Mark your calendars for upcoming alumni theatre productions, including “Past-Present-Future” improv shows that bring current improv students and alumni together on stage for what always promise to be unforgettable performances! To participate in alumni theatre, email drama teacher Helen Scott.
Westminster Improv was founded in 1997 by former Westminster drama teacher Ila Klemm, who led the program until 2011. The first Improv class performed in the Harold structure of longform theatrical improvisation.Learn more
Dustin Reppell ’00, a member of the first-ever Improv class, describes Harold structure as being similar to a Seinfeld episode. The performers take one suggestion from the audience, perform several different scenes related to the topic, and tie all the storylines together by the end of the show. Westminster Improv switched to shortform during its second year, the style in which Improv students perform today. Shortform consists of a collection of short scenes constructed from a predetermined game driven by a topic or suggestion from the audience, much like the television show Whose Line is it Anyway?
The first Alumni Improv show took place in the summer of 2001 at City Improv at Union Station. Alumni now perform regularly throughout the year in Westminster’s Black Box Theatre and always look forward to performing with current Improv students!
Current Westminster Improv students sign up for a semester-long class, during which they perform a handful of Friday night shows in the Black Box Theatre in front of a live audience. Students divide into blue and white teams and compete against each other during the shows. In class, students are taught to strive to be truthful, not funny. While they don’t want anything that happens in their live shows to be rehearsed, students do practice games that will be played during performances in order to familiarize themselves with the structure of the games. The suggestions and participation from the audience during live shows make the performances anything but predictable! Westminster drama teacher Helen Scott began teaching the Improv class in the fall of 2011. She took a few minutes to share a few little-known facts about the rules of Improv:
Rules for Improv Student Performers