workshops

learn from the pros

Workshop Discounts FAQ

The Kansas City Improv Festival strives to bring the finest in Improv Education to Kansas City for the best price. As such, we will be offering discounts for improvisers participating in multiple workshops. Here’s how this works for your wallet:

Single Workshop - $40

Two Workshops - $75 ($37.50/workshop)

Three Workshops - $95 ($31.67/workshop)

Four Workshops - $120 ($30/workshop)

Five Workshops - $150 ($30/workshop)

Here’s how this works in practice:

  1. Find all of the workshops you want to take at www.kcimprovfestival.com/workshops. Establish the total number of workshops you’d like to take.
  2. Click the “Sign Up for Workshops” button below each workshop description. You will be redirected to eventbrite to make your purchase.
  3. Click the large green “Tickets” button, and select the option that reflects the TOTAL NUMBER of workshops you’ll be taking
    1. If you are only taking 1  workshop at KCIF, choose “Single Workshop Enrollment”
    2. If you are taking 2 workshops total, select “Two Workshop Enrollment”
      1. Same for 3, 4 & 5 workshops with their respective options
  4. Enter how many tickets you want for that particular workshop
    1. If you are buying tickets for yourself only, purchase 1 ticket.
    2. If you’re buying for a yourself and a friend, select 2.
      1. This is a rare occurrence
  5. Click Checkout.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 of his process for each individual workshop you’ll be taking!

***Specialty Workshop***

We are beyond excited to have Kevin McDonald at our festival this year, offering his all day “Improv to Sketch” workshop. As an all day workshop with a performance in the festival, this workshop is priced differently than the others ($180 flat rate). As such, this one workshop will count as two in the grand total for discounts.So, if you purchase the Kevin McDonald workshop, and wish to take another, you would be eligible to purchase the other workshop at the 3 workshop price, and so on.

If you have any questions, please e-mail kcimprovfest@gmail.com with the subject line “Workshops”. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you at KCIF2018.

weekend 1

Sketch Through ImprovisationKevin McDonald
  • Date/Time: Saturday Aug 18th from 10 AM to 5 PM
  • Location: 816 Hotel
  • Teachers: Kevin McDonald
  • Skill Level: All Levels
  • Max Students: 16

Join Kevin McDonald of the Kids in the Hall for a daylong workshop to learn how to write sketches through improvisation - just like the Kids in the Hall used to do. But not only that! You will do a show that night with Kevin, in front of a real live audience, performing the sketches you wrote that day. Exciting? Kevin thinks so, and he thinks you will too.

Kevin will talk about the secrets of writing comedy sketches (hopefully they’re secrets and not lies) and teach you the Kids in the Hall process of coming up with an idea and turning it into a sketch through improvisational rehearsal. You will be performing and writing with Kevin supervising, all day. And that night, you put on your show! During the workshop, he promises bathroom and lunch breaks and if you ask him, there's a good chance Kevin will tell stories about the Kids in the Hall. You might actually have to ask him to shut up telling stories about the Kids in the Hall. He's beside me now, telling stories about the Kids in the Hall. Shut up Kevin.


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Hone Your SuperpowerDylan Rohde
  • Date/Time: Saturday Aug 18th from 1 PM to 3 PM
  • Location: Buffalo Room
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Max Students: 16

This workshop will focus on sharpening your best skill, working with each person individually on what makes them stand out from everyone else. Are you the best at grounding reality that ever lived?  Maybe your game is so on point it’s scary. Or maybe you have absolutely no clue because you’ve never really explored the possibilities that exist! Maybe you know what your best strength is, maybe you only think you know what your best strength is. Either way, if you want to be a star improviser, you have to know not only what your superpower is, but how to use it.

Dylan is the founder of The Backline (Improv School/Comedy Theatre in Omaha), Omaha Improv Festival, and Omaha Comedy Week. Trained and performed for almost 4 years at UCB-LA, trained and performed for 2 years at iO West, and was a member of the early LA Indie scene.

Combining UCB and iO has created a style that is both very focused on "Game" but also a necessity for finding "Relationship." The goal is for a realistic and relatable scene, but also finding patterns to have fun with and get the audience laughing. He teaches the two most important qualities in improv are trust and listening.

