The Unified Scene will be offering classes in improvisational comedy 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 2017

Classes & Workshops.

Starts Oct 18th

Sunday 11.19

Starts Oct 30th

Sat & Sun  12.9-10

Starts Nov 5th

Sunday 12.17

Improv for Business Leaders (Present and Future)

Wednesdays, 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., October 18th through November 15th (four weeks of instruction, with a graduation show in week five, on November 15th).

We hear many reasons why students sign up for an improv class. Everything from “I need better people skills” to “I need to do something fun outside of my job”. What if improv skills could actually enhance your job? What if you could take the fun, joy and life skills experienced with improv and apply these to your work on a daily basis?

Our Improv for Business class will teach you to do just that. We will address a variety of realities and fears business professionals face every day using the lens of improv, including:

  • Public speaking: Learning how to feel more comfortable and confident in public speaking situations
  • Going “off script”: Handling unexpected conversations, and delivering presentations without just reading from PowerPoint slides
  • Teambuilding: Creating healthy, supportive team relationships whether as a leader or team player
  • Positive culture: Bringing a “Yes, and…” attitude to the workplace and infusing that spirit across the office
  • Listening: Understanding the importance of listening to your colleagues, clients and business partners so that you don’t miss critical information, both which is said and unsaid
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ): Recognizing and owning your own emotions and others and leveraging those for authentic communications in the workplace
  • Creativity: Tapping into your creative side to reduce fear, unlock barriers and generate new ideas at work
  • Body Language: Building awareness of physicality and body language to understand how nonverbal cues often provide more insight than words in daily communications

This course is designed for anyone who works in a business environment, anyone who wants to work in a business environment, or frankly for anyone who works and deals with others at all.

Bring yourself, a notebook and an open mind. All egos must be checked at the door.

Instructors: Shawn Westfall and Kathy Baird Westfall

Advanced Improvisational Comedy: The Harold


Monday, October 30th through Monday, December 18th (seven weeks of instruction with a graduation show to held on the evening of December 18th; NO CLASS on Monday, November 27th)

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

Love And Anger: Loving and “Fighting” in Improv Comedy


Sunday, November 5th, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“Take away the love and the anger 
And a little piece of hope holding us together
….Take away the stone and the timber
And a little piece of rope won’t hold it together…”
                                    — Kate Bush, “Love and Anger”

Let’s face it, conflict is funny. It’s what drives most narratives, and is the source of both drama and comedy. And we see a lot of it in improv scenes: Lovers, partners, husbands, wives, quarreling and bickering, with no physical contact. Friends or co-workers either being passive-aggressive or overtly aggressive, with scenes crescendoing into outright anger. And sure, it’s fun to take that journey. But what we are seeing is the middle of the envelope: when the origin story of the two people who love each other has long been forgotten, or the covert warfare of the two friends who’ve grown to dislike each other is close to spilling out into the open, but stops short of outright physical contact.

This workshop is going to deal with the outside edges of that envelope: using exercises and scenes we are purposefully going to create contexts in which loving physical contact (“pre-kissing,” stage kissing, caressing) is involved, or which angry physical contact (stage combat) is involved. You’ll learn strategies and tools for creating romantic scenes that result in near-kisses or kisses (the kind that make audiences go “whooo!”), as well as scenes that find the characters coming to blows (scenes that make audiences go “ooooh!”). And you’ll learn that there’s comic potential in both these spaces, despite their both being so infrequently explored.

Of course, this course will all be done within the realm of physical boundaries and safety: you won’t actually be “making out” with your fellow actors or hitting them at full speed. You’ll learn time-honored theatrical techniques for implying these things for audiences, with parameters, boundaries, and physical safety being at all times paramount. However, you will be in physical contact with your fellow actors. If you, understandably, have reservations, for whatever reason, about this, you might want to reconsider signing up. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Instructor: Shawn Westfall
Pre-requisite: experience, via classroom or performance, in the basics of long-form improv. 


Free Improv Workshop


Sunday, November 19th, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

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, November 19th, from 1 p.m. to 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 and say, “yeah, what the hell, I’m coming.”

Instructor: Shawn Westfall

Prerequisites: A Pulse

Introduction To Improv WEEKEND INTENSIVE


December 9th (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.) and December 10th (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.); graduation show on the evening of December 10th ( 8 p.m.)

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…


Free Improv Workshop


Sunday, December 17th, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

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, December 17th, from 1 p.m. to 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 and say, “yeah, what the hell, I’m coming.”

Instructor: Shawn Westfall

Prerequisites: A Pulse

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