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.

Starts Nov 12

One Day Workshop Dec. 8

JUST ADDED
Starts Jan 8

JUST ADDED
Starts Feb 23

Free Nov. 18th

JUST ADDED
Starts Jan 6

JUST ADDED
Starts Jan 12

Two Day Workshop Dec 1st-2nd

JUST ADDED
Starts Jan 7

JUST ADDED
Starts Jan 13

Storytelling for Performance | Elective 

Mondays, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., November 12th though December 17 (No Class on Monday, November 26th; Grad show Monday December 17th)

$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.

Free Improv Workshop

Free

Sunday,  November 18th, 1-3 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 18th,  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 info@unifiedscenetheater.com and say, “yeah, what the hell, I’m coming.”

Instructor: Shawn Westfall

Prerequisites: A Pulse

Introduction To Improv WEEKEND INTENSIVE

Introduction To Improv WEEKEND INTENSIVE, Saturday, December 1st (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sunday, December 2nd (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 2 p.m. to 5 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…

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

$50.00

Saturday December 8th, 10 am – 2:30 pm

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.

Introduction to Improvisational Comedy | Level 1

Sundays, 11a.m. — 1 p.m., January 6th through February 10th (six weeks of instruction with a graduation show the evening of Sunday, February 10th)

250.00

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

Mondays, 7 p.m — 9:30 p.m., January 7th through February 11th (six weeks of instruction with a graduation show on Wednesday, February 20th at 9 p.m.)

$250.

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

Introduction to Improvisational Comedy | Level 1

Tuesdays, 7:00 p.m. –  9 p.m., January 8th through February 19th (six weeks of instruction, with graduation show in week seven on February 19th) 

250.00

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…

Improv for Business Leaders (Present and Future) | Elective

Saturdays, 11 a.m. — 1 p.m., January 12th through February 9th (five weeks of instruction, with a graduation show in week five, on Wednesday, February 13th).

175.00

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

Intro to Long-Form Improv Comedy | Level 2

Introduction to Long-Form Improv, Sundays, 2 p.m. — 4 p.m., January 13th through February 24th (six weeks of instruction with a graduation show on Monday, February 25th; NO CLASS on Sunday, February 17th)

$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 

Saturdays, 11 a.m to 1 p.m., February 23rd through March 16th (four weeks of instruction with a graduation show on Monday, March 18th)

 Saturdays, 11 a.m to 1 p.m., February 23rd through March 16th (four weeks of instruction with a graduation show on Monday, March 18th)

 Saturdays, 11 a.m to 1 p.m., February 23rd through March 16th (four weeks of instruction with a graduation show on Monday, March 18th)

$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.

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