Classes FAQ

Q: Where do I start?

A: Register for one of our Level One: Playing With Risk classes. It’s a delightful six-week introduction to improv ala 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 twice a month (usually the first Wednesday and third Saturday). Or check out our Upcoming Show Schedule and come see one of the eight (or more) different shows we offer Thursday through Sunday.

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

A: You can read a boatload of 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: What are the perks of taking classes at the Hideout?

A: Hideout students can attend any of our weekly improv comedy shows for free (as long as they’re not sold out by show time). You’ll also receive two free ticket vouchers that you can redeem at the box office 30 minutes show time (as long as it’s not sold out online before the box office opens). Current students are eligible for discounts on special workshops and electives that the Hideout offers throughout the year.

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

A: That depends. 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 zen-like 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 hassle to start over in a new program and are eager to ease your pain with a 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: What are the pre-requisites for taking classes at The Hideout?

A: None! A willingness to try new things, make mistakes and have fun is all you need.

We recommend that children under 18 start in our Youth Improv Classes, but will make exceptions on a case-by-case basis. If you have a child who would like to participate in our adult improv classes, email our education director.

Q: What happens after I really love my Level One class and want to continue?!

A: We generally start a new Level Two class the week after your Level One ends – same day, time and place. And then a Level Three after that. Sometimes we’ll take a week between classes to give you a break, but generally we keep rolling through the Levels at full speed.

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: 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 or three undirected showcases in the Weekender. If these class showcases aren’t enough to sate your hunger for performance, check out Friday 8pm shows which regularly solicit players from all levels of our classes and from the broader improv community. And once you’ve completed Level Three, you’re eligible to submit your availability for Maestro, our weekly short form show Saturdays at 10pm.

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 gives you the basic techniques for initiating strong games and scenes
Level Three: Playing with Performance gets you playing full scenes, comedic and theatrical

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 individual feedback and scene diagnostics
Level Five: Performing the Show gives you the tools to host and perform your own undirected show
Level Six: Performing the Story drops you into the thrilling world of improvised narratives

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

A: We offer weekly Elective classes on Wednesdays — each week is a different topic and a different instructor. These classes are $5 for currently enrolled Hideout students and $10 for the general public. If you’d like to retake a Level class that you have 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 motivated, get a group of friends together and teach them what you’re learning in classes.

Q: Okay, I’m hooked — how do I get more stage time?

A: After Level Three you’re eligible to submit your availability for Maestro. Levels Five and Six culminate in a run of two or three shows. Form a troupe with other students and get on the Hideout schedule for the Threefer and Weekender by emailing our Artistic Director. Submit your availability for the Friday shows (Maestro Raw, Pick Your Own Path, Fancy-Pants Mashup). Play in the Thursday late show, the Free Fringe. Check out jams at the Hideout and other theaters around town.

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

A: Get invited to the parties and happy hours 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.

Q: What can I do for the Hideout?

A: Help us spread the good word of improv. Send people our way for shows and classes. Connect us with companies and organizations that would benefit from professional development or entertainment. Volunteer for the special events that we do every couple months (The 44-Hour Improv Marathon, Improvised Play Festival, Out of Bounds, Waffle Fest, etc.).

Q: What is your refund policy on classes?

A: Once you’ve registered for a class (made payment) our policy is no refunds. If your schedule changes and a class no longer works for you, we’re more than happy to hold your payment as credit toward a future class that fits your schedule. And we reserve the right to make exceptions in cases of emergency.

Q: I heard you have a teacher discount?

A: We offer half off of our classes to professional educators. Just send us an email with proof that you’re a teacher and we’ll set you up with the discount code.