AP COMEDY

It turns out the best place for an improv theater is directly across from a middle school. In 2010, while working at Kealing Middle School, I formed a relationship with The New Movement (TNM) Theater. Together we designed an introductory improv class for my rambunctious middle schoolers. One year later I co-founded AP Comedy with TNM's sister theater in New Orleans.

Insights: 

  • Improv is an artistic equalizer of income, educational, or physical disparity; it requires no special equipment or athletic talent, and emphasizes the support of a teammates as fundamental to success
  • Improv as a behavioral intervention in middle schools must be implemented for a minimum of 2 hours per week for a minimum of 8 weeks to be effective 

Results:

  • Recruited over 50 families and their children to take creative risks, and give support to their troupe mates
  • Built a relationship with Lamar Fine Arts Middle School, facilitating an 8-week course with at-risk youth
  • Convinced one improv’r to stop talking about marshmallows in every scene

My Roles:

  • Launched AP Comedy at TNM Austin
  • Led the recruitment of all students
  • Designed and wrote improv curriculum based on emerging CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) standards
  • Taught improv curriculum to middle and high school students in 8-week courses, ending with a prime-time performance at TNM
  • Offered sliding scale scholarships for families in need