2011 was a record year for our adult education program at the Hideout Theatre, with more classes and students than ever before. After every Level One class we send a student feedback form and, amongst other things, ask them what they would say when recommending classes at the Hideout.
And because no one is actually going to read all 169 of them in one sitting, let’s break it down with a word cloud (where word size is tied to frequency):
It’s safe to say people think our Level One is a “fun class.” And fun is the priority that we come back to again and again in the curriculum. No matter how hard you’re working to develop technique, challenge yourself and learn to improvise, if you lose track of having fun you’re missing the essence of improv.
“This class is awesome. You will do at least one thing that scares you. You will try something and fail. You will HAVE A TON OF FUN.”
Ignoring the commonplace and practical words (Hideout, improv, just, make, get) we start to see a pattern emerge of superlatives (really, great, awesome, lot, much, liked, loved, amazing) and priorities that are as varied as the students who come through our classes every month.
There are the people just looking for a good time (enjoyable, laughed, funny)
“This class was super funtastic. Getting an adult play date every week has definitely been a great stress reliever to long work weeks. The instructors are fun and the games are crazy good times.”
People challenging themselves (skills, learned, exercise philosophy, risks, fail, change)
“All the social exercises help you develop confidence in public speaking and confidence in approaching people in general. I was pretty wired after the very first class because I was made to speak, act and do things I would otherwise never have done. Highly recommend it!”
Trying to be more social (friends, interact, play)
“This class has helped me get back in touch with my playful and outgoing side. And meeting a new group of amazing people was a bonus!”
Aspiring to comedy and performance (stage, comedy, performing)
“It is very structured. I’ve been in improv classes that are looser and more free-form, and these tend to lead to a lot of wasted time. The Hideout’s class structure utilizes the time better than most, and gives everyone an opportunity to perform instead of creating an environment of fighting for stage time.”
Or just trying to put themselves out there a little bit (public, therapy, loose, confidence)
“I started to feel that the older I got, the more timid and boring I became and I wanted to find something to help me overcome that. This class did just that by reminding me how to take risks and have fun just like the good old days.”
Ultimately it’s all about one of the most frequent words in our student testimonials: people. We’re all looking for something to knock down the walls between us and the rest of the world, to find groups and individuals open to connecting and engaging in a more meaningful, playful way.
I teach a lot of improv classes and over the years I’ve seen improv change hundreds of lives in big ways and small — people have quit their jobs to follow their passion, found love, become kick-ass improvisers performing multiple shows a week, and generally become more fun to hang out with at parties. Improv’s transformative power is what immediately intrigued me when I took my first class at the Hideout in 2001 and it’s what inspires me ten years later to share it with anyone willing to listen.
We’re starting new classes every month. More info on upcoming sessions…
You can also test drive our curriculum twice a month in our Free Classes.
Education Director for the Hideout Theatre