Dylan has taught and performed at the Tampa Bay Improv Festival, Crossroads Comedy Festival (Indianapolis,) Third Coast Improv Festival (Nashville,) Improvention International Improv Festival (Australia,) HUGE Theatre (Minneapolis,) Voodoo Theatre (guest for Governor Jack twice) (Denver,) Kick Theatre (Kansas City,) The Improv Shop (St. Louis,) Last Laugh (Des Moines,) West Dakota Players (Rapid City,) Camping USA (Big Bear, CA.) He has performed in the Del Close Marathon, Chicago Improv Festival, LA Improv Festival, Second City-LA 24-hour Improv Festival.


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Improvised Stage CombatDylan Rohde
  • Date/Time: Saturday Aug 18th from 10 AM to 12 PM
  • Location: Buffalo Room
  • Skill Level: All Levels
  • Max Students: 16

Learn how to truly exploit your imagination in this workshop focused on creating movement of ourselves and invisible objects as we learn how to punch, slap, kick, slice, shoot, cast lightning, and wherever else our minds can take us. We'll not only focus on the actions, but more importantly the reactions, as well as sound effects and music. If you have little interest in stage combat, it's also great for just working on team support. This workshop is great for improving your object work as well: learn how to pick that cup up like it’s real!  Eat from a bowl like a real human person! You can brush your teeth when you’ve got a toothbrush in your hand but what about when you’re improvising one?

Dylan is the founder of The Backline (Improv School/Comedy Theatre in Omaha), Omaha Improv Festival, and Omaha Comedy Week. Trained and performed for almost 4 years at UCB-LA, trained and performed for 2 years at iO West, and was a member of the early LA Indie scene.

Combining UCB and iO has created a style that is both very focused on "Game" but also a necessity for finding "Relationship." The goal is for a realistic and relatable scene, but also finding patterns to have fun with and get the audience laughing. He teaches the two most important qualities in improv are trust and listening.

Dylan has taught and performed at the Tampa Bay Improv Festival, Crossroads Comedy Festival (Indianapolis,) Third Coast Improv Festival (Nashville,) Improvention International Improv Festival (Australia,) HUGE Theatre (Minneapolis,) Voodoo Theatre (guest for Governor Jack twice) (Denver,) Kick Theatre (Kansas City,) The Improv Shop (St. Louis,) Last Laugh (Des Moines,) West Dakota Players (Rapid City,) Camping USA (Big Bear, CA.) He has performed in the Del Close Marathon, Chicago Improv Festival, LA Improv Festival, Second City-LA 24-hour Improv Festival.


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Relationship is a GameDylan Rohde
  • Date/Time: Sunday Aug 19th from 1 PM to 3 PM
  • Location: Buffalo Room
  • Skill Level: All Levels
  • Max Students: 16

Many improvisers are told they have to either focus on Relationship or Game as if there is no middle ground. The most engaging performers are able to play both AT THE SAME TIME. In this workshop, we’ll focus on finding a realistic relationship that continues to get laughs every time its dynamic is tested. The Odd Couple is a perfect example where every time they are at odds, we laugh.

Dylan is the founder of The Backline (Improv School/Comedy Theatre in Omaha), Omaha Improv Festival, and Omaha Comedy Week. Trained and performed for almost 4 years at UCB-LA, trained and performed for 2 years at iO West, and was a member of the early LA Indie scene.

Combining UCB and iO has created a style that is both very focused on "Game" but also a necessity for finding "Relationship." The goal is for a realistic and relatable scene, but also finding patterns to have fun with and get the audience laughing. He teaches the two most important qualities in improv are trust and listening.

Dylan has taught and performed at the Tampa Bay Improv Festival, Crossroads Comedy Festival (Indianapolis,) Third Coast Improv Festival (Nashville,) Improvention International Improv Festival (Australia,) HUGE Theatre (Minneapolis,) Voodoo Theatre (guest for Governor Jack twice) (Denver,) Kick Theatre (Kansas City,) The Improv Shop (St. Louis,) Last Laugh (Des Moines,) West Dakota Players (Rapid City,) Camping USA (Big Bear, CA.) He has performed in the Del Close Marathon, Chicago Improv Festival, LA Improv Festival, Second City-LA 24-hour Improv Festival.


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The Ripple EffectBobby McCosky
  • Date/Time: Sunday Aug 19th from 10 AM to 12 PM
  • Location: Buffalo Room
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Max Students: 12

Heightening in improv can be a tricky thing. We usually think we can just raise the stakes of our scene by being overly emotional or tagging in as Abe Lincoln. Sometimes these tactics work, but often, they are predictable, or come across as false and undercut the authenticity of scenes.

Effective heightening is to think of the consequences of this scene to the world around it. How does your scene about painting your house gold affect your neighbors? Your Homeowners Association? Your city?

