Throughout its 39 year history, Theatre on the Edge has always taught improv classes for the general public. Hundreds and hundreds of people have taken our courses, and we hear over and over again how much fun they are and how learning improv has helped people in their workplace and in their social life.
Even if you’re never planning to perform, these courses are great for boosting your self-confidence, opening up your creativity, and improving your ability to think and react spontaneously.
The classes are designed to be relaxing, stimulating and always supportive. We create an environment where you feel safe taking risks and trying new things. Above all, they’re a lot of fun!
As a bonus, any students registered in one of our improv courses get to attend Theatre on the Edge performances for free! Watching improv is a great way to enhance the learning experience.
Apart from the amazing skills you’ll gain, Theatre on the Edge’s classes foster a sense of community that carries on long after your last session.
Please note that these classes are designed for adults (18 years of age and over). We may do youth or children’s classes at some point in the future, depending on the demand.
Level 1 — Intro to Improv
Our Level 1 classes are designed to introduce you to the basics of improvisation. The focus is on creativity, cooperation and having fun. They’re designed to give you confidence, and teach you to trust your instincts and work together as a team.
Level 1 provides you with all the core skills you need to do improv. Even if you’re never planning to perform, the course will help you with public speaking, teaching, and interacting in social situations.
Level 2 — Improv Scene Work
Level 2 is designed to build on the material covered in Level 1. Each class will focus on a different aspect of improv (such as Characters, Narrative and so on), and each will be a mix of theory, exercises and games. By the end of Level 2, you should have the skills and confidence to perform in front of an audience, and you’ll have the opportunity to be part of an actual showcase performance at Theatre on the Edge.
Note that Level 2 classes are only open to people who have previous improv training (e.g. our Level 1 course or equivalent).
Level 3 — Advanced Improv Skills
Level 3 is designed to build on all the material covered in the previous levels. More advanced improv techniques will be covered such as different show formats and scene structures, handling larger multi-person group scenes, scene editing and introduction to long form. The focus will be primarily on scene work. By the end of Level 3, you should have all the skills needed to perform in front of an audience in a variety of improv styles and formats.
Note that Level 3 classes are only open to people who have taken our Level 2 course or have equivalent training elsewhere, or have approval of the instructors.
We also offer Continuing Education Classes on specific topics. For information on any of these more advanced classes, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Students who have completed level 2 or higher may be invited to join the cast by the Creative Team. More details can be found here.
Here’s what some of our students had to say about their time in TOTE’s training program:
As an international grad student at UWaterloo, my social life sucked for a good part of my first year in Canada. And then I was convinced by a friend into taking the TOTE level 1 class. Signing up for that class was really one of the best decisions of my life. The TOTE crew is very talented and these people just know how to show you a good time. Every Monday, I would start off the week on a great note with two hours of incredible improv fun with my class fellows and TOTE instructors. Then I would spend the whole week desperately waiting for the next class because it was, by far, the most fun activity I was involved in. I have made long lasting friendships through TOTE. I also came back for level 2 classes! If you are looking to meet new people or just to generally have the most fun you have ever had, sign up for a TOTE class. I cannot recommend it enough!
– Shahid Khaliq
I’ve attended several workshops and one-off improv classes elsewhere, but none provided the sort of experience I had at TOTE. The instruction was a perfect balance of theory, solo, and group exercises. My trainers and classmates were all very supportive and nurturing. Everyone had my back, so I was able to reach beyond my comfort zone and find out what I was really capable of.
Because TOTE is both a school and a theatre, students also have the added opportunity to attend live shows every Thursday free of charge. One of those Thursdays each month, TOTE hosts an Improv Jam; the regular TOTE cast welcomes students on stage for a few scenes, in front of an audience. I found it incredibly beneficial to my training to both see how it’s done and to perform for an audience.
Off stage, I find I’ve got more confidence in my choices at work and in social situations than I had before TOTE. I listen better than ever before, always looking for something I can relate to, to further conversation.
Improv is a language of its own, and these folks teach you to be fluent in it. I can go anywhere improv is played and jump right in now. I had so much fun performing, I feel a bit of withdrawal in not having more class to go to. Guess I’ll have to take it again!
– Paul Adamson
As a recent graduate of the TOTE improv classes I can say in all honestly the program is worth the investment. Aside from the supportive and knowledgeable teachers, the course taught me a lot about myself and gave me insights into my fellow classmates as well. Some of my classmates used the course as a means to overcome their public speaking or social anxiety. The classes offered the tools to let those people flourish in their future endeavors by showing them that being silly and having fun in front of total strangers could be liberating and foster trust in others.
For myself, the course let me explore a creative side that I’d never had the opportunity to before. Classes train you to let your imagination run wild and then guide it into a format wherein you and your fellow players can present it to an audience for the amusement of all. It’s not just the sheer joy of structured pretend-time with new found friends, it’s also learning what makes good improv, the technical aspects of being on stage and how to support each other. Learning how to observe and respond to several different people simultaneously is a lesson that I’ve used in my day-to-day life since taking the advanced classes too.
The classes teach you how to use a craft that, while not easy, is so much fun doesn’t feel like work at all! It’s hard to understate how much fun we had taking the course while gradually being introduced to this wonderful artform. I know a lot of open hearted, enthusiastic and funny people who would love to pour that sort energy into doing improv! Who wouldn’t!
– Pat Wagner
Taking improv classes at TOTE has been a blast. The instructors facilitate a welcoming and supportive environment where you can all try improv together. It’s a great chance to quickly learn and receive valuable feedback.
If you want to spend a couple hours each week laughing, stepping a bit outside of your comfort zone, and meeting other folks who want to do the same – improv and TOTE is for you.
– Kyle Loveless
I have taken the level 1, 2 and 3 classes with Tote. Each level has something new to offer even if you retake it. I have made many friends through taking classes and joined a fun community of people. Improv has also helped me become more outgoing and confident in my day to day life.
– Anya Scheinman