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: 

Spring/Summer 2018

Classes & Workshops.

JUST ADDED
One Day Workshop June 24

JUST ADDED
One Day Workshop July 14

JUST ADDED
Free July 29

JUST ADDED
Starts June 27

JUST ADDED
One Day Workshop July 21

JUST ADDED
One Day Workshop Aug 5

JUST ADDED
Starts July 10th

JUST ADDED
One Day Workshop July 22

JUST ADDED
Two Day Workshop Aug 11-12

Improv for Consultants  Building Trust and Reliability

A one-day workshop,  June 24th, 1-5 p.m.

 

$40.

 

What do customers, vendors, stakeholders, colleagues, employers, and even friends and loved ones seek out in anyone they partner with? Someone they can trust, count on, and whose word is his or her bond. These qualities are often what people really mean when they say that they “connect” with someone. But these qualities often seem intangible and difficult to communicate, even when both parties are sincerely interested in helping out or working with each other.

And yet: improvisational actors rely heavily on these same qualities for crafting successful in-the-moment improv comedy scenes, in situations where all the actors involved (a) may not know each other very well, and (b) have no idea what’s going to confront them next in their scene. And yet: their ability to quickly get to a place of vulnerability and trust allows them to lasso the magic of the moment, build scenes together, and create rewarding experiences for all involved. And, as they will testify, it’s something than can be rather easily learned.

This workshop, team-taught the co-founders of The Unified Scene Theater, Kathy Baird Westfall and Shawn Westfall, will help participants understand how the formative principles of improv comedy can help them build better working professional relationships with their vendors and stakeholders. Ideal for professionals, consultants of all types (independent and otherwise), and freelancers, you’ll learn how improv comedy promotes attraction rather than “promotion,” how to build relationships with them rather than “sell” to them, and how to instead advise them in ways that will make you and your offering indispensable.

 

Instructors:

Kathy Baird Westfall has been in the Washington DC area for over three decades spanning a career in marketing and advertising alongside her passion for performance in acting, improvisational comedy and storytelling. In her day job, she is the Managing Director for Content + Social at Ogilvy & Mather where she helps brands and nonprofits tell their stories to connect with audiences. She is a frequently sought out speaker at panels and conferences, surrounding marketing, advertising, storytelling and women’s leadership among other topics. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications Program where she taught digital and integrated marketing strategy and most recently improv for leadership to the global executive program.

An active member of the DC Storytelling scene, Kathy has taken classes at Better Said Than Done and Story District. She has taught storytelling in both corporate and professional settings as well as workshops in the duststorms of Burning Man. Her storytelling performances have included the 9:30 Club, the Capital Fringe Festival, The Auld Shebeen, The Unified Scene Theater among others.

Kathy is Lakota/Oneida and originally from South Dakota. She believes firmly in radical inclusion and art forms that allow us all to participate. There is not a person who exists who does not have a story to tell.

 

Shawn Westfall Shawn’s career as both improv teacher and performer is storied: for 14 years, Shawn was the exclusive teacher of improvisational comedy at the DC Improv; in fact, he inaugurated the first improv comedy class there 15 years ago, helping grow and build the curriculum into the DC Improv Comedy School, which now boasts a roster of teachers and hundreds of students. His classes (and the numerous performances they’ve generated) have been featured in the pages of The Washington Post, The Washington Post Express, Washingtonian magazine, as well on NPR and Washington Post Radio. Of course, he’s been performing improv for over two decades, to include performing to audiences at improv comedy theaters and festivals all over the Eastern seaboard, and has racked up a number of accolades during that time. Currently, he’s the co-founder and Artistic Director of The Unified Scene Theater, a brick-and-mortar improv comedy theater located in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, DC, that, for the last three years, has been offering classes, workshops, and performances showcasing and privileging the art of improvisational comedy.

Intro to Long-Form Improv Comedy | Level 2

Introduction To Long-Form Class; Wednesdays, 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 27th through Wednesday, August 8th, with a graduation show to follow on Tuesday, August 14th (six weeks of instruction, with a graduation show in week seven, again, on Tuesday, August 14th; NO CLASS on Wednesday, July 4th)

$250

Before you can speak a language, and, more importantly, use it to communicate with others, you have to learn both its vocabulary and its grammar to be understood. Long-form improvisational comedy operates the same way: it, too, has its own vocabulary, as well as a “grammar” that those performing it should be fluent in so they too, can communicate with fellow performers — and not end up confusing audiences. But how do you learn the vocabulary and grammar of long form? Attempting to learn-while-doing, the “total immersion” philosophy, does have its benefits, but that process takes place in front of less-than-forgiving audiences, and requires a lot of stage time to finally internalize — a luxury most performers/troupes don’t have.

