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: 

FEATURED FOR FEBRUARY

Improv for Business Leaders (Present and Future) | Elective

Wednesdays, 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., February 21st — Wednesday, March 28th (a five week class that meets weekly on Wednesdays, with a graduation show in week six, on March 28th)

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

Introduction to Sketch Comedy (An All-Day Workshop) with Bad Medicine, DC’s Sketch Comedy Legends

Saturday, February 24th, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (with a 1 hour break for lunch)

$50.

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.

Introduction To Improv WEEKEND INTENSIVE

Saturday and Sunday, March 3rd-4th (a two-day long weekend intensive — Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; with a graduation show on the evening of March 4th (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…

Winter & Spring 2018

Classes & Workshops.

JUST ADDED | Starts Feb 21st

Sat & Sun  Mar 3-4th

JUST ADDED | Mar 25th


Saturday, Feb 24th


JUST ADDED | Starts Mar 5th


JUST ADDED | Starts Apr. 24th

Sunday Feb 25th

Sunday Mar 18th

Improv for Business Leaders (Present and Future) | Elective

Wednesdays, 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., February 21st — Wednesday, March 28th (a five week class that meets weekly on Wednesdays, with a graduation show in week six, on March 28th)

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

Introduction to Sketch Comedy (An All-Day Workshop) with Bad Medicine, DC’s Sketch Comedy Legends

Saturday, February 24th, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (with a 1 hour break for lunch)

$50.

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.

JUST ADDED

Free Improv Workshop

Free

Sunday, February 25th, 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, February 25th 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

Introduction To Improv WEEKEND INTENSIVE

Saturday and Sunday, March 3rd-4th (a two-day long weekend intensive — Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; with a graduation show on the evening of March 4th (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…

Introduction to Improvisational Comedy | Level 1

Mondays, 7-9 p.m., March 5th – April 16th ((six classes on Monday evenings, with a graduation show on the evening of April 16th)

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…

JUST ADDED

Free Improv Workshop

Free

Sunday,  March 18th, 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, March 18th 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

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

$30.00

Sunday, March 25th, 1-4 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. 

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

ContacTUST