to both a positive experience as well as to establishing “group mind” and cohesion when it comes to getting on stage and creating the “fun” of improv out of whole cloth. That said, if your schedule doesn’t allow your attendance in that you know you’ll be missing classes, you might want to reconsider taking the class when you’re more available. There is an attendance policy in place in all TUS classes, and not adhering to it will influence both your placement in the graduation performance showcase at the end of class, as well as your placement in any subsequent TUS classes.

Refund Policy

Full refunds are allowed up to three full days prior to the start of the class. Any withdrawal during that window will result in a cancellation fee. Absolutely NO refunds will be issued once the class has started.

80 T Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20001

Rhode Island Ave & T St, NW

7-ish Blocks from Shaw Metro Station 100 Feet from Capital Bike Share