All Our Events Are on Zoom – Except the Sunday Jam
Please pay what you are able.
Monthly improv shows, weekly improv jams and ongoing improv classes.
Oaktown Improv is about truly expressing ourselves. It’s an outlet for expressing our inner promptings. It’s a place to learn to express ourselves more authentically, more consistently, and more powerfully.
We seek the joy in co-creation. When fellow players listen to each other, adjust to each other, build onto what the other is giving them, magic happens.
We endeavor to embody real people in real situations. Though we seek to arrive at it in a real way, our goal is comedy, remembering our own sense of humor and playfulness.
Yet we teach that you don’t have to be funny. “Humor is an ideal byproduct of a good show”, says TJ Jagodowski in his book with David Pasquesi Improvisation at the Speed of Life. Humor is a often a natural side-effect of human beings making surprising choices on stage. It’s more important to focus on the reality and the relationship of these human beings than it is to be comedic.
Improv has benefits that go beyond the stage and into normal life. Besides being more able to express yourself, you may also grow to be more at ease in groups of people and be less overwhelmed by fears of public speaking. Some even report the principles of improv help them be more successful in business. Because of this, Oaktown Improv is committed to teaching others the way of improv, so they can discover their own joy and find the value of improv for themselves.
Every 2nd Saturday
Jam at 6:30pm • Show at 8pm
Next date: April 8, 2023
Ben began improvising in 1993. He has performed with various groups in the Bay Area, including The Clean Comedy Company, Pan Theater, BATS Sunday Players, 'Trapped in a Rumor', and his own 'Zen Improv'. Ben began teaching improv with Under the Sun Studios in 2008 and with Magic Jester Theater in 2010. His teaching style encourages players to bring authenticity into their characters, so that everyone can learn and be affected by human truth and emotional honesty. This is built, however, on remembering that joy that is the base of improvisation. It is play, after all!
Timothy has performed as a troupe player in his hometown of Spokane, at the collegiate level with Southern Oregon University's ‘Next Best Thing’, and is a member of Oaktown Improv's ‘Offsides’. Tim has infused comedy into many other forms of performance including sketch teams, radio programs, and his live musical acts. His improv heroes include Ben Schwarts, Paul F. Tompkins and Andy Daly. At the Sunday open jams, Tim serves as a guide to help players create scenes with real emotions and real stakes.
Heather bounded onto the improv stage in 2016 with Oaktown Improv and, being a quick study, soon became a member of the in-house troupe ‘Fun Size’. With her bubbly enthusiasm and AI-like memory, Heather was a natural to start leading jams and classes in 2017. Heather's current claim-to-fame is that during a show, watching one of her favorite groups, ‘3 For All’, she was invited onto the stage where she summarily rocked it with song. Heather's improv philosophy is, “Bring it, pay attention, and kill it!”
Andy originally hails from the East Midlands in the U.K. He discovered Oaktown Improv in 2015, and gradually removed his cloak of invisibility to become a member of the in-house troupe ‘Fun Size’. Along with being a nice break from the intricacies of particle physics, Andy finds improv to be a fun way to get out of his own head. "After all," he says, "you can't spend all day in the pub!" When coaching improv, Andy finds it best to refrain from judgment, allowing players to find their own style, as he did.
Stephanie began studying with Oaktown Improv in 2017. Coinciding with her time at Oaktown, she has done storytelling as part of StorySlam Oakland and Spontaneous Storytelling Oakland.
In pre-Oaktown days, Stephanie had acted in numerous regional theater productions in the East Bay and Off-Geary in San Francisco. She studied with the acting teacher and coach Jean Shelton for five years in the 1990’s.
As an actor, Stephanie strives to be present to listen and react to the circumstances at any given moment and to allow herself to draw from past experiences. As a teacher, she strives to create a friendly, inviting, non-critical atmosphere and to encourage spontaneity, creativity and joy.
Tezz Yancey is a professional Los Angeles based Improviser (Second City, UCB, IO, Comedy Central) actor, singer, dancer, musician, writer, producer and director with over 20 years of performing and teaching experience. He made his Broadway debut at age 14, headlined his own shows in Las Vegas, produced multiple recording and film score projects and is a working film and television actor in Hollywood (Showtime, Disney, NBC, Vet-TV). He trained at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee in musical theater and production and has been blessed to travel the world teaching master classes and workshops. Tezz firmly believes in equality and fairness for all, and brings excellent communication skills to his coaching.