Improv Classes FAQ

Q: Where do I start?

A: Register for one of our Level One: Playing With Risk classes. It’s a life-changing six-week introduction to the unique style of improv we teach and perform at the Hideout Theatre.

Q: Can I test drive improv at the Hideout?

A: If you’d like to sample our classes, we offer a two-hour Free Improv Class every first Wednesday and third Saturday. Or check out our Upcoming Show Schedule and come see a show to get a feel for what we do.

Q: What do people say about your Level One class?

A: You can read many many glowing student quotes on our testimonial page. Quotes like, “Improv classes are THE MOST FUN thing I have ever done.  I immediately felt very close to all my classmates, as if we were going through an adventurous and exotic rite of passage.”

Q: If I have some previous improv experience, do I really have to start with Level One?

A: We like to think that the Hideout’s approach to improv is fairly unique (based on the work of Keith Johnstone with a heavy emphasis on storytelling and a spirit of fearlessness and effortlessness) and if you haven’t studied with us before we’d much prefer that you go through the early levels to pick up our vocabulary and basic principles. But we also know that it’s a pain in the ass to start over in a new program and are eager to ease your pain with a pretty steep discount if you’ve already been through early improv classes elsewhere. If you think you qualify to skip some classes or want to register for Level One at a discount, email our education director.

Q: Do I have to perform?

A: Only if you want to. There’s no show in Level One, but starting with Level Two each six-week class culminates in a student showcase in The Weekender for friends and family. You can always opt out, but we’re pretty sure that by the end of twelve weeks of improv you’ll be itching to try it out on stage.

Q: Do you offer any scholarships?

A: As a matter of fact we do! Click here to see if you’d be a good fit for The Hideout Diversity Scholarship Program.

Q: How SOON can I perform?!

A: Levels Two through Four culminate in instructor-directed student showcases in the Weekender. Levels Five and Six each culminate in a run of two undirected showcases in the Weekender. If these class showcases aren’t enough to sate your hunger for performance, we have a bunch of student performance opportunities, from Maestro Raw, every other month on Saturdays and student mainstage shows, a different show and cast every other month. And once you’ve completed Level Three, you’re eligible to submit your availability for Maestro EVERY Saturday night. And there’s the Free Fringe on Thursdays where just about anybody can try out a cool new show idea.

Q: How do the six levels work?

A: Levels One through Three are our introductory series that everyone in the world should take — as a primer in improvisation AND for the mind-blowing life lessons you’ll pick up.
Level One: Playing with Risk is a playful introduction to making stuff up and getting out of your own way
Level Two: Playing with Rules introduces some basic principles for navigating games and scenes
Level Three: Playing with Performance invites you to play full scenes and games with fun as your only guide

Levels Four through Six are our performance series — for those of you who have decided that you’re giving this improv thing a shot as a hobby, social group, art form or career.
Level Four: Performing the Scene gets serious about making fun scenes happen
Level Five: Performing the Show gives you the tools to host and perform your own undirected show (culminates in three performances)
Level Six: Performing the Story invites you into the thrilling world of improvised narratives (culminates in three performances)

Q: What if one class a week is not enough for me?

A: We offer regular specialty workshops on Sundays and Saturdays with different topics instructors. Check out upcoming workshops in the drop down menu under the Classes section of the website. If you’d like to retake a Level class that you’ve already been through, we offer a repeat student discount of half off (email the education director for more info). And we believe that multiple points of view are essential to your improv education, so don’t hesitate to check out classes at the other improv theaters in town.

Q: How can I get my friends involved?

A: Drag them to shows! Invite them to check out the Free Class! Forward them the charming Student Update emails that we send you. Sign them up for a Level One class yourself. For every “referral” you send us, we’ll give you $25 off your next class. And if you’re especially brave, get a group of friends together and teach them what you’re learning in classes.

Q: How do I get plugged into the Hideout and greater Austin improv community?

 A: Get invited to the parties that are happening all the time. Hang out and socialize after shows (whether you’re performing or watching). Volunteer to help out with tech, box office or taking tickets for the weekend shows. Buy your instructors a drink.