Enter this class: it’s here you’ll learn the kinds of useful moves you and your troupe members can make in a long-form show to not only add flavor and texture to your performance but which will also help you find the fun — and  follow it — to the delight of audiences. As individuals or as troupes, you’ll be exposed to everything from editing (perhaps the most difficult skill to learn in all of improv) to time-jumps, to heightening to “game style” improv, as well as exposure to some of the more popular forms and styles of long-form improv. And you’ll come away with a more comprehensive understanding of long-form, of its potential to be a highly focused uniquely narrated entity, rather than merely “one damned thing after another.”

This course is ideal for those novices new to long-form who might not be ready to tackle The Harold, or who are hoping hoping to expand their range of options when performing, and for people or even entire troupes wanting to create more cohesion while getting reps in to prepare for your next performance.

Instructor: Shawn Westfall

Prerequisites: Introduction to Improv, taken at either The Unified Scene Theater or at a recognized improvisational comedy theater

 

Storytelling for Performance | Elective 

Storytelling For Performance Class; Tuesdays, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Tuesday, July 10th through Tuesday, August 7th (four weeks of instruction, with a graduation show the evening of week five, on August 7th)

$175

Storytelling has been around since the beginning of time as a way for us to relate to each other and give meaning to our experiences. However, in more recent years, oral storytelling has grown as a performance art, allowing us to perfect the art of telling, and shape our stories into compelling narratives that educate, entertain, inspire and often transform perception.

In our four-week class plus a graduation showcase, we will teach you the art of storytelling for performance including:

  • Identifying the stories in our lives that make for great content. Everyone has stories to tell and you will shut down the inner censor that might be telling you the opposite.
  • Learning the narrative structure of a story, and how to apply these critical elements to yours
  • Practicing with peers to help shape each other’s pieces week-over-week.
  • Gaining feedback, critical to getting better
  • Shaping your story for an audience.
  • Working with coaches who help guide your piece into an 8-10 minute performance piece.
  • Performing on stage in a graduation showcase and having the opportunity to invite friends and family to see you perform

Instructors:

Kathy Baird Westfall has been in the Washington DC area for over three decades spanning a career in marketing and advertising alongside her passion for performance in acting, improvisational comedy and storytelling. In her day job, she is the Managing Director for Content + Social at Ogilvy & Mather where she helps brands and nonprofits tell their stories to connect with audiences. She is a frequently sought out speaker at panels and conferences, surrounding marketing, advertising, storytelling and women’s leadership among other topics. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications Program where she taught digital and integrated marketing strategy and most recently improv for leadership to the global executive program.

An active member of the DC Storytelling scene, Kathy has taken classes at Better Said Than Done and Story District. She has taught storytelling in both corporate and professional settings as well as workshops in the duststorms of Burning Man. Her storytelling performances have included the 9:30 Club, the Capital Fringe Festival, The Auld Shebeen, The Unified Scene Theater among others.

Kathy is Lakota/Oneida and originally from South Dakota. She believes firmly in radical inclusion and art forms that allow us all to participate. There is not a person who exists who does not have a story to tell.

Shawn Westfall Shawn’s career as both improv teacher and performer is storied: for 14 years, Shawn was the exclusive teacher of improvisational comedy at the DC Improv; in fact, he inaugurated the first improv comedy class there 15 years ago, helping grow and build the curriculum into the DC Improv Comedy School, which now boasts a roster of teachers and hundreds of students. His classes (and the numerous performances they’ve generated) have been featured in the pages of The Washington Post, The Washington Post Express, Washingtonian magazine, as well on NPR and Washington Post Radio. Of course, he’s been performing improv for over two decades, to include performing to audiences at improv comedy theaters and festivals all over the Eastern seaboard, and has racked up a number of accolades during that time. Currently, he’s the co-founder and Artistic Director of The Unified Scene Theater, a brick-and-mortar improv comedy theater located in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, DC, that, for the last three years, has been offering classes, workshops, and performances showcasing and privileging the art of improvisational comedy.

 

Character = Plot: An Improv Workshop | Elective 

$35.00

Saturday, July 14th, 1-4 p.m.

So many improvisers find themselves attempting to solve the plotty little problems of their scenes, when in fact these plotty little problems are superfluous to what makes scenes compelling and interesting. As one nationally recognized improviser once said, “audiences don’t walk out of an improv show thinking, ‘man, I’m so glad they fixed that bike.’” What makes improv scenes compelling? The same thing that makes movies, TV shows, plays, novels, and short stories compelling: the unforgettable characters operating at their center. We barely remember the plot of “Catcher in the Rye”; we won’t ever forget Holden Caulfield.

