Improvisation / comedy / drama workshops and courses in London.

Workshops

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions which we are often asked by people considering booking a place on one of our workshops, or by people who have already booked a place. Please check to see that your question is not answered here before emailing or calling us.

Don't forget you can manage your bookings by going to My Account.

Who is entitled to a concession?
We offer concession pricing to students with an NUS card, the unemployed, people with disabilities (but please check accessibility of venue before booking) and Equity card holders.
Where is the workshop? When does it start? When does it finish?
Up-to-date information can be found be going to the Course Dates page under Workshops and clicking on the More Info link for the course in question. As well as an acknowledgment when you first book, you should also receive detailed joining instructions about a week before the course starts. If you haven't seen these emails, do check your spam bin and make sure you add our domain - www.the-spontaneity-shop.com - to your white list.
Who will be teaching us?
The Spontaneity Shop works with a small team of teachers, all of whom are very experienced both as improvisers and as workshop leaders. Typically teaching duties are shared across two-or-three teachers over an eight week term. We sometimes also have visiting guest teachers from overseas. You can meet our teachers here.
Do I have to start with Level 1? I've done improvisation before at [BLANK]
We suggest that everyone begins their work with The Spontaneity Shop by taking our eight-week, Level One class, or the equivalent 1A and 1B weekends - even if you have some prior improvisation experience. Although certain basic concepts are common to all improvisation teaching, the world over, we place a particular emphasis on narrative and complicity and the best way to discover our advanced techniques is to start by understanding our foundation. If you feel very strongly that Level 1 would not be right for you, then drop us a line with some more detailed information about your improvisation experience so far.
Do I have to be funny?
Although comedy is a frequent by-product of improvisation, these are not how-to-be-funny classes. Our emphasis is on teamwork, narrative and playfulness. If the results of that approach make the audience laugh - great. But it's more important that the work is interesting.
Is it scary?
Most people would find the prospect of standing up in front of a room full of people expecting them to be interesting and funny a little daunting. As teachers, we see it as our responsibility to take away the fear and make the workshops a safe place where everyone is free to experiment.
Is there any way I could observe a class before signing up for the whole term?
No, this isn't practical. It's harder for us create a safe atmosphere in the presence of mysterious "observers" who don't participate and since our workshops are generally over-subscribed, we can't give one person a "trial" place without denying someone else a full place.
Which is best - the two weekends or the eight week Level One?
The only feedback we've ever had on this is that if people have a preference, it tends to be for the one they did. Probably different approaches will work for different people. The advantage of the weekend is the intense immersion. The advantage of the weekly sessions is that you get to live with these new concepts for longer so they have more time to "bed-in".
What do we actually do in the workshops?
Exercises which illuminate part of the problem of improvising in front of an audience, either in pairs or in front of the rest of the group. These may be the kind of thing which would form part of a show, or they may be designed simply to demonstrate a principle or strengthen a muscle - like a musician practising scales or an athlete lifting weights. Of course, to really know what attending a workshop would be like, you have to attend one!
What if I have to miss a class?
Many people miss one or two classes out of eight, and they usually manage to catch up. If you are doing Level One and you miss more than two classes, then if you want to take Level Two, we might suggest that you take Level One again first, or you come back and pick up the classes you missed.
How many people will be there?
The total class size is around 18 people, but often there are only 15-16 people there.
Who else will be there?
The workshops attract a wide range of people. A few will have some prior performing or even improvisation experience. Many will be doing improvisation just as a hobby or as a creative outlet. Some are looking to develop related skills such as writing or networking.
Will it help me become a better presenter / networker / salesperson at work?
Quite possibly. But we don't really talk about those applications during the workshops and we run other courses which target those skills more explicitly
How does this installment plan work?
Rather than paying for the full cost of the workshop in advance, you can opt to pay in three installments instead (and pay a little extra in total). The first installment secures your place and we will email you requesting the second installment once the course is underway, and again requesting the third installment before the course finishes. Please note our workshops generally sell out and that by booking a workshop (and potentially denying someone else a place), you are committing to paying all three installments.
What if I have to cancel?
Except where we cancel a workshop, we don't provide refunds, but we are happy to rearrange a booking whereever possible. For more information, see our terms and conditions.
I'm on the waiting list. What does that mean?
Once all the places on a workshop have been booked, we automatically open a waiting list. Adding your name to that list means that if - as sometimes happens - people cancel or postpone, then we will work our way down the waiting list, offering the spare place on a first-come-first-served basis. It would be unusual for us to get past the fifth or sixth place on the waiting list. When the workshop starts, if you are on the waiting list and you haven't heard from us, you should assume that you didn't make it (but do check your spam bin to be sure). Putting your name on the waiting list has no other consequences - you don't get automatically signed up for any future workshop for example. You are welcome to put your name on more than one waiting list, and if you are booked on a later workshop and are on the waiting list for an earlier workshop, we'll just transfer your booking if your waiting list place comes up - you won't have to pay twice.
I owe money for a workshop. How can I pay?
Go to the Workshops page of the website and click My Account, then log in with your email address and password. We can also accept cheques payable to "Spontaneity Shop Enterprises Ltd". We are not permitted to take credit card details over the phone.
Are the workshops suitable for children?
No, the workshops are not suitable for children and we do not currently offer any child-friendly workshops.
What do you know about such-and-such an improv company? What do you know about improv in such-and-such a part of the world? As your workshops are full up, which other improv companies in London do you recommend?
We don't have enough first-hand experience of anyone else's improv workshops to make these kinds of recommendations with any confidence, sorry.

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