By thinking of this scene as a stone being thrown into the lakes of possible improv scenes, what are the ripple effects of this stone?  How do our other scenes ripple out and connect to this scene afterwards? In this class, you’ll be given the tools to think about these things without getting to caught up on the plot of this scene, and more on the consequences.

Bobby McCosky is an improviser, actor, filmmaker, and instructor from Kansas City, MO. He is the former director of the KC Improv Company's training center, as well as a member of That's No Movie and Babies, two of the longest-running indie teams in Kansas City.

Regular coaching from improvisors around the country has had a major influence on Bobby’s approach to improv. He prides himself on blending styles from various schools of thought to create workshops with no limits, combing fun exercises with balanced discussions on improv theory and technique.


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Grounding Your Characters and ScenesTrish Berrong
  • Date/Time: Saturday Aug 18th from 1 PM to 3 PM
  • Location: Kick Comedy Theater
  • Skill Level: All Levels
  • Max Students: 12

Grounded characters don't have to be boring, and grounded scenes don't have to be ordinary. Find your squishy side: Practice ways to add real emotions and vulnerability to the people you play. Learn how to start scenes strong and discover meaningful relationships and environments. Get tools and toys you can use in every troupe, whether you're playing fast-paced short-form or patient long-form—or anything in between.

Trish Berrong has been instrumental in establishing KC's improv community: along with introducing long-form improv to players and audiences in the '90s, she's trained hundreds of high school performers, taught improv to newbies, professionals and suits, and blogged relentlessly. She started performing with Kansas City ComedySportz (now ComedyCity) in 1990, and co-founded the Lighten Up Improv Company, which begat the Kansas City Improv Festival. Her strongest influences have been Del Close, Mick Napier, Susan Messing, Joe Bill, Mark Sutton, Dan Izzo, and Jill Bernard. She performs with the Underground Throwdown record-holding Ham Kitty (also Pitch's 2017 Best Improv Troupe), teaches and plays with festival-favorite Jill Bernard as Brownies Don't Lie, and is on the board of directors for Seriously Playful, KC's high school improv league. She keeps her two cats and puppy in expensive toys by working for Hallmark Cards as a content strategist.


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Improv Cheat CodesJamie Campbell
  • Date/Time: Saturday Aug 18th from 10 AM to 12 PM
  • Location: Kick Comedy Theater
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Max Students: 12

If you have problems with initiating, or have ever been stuck in a scene that feels like it's going nowhere, this workshop is for you.  This course focuses on quick fixes that you can add to a scene to make it interesting immediately, making the audience care about what's happening.  Improvisers will be given practical experience playing with all of these ingredients and will walk away with several recipes for creating a scene that engages their partner and the audience immediately.

Jamie Campbell is a nationally touring improviser, stand-up comedian, actor, and writer. He has been teaching comedy for over a decade throughout the United States.  He is an alumni of ComedySportz in Chicago and an original member of The Annoyance Theatre’s house ensemble. Jamie currently improvises with The KC Improv Company and ComedyCity in Kansas City and is half of the powerhouse duo Campbell & Marks.  His debut stand-up album, Tell Me You're Proud of Me, debuted at #1 on Amazon's comedy charts. In Chicago, where he began his career, he was named the city's "Best Stand-Up Comedian" by The Chicago Reader. When not writing he has made appearances on NBC's Chicago Fire and Pop TV's Hollywood Darlings and is one of the stars of the cult favorite webseries Lunch and Learn. He has shared the stage or worked on projects with countless legendary names in comedy and entertainment, including Hannibal Buress, Cameron Esposito, Oscar Isaac, Chris Redd, Scott Adsit, Ty Burrell, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Alicia Keys, and Dana Carvey, and is currently in the midst of a national tour of his critically-acclaimed solo show The Devil on the Wall or, That Time I Got Kidnapped.


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weekend 2

Flip and Claim Your StatusMatt Damon Improv
  • Date/Time: Saturday Aug 25th from 10 AM to 12 PM
  • Location: Kick Comedy Theater
  • Teachers: Women of Matt Damon Improv
  • Skill Level: All Levels
  • Max Students: 14

Great for improvisers of every level of study, this workshop uses exercises as well as coached scenes to help improvisers pinpoint their habitual status choices and flip them, empowering both themselves and their scene partners.