In this one-day, three-hour workshop taught by The Unified Scene Theater co-founder Shawn Westfall, you’ll learn how making strong, committed character choices in an improv scene benefits not only your scene, but you as an improvisational actor, as well as techniques for instantly becoming “someone wonderful right away.” You’ll come away with many more practical tools for your improv toolbox, ones you can readily and easily reach for the next time you find yourself in one of those unfulfilling, dynamically flat “talking-heads” improv scenes. Finally, you’ll see all the heavy lifting that a character choice can do for your scene, and discover how effortless improv can be when you simply stop being you.

Your Instructor: Shawn Westfall

Prerequisites: Introduction to Improv, taken at either The Unified Scene Theater or at a recognized improvisational comedy theater

Improv For Creative Ideation: Creative Strategies for Marketers, Wannabe Ad Creatives, Small Business Owners, Bootstrappers, and Anyone Else Who Has To Be Creative Quickly

Half-day Workshop

$40.00

Saturday, July 21st, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Four hours with a half-hour lunch/snack break at noon)

Improv For Creative Ideation: Creative Strategies for Marketers, Wannabe Ad Creatives, Small Business Owners, Bootstrappers, and Anyone Else Who Has To Be Creative Quickly, a one-day workshop  at The Unified Scene Theater, Saturday, July 21st, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Four hours with a half-hour lunch/snack break at noon)

If you work in marketing, advertising, own your own small business, or are trying to bootstrap one into existence, or have even had dreams of working in advertising, then you know the challenges: trying to get messaging about your offering out into the world while trying to manage the technology platforms at your disposal and busting through what seems to be an already crowded messaging atmosphere. But the biggest challenge is coming up with creative, eye-catching ideas for that messaging — the kind that sticks, is unique, fun, and makes people want to share it, allowing you and your org to break through the crowded spaces you have to operate in and stand out.

Enter improv comedy: improvisational comedians are adept at taking the seemingly banal and not identifiably funny or creative ideas and — in real time — collaborate seamlessly around them to mine them for unforgettable comedic opportunities. In this workshop, team-taught by Kathy Baird Westfall and Shawn Westfall, co-founders of The Unified Scene Theater and seasoned veterans of global advertising agencies with a combined 50 + years of experience, will show how the strategies of improv — accepting, adding, facilitated brainstorming, corralling around ideas to improve them and flesh them out — can not only enhance your ability to be creative quickly, but also to understand that you’re actually a font of creative ideas once you know where to look, and how to use them.

Instructors:

Kathy Baird Westfall has been in the Washington DC area for over three decades spanning a career in marketing and advertising alongside her passion for performance in acting, improvisational comedy and storytelling. In her day job, she is the Managing Director for Content + Social at Ogilvy & Mather where she helps brands and nonprofits tell their stories to connect with audiences. She is a frequently sought out speaker at panels and conferences, surrounding marketing, advertising, storytelling and women’s leadership among other topics. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications Program where she taught digital and integrated marketing strategy and most recently improv for leadership to the global executive program.

An active member of the DC Storytelling scene, Kathy has taken classes at Better Said Than Done and Story District. She has taught storytelling in both corporate and professional settings as well as workshops in the duststorms of Burning Man. Her storytelling performances have included the 9:30 Club, the Capital Fringe Festival, The Auld Shebeen, The Unified Scene Theater among others.

Kathy is Lakota/Oneida and originally from South Dakota. She believes firmly in radical inclusion and art forms that allow us all to participate. There is not a person who exists who does not have a story to tell.

Shawn Westfall Shawn’s career as both improv teacher and performer is storied: for 14 years, Shawn was the exclusive teacher of improvisational comedy at the DC Improv; in fact, he inaugurated the first improv comedy class there 15 years ago, helping grow and build the curriculum into the DC Improv Comedy School, which now boasts a roster of teachers and hundreds of students. His classes (and the numerous performances they’ve generated) have been featured in the pages of The Washington Post, The Washington Post Express, Washingtonian magazine, as well on NPR and Washington Post Radio. Of course, he’s been performing improv for over two decades, to include performing to audiences at improv comedy theaters and festivals all over the Eastern seaboard, and has racked up a number of accolades during that time. Currently, he’s the co-founder and Artistic Director of The Unified Scene Theater, a brick-and-mortar improv comedy theater located in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, DC, that, for the last three years, has been offering classes, workshops, and performances showcasing and privileging the art of improvisational comedy.

