Social Satire | Theater for Change | Advanced Improv Class
Six Week Series
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In this advanced long form improv class, students will improve their ability to address transgressive topics, utilizing character monologues, premise based scenes, mapping games, meta-narrative, and social commentary through the lens of social justice. Players will tickle the under-belly of political correctness and social structures, examining the lines few comedians dare to approach, braving thematic territory that improvisers often avoid. This class runs the gamut of improv taboo. All topics are on the table in this six week class, however students boundaries will always be honored and advocated for. Students are never required to participate in a scene or exercise that causes them distress.
This class will explore improv narratives through the lens anti-oppression and include discussions on privilege, class, race, gender, age, religion, ability, sex, vulgarity, violence and mental health. Special emphasis will be placed on "punching up," speaking truth to power, playing with empathy, and using a values-based approach to explore oppression and liberation in improv. Participants should have several years of improv or acting experience, a working knowledge of social justice, and an openness to share in discussions about difficult subject matter.
Social Justice refers to concepts of affirmation, equality, and equity within society that extends to all its constituents regardless of class, creed, gender, race, orientation, age or ability. Social Justice Improv refers to performances that center a social justice topic, attack systems of power, and uplift the oppressed. Social Satire refers to critiquing, often comedically, the powers that be.
If it is not yet evident, this class will address material that may be triggering. As such, we will begin with mindfulness exercises, harm prevention practices, and compassionate dialogue. Please know that all student boundaries will be honored and participants are welcome to simply observe if they ever feel uncomfortable. Additionally, students never need to justify their boundaries.
When performances address social justice themes, we take care to prioritize curiosity, knowledge and compassion, while investigating bias, trauma, and ignorance. We want social justice improv performances to center the issue, deconstruct power, and imagine just resolutions to problematic narratives. To that end, we strive to teach students the difference between theatre that "punches up" (attacks systems of oppression) vs. theatre that "punches down" (exploits historical trauma). We discuss narratives and styles of humor that reinforce oppression through microaggressions, stereotyping, and gaslighting. Then we teach students how to create conscientious narratives through a values-based process.
Participants will walk away with new vocabulary and tools for approaching work that centers social justice themes. Students will leave with empowered performance skills for inclusive and socially just collaboration.
Students will Learn...
This class is for individuals who have completed at least five (5) improv classes or have a strong grasp of long form improv. Students should also have a working knowledge about social justice and an openness to engaging in difficult discussions.
About Online Classes
Bird City Improv has moved its education program online. Each class includes a variety of activities, including group games, solo work, peer dialogue, breakout room exercises, improvisation and class reflections. Our classes are a chance to meet new people and laugh while learning a new skill. At the end of each lesson, we host an optional Happy Hour for students to socialize.
Classes are "low-cost to no-cost" with free and PWYC options to increase accessibility and disrupt classism. Our business model and curriculum are guided by a philosophy of wellness, equity, and social justice in the arts. Improvisation is the most team-oriented artform and its guiding principle “Yes, And” is predicated on affirmation and support. As such, our classes are inclusive spaces that respect individual experience, honor boundaries, and challenge systems of oppression.
If you're interested in signing up, all you need to join is a device with a webcam. You don’t need to be a “funny person.” You don’t need to know any jokes. You just need to be brave, willing to learn, and willing to laugh.
About the Teachers
Tavish Forsyth (he/his) is a queer, Baltimore-based improviser with New England roots. He is the founder of Bird City Improv, a teaching artist at the Maryland Center for Creative Classrooms, and an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins University. Tavish is a trained actor with two degrees in theatre. He has studied at the Baltimore Improv Group, The Powerhouse Theater, and iO Theatre. He is versed in Long Form Improv, Applied Improvisation, Short Form Theatre Games, Movement, Mindfulness, Stanislavsky Technique, Elizabethan Theatre, Dramatic Writing and Sketch Comedy. Through creating an atmosphere of play, Tavish empowers individuals to listen, adapt, and respond, creating theatre that is silly, patient, and honest.
Kimberly is an improviser of the world, having lived in Los Angeles, London, Singapore and Des Moines before making her way to Baltimore. As a senior training facilitator at Bird City Improv, Kimberly brings a wealth of experience to her work. Before moving to Baltimore, Kimberly was a independent filmmaker and actress. She was instrumental in establishing the Des Moines improv scene, performing with Last Laugh Comedy Club and co-founding Uplifting Comedy, dedicated to spreading the joy of improv to religious communities. In Baltimore, she is a producer, performer and teaching artist at the Baltimore Improv Group, as well as the Charm City Comedy Project.
As much as Kimberly loves performing improvised theatre, what struck her most about the art-form was its core tenets and their usefulness off stage. She discovered the elements of inclusion, non-judgement, self-love, and saying yes readily apply in the real world, positively affecting everyday life. Improv is truly an art form that can heal, and Kimberly has made it her mission to spread that encouraging message to others, while making them laugh along the way.
Any Questions About the Class?
Feel free to reach out at YmlyZGNpdHlpbXByb3YgfCBnbWFpbCAhIGNvbQ==. Any and all questions are welcomed. We know this is an unusual class that addresses complexity and we are happy to discuss any curiosities or concerns with interested students.
Visit www.birdcityimprov.com to view our offerings.
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Tickets for Social Satire: Theater for Change | Advanced Improv Class can be booked here.
|Ticket Information||Ticket Price|
|Full Price||USD 200|
|Flex Price #1||USD 120|
|Flex Price #2||USD 60|
|Flex Price #3||USD 45|
|POC Diversity Scholarship||Free|
|Trans & GenderQueer Scholarship||Free|
|Financial Assistance Scholarship||Free|
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