Based out of Chicago, the cast of Matt Damon Improv is comprised of all women of color “slaying improv comedy,” featuring a special guest white male (Matt Damon) or female (Lena Dunham) improv comedy veteran who can only speak when repeating things that the women of Matt Damon Improv have already said in the show – forcing the guest Matt Damon/Lena Dunham to really listen and take a baby step in a woman of color’s shoes. They were the winners of the People’s Choice Award for BEST IMPROV GROUP at the 2017 Chicago Women’s Funny Festival.  Chicago’s RedEye called their show, which has toured to venues and festivals across the United States a “MUST SEE!”


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Taking Your Power Back (Breaking Stereotypes)Matt Damon Improv
  • Date/Time: Saturday Aug 25th from 1 PM to 3 PM
  • Location: Kick Comedy Theater
  • Teachers: Women of Matt Damon Improv
  • Skill Level: All Levels
  • Max Students: 14

It can be tempting to use stereotypes to get a quick laugh, but truly great improv shouldn't rely on gimmicks. This workshop focuses on making inspired and intelligent choices in scenes rather than relying on tired standbys and mundane characters for punch-up scenes that shatter stereotypical expectations.

Based out of Chicago, the cast of Matt Damon Improv is comprised of all women of color “slaying improv comedy,” featuring a special guest white male (Matt Damon) or female (Lena Dunham) improv comedy veteran who can only speak when repeating things that the women of Matt Damon Improv have already said in the show – forcing the guest Matt Damon/Lena Dunham to really listen and take a baby step in a woman of color’s shoes. They were the winners of the People’s Choice Award for BEST IMPROV GROUP at the 2017 Chicago Women’s Funny Festival.  Chicago’s RedEye called their show, which has toured to venues and festivals across the United States a “MUST SEE!”


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Improvising ShakespeareShrew
  • Date/Time: Saturday Aug 25th from 10 AM to 12 PM
  • Location: Buffalo Room
  • Teachers: Jenny Flack, Gale Brennan
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Max Students: 16

Learn the basics to successfully improvise in Shakespearean style. Get past the fear and gain some foundational knowledge in language, tropes, characters and narrative in a fun, supportive and relaxed environment. Suggested for improvisors with some long-form improv experience. Taught by Jenny Flack and Gale Brennan.

Jenny Flack has been improvising, directing, and teaching improv for about 20 years. In addition to performing with Shrew, she directs, and performs with the improvised space adventure, Mission Star Mission. She’s a company member at Theater of NOTE in Los Angeles where she’s earned several Los Angeles theater awards and nominations. You may have occasionally seen her on television in shows like Community and Acceptable TV.

Gale Brennan studied theater at ACT in San Francisco and did a crap ton of theatre in the Bay Area before joining CSzSJ and the popular Bay Area sketch/improv troupe Mumblypeg. In Los Angeles she joined CSzLA and the sketch/improv show Older Girls Gone Reasonably Wild and performed real Shakespeare with Shakespeare Santa Barbara. She is currently in the Lab Company at Impro Studio in Hollywood doing long form narrative including Tennessee Williams, Chekhov, Twilight Zone, and Game of Thrones. She also teaches acting and improv in Disney’s Performing Arts program.


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Theatre Genre BootcampShrew
  • Date/Time: Saturday Aug 25th from 1 PM to 3 PM
  • Location: Buffalo Room
  • Teachers: Lauren Pritchard, Paige Tierney
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Max Students: 16

Be prepared for any theatre genre! You will learn shortcuts, characters, and tropes of all of the big theatre genres. Kabuki?! No problem! Confused between Brecht and Beckett? Not anymore! Check off Chekhov. Fast paced and fun, get ready to dive in. You will have knowledge a mile long and an inch deep. Suggested for improvisors with some long-form improv experience. Taught by Lauren Pritchard and Paige Tierney.'

Lauren Pritchard has appeared on MADtv, Disney's Stuck in the Middle, Gamers Guide, Jessie, True Blood, The Sarah Silverman Program, How I Met your Mother, Modern Family, Parenthood, The Crazy Ones, Vegas, Girlfriends, and The Engagement Claus Hallmark movie. She started improvising in 1991 with Wayne Brady. She performs at IOWest CSzLA & UCB. Lauren is pleased to return to KC after her award-winning two gal group Laurelly was a guest last year!

Paige Tierney is an actor and improviser from Los Angeles (though she grew up in a military family, and has lived everywhere from Germany to remote parts of Montana).  She received her BFA from Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and moved to LA after graduating. Paige has performed with Second City Theatricals, and on the Groundlings and iO West stages. Paige is also a main stage performer at ComedySportz LA. Credits include Late Bloomer on Netflix, American Horror Story, and various internet shorts.


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