Jump-Start Your Short-Story/Novel — A One-Day Writing Workshop

One-day Workshop -Sunday, July 22nd (1 p.m. to 6 p.m.)

$50.00

One of the first challenges in writing is finding the time, but meaningful strides can be made on a project in short, intensive intervals. This workshop will give participants the opportunity to begin or continue a fictional project of their choosing. We will start by setting goals, talking about craft challenges, and finding solutions. We’ll brainstorm, use writing exercises to begin and add to our work, and target persuasive scene building, character, and plot as gears to serve our narratives. Participants may wish to come in with an idea or two they’d like to work on in class, or they may decide to work extemporaneously, based on in-class writing. Students who choose to share their work in class (encouraged, though not mandatory) will receive specific advice on how to utilize their particular strengths to reach their goals. Perfect for students who are looking to try something new, those who are stuck on a project, or those who have a story or novel they’re looking to develop, this class is open to writers of all levels and backgrounds.

Your Instructor: Alicia Oltuski’s fiction has appeared in Tin House magazine, Narrative magazine, Catapult, and other venues. Other work of hers has appeared in W magazine and NPR Berlin Stories. She holds an MFA from Columbia University, where she received a David Berg Foundation Fellowship, and a BA and MA from the University of Pennsylvania. She has taught at the University of the Arts, Politics & Prose, and the Writers Center.

JUST ADDED

Free Improv Workshop

Free

Sunday, July 29th, 1-3 pm

Ever thought “Hey, this improv crap looks fun. But I’m not sure I could do it. Wouldn’t mind giving it a test run before I do.” Well, now’s your chance: we’re offering a free (that’s right: FREE) 2-hour improv workshop at The Unified Scene Theater on Sunday, July 29th from 1-3 p.m. Come on by. Kick the tires. You might surprise yourself — and have fun doing it! Space is limited, so let us know you’re coming by emailing us at info@unifiedscenetheater.com and say, “yeah, what the hell, I’m coming.”

Instructor: Shawn Westfall

Prerequisites: A Pulse

My Harold Class Is Over – NOW WHAT?

A half-day workshop at The Unified Scene Theater taught by Caroline Blair Petit, Sunday, August 5th, 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

$30.00

Well you did it: you finished your Harold class, either here or at another theater. You scaled the Everest of improv, knew the effort was worth it to reach the top, and, once at the top, really enjoyed the view. But now you’re coming back down, and are looking for ways to enhance what you’ve already learned. Look no further: this workshop, taught by venerable DC improv veteran Caroline Blair Petit, will provide you with a new set of tools and strategies to help take your long-form game (see what we did there?) to the next level. Ideal for troupes that want to learn more as a whole, or for those prepping for an upcoming improv show/troupe audition, this class will take a deeper dive into the techniques that make long-form improv one of the most rewarding comedy experiences for both audiences and performers alike.

Prerequisites: A Harold class, taken at either The Unified Scene Theater or at a recognized improvisational comedy theater.

 

About the Instructor: Caroline Blair Petit
Caroline has been studying/doing improv for 9 years in Washington, DC. She has taught nearly all the class levels at Washington Improv Theater (WIT), was an ensemble member of Commonwealth, director of ensemble Love Onion and coaches practice groups and indie groups around DC. She started classes at the DC Improv with Shawn Westfall and has since performed with the indie team Hot & Sweaty, the WIT Harold team Spirit Bear, the October Issue project, POTUS Among Us 2016 and 2012, 6 FIST (Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament) teams, and multiple Improvapalooza shows. She has performed at several comedy festivals including Del Close Marathon, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, Philidelphia Improv Festival, and the District Improv Festval. She brings a strong background in group facilitation as she was a rowing coach, alternative spring break leader, scout troop leader, mindfulness teacher and program manager for college students. She has a master’s degree in Education and a BS in Psychology and isn’t afraid to use it!

Introduction To Improv WEEKEND INTENSIVE

Introduction To Improv WEEKEND INTENSIVE, Saturday, August 11th (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sunday, August 12th (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.); graduation show on the evening of August 12th, ( 8 p.m.)

$250.

Perhaps you’ve wanted to try out Intro to Improv class, but have been running into scheduling challenges? We understand: scheduling a class over the course of six weeks, especially in busy Washington, DC, can be a challenge. We’ve got your problem solved, right here: an entire six-week class, 12-hours of improv, crammed into a weekend intensive: two three-hour morning sessions and two three-hour afternoon sessions, allowing you knock out an entire improv class in one weekend rather than six weeks.

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, a free weekend, and a willingness to leave one’s comfort zone and have a blast in the process…

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

ContacTUST