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Opening a School of Improvisation – Decisions, research and more

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How do you open an improvisation school?

When it comes to an improvisation school, the process of starting one can be with a for-profit theatre company which may be different in each state. However, there are some basic steps which in principle can be followed to set it up successfully. The process can be rewarding, especially if your community does not have access to the arts in public schools or a nearby university.

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Keywords: Improvisation school

There are a number of steps that must be taken to open an improvisation school, among them are

Decide on a curriculum outline for the school and write a mission statement

Before you can open your doors to potential students, you must decide exactly what your school will teach and what students will get from attending your school. Traditional college theater programs teach acting, movement for each stage, voice and diction, theater history, and technical arts.

From that basic framework, you will need to write a course progression that details the skills a student will learn in each segment. It is based on those skills that the student acquires by working on the study of the stage with an even performance and exploring found techniques.

Accreditation Research and Teacher Recruitment

In most states, if you are going to teach students under the age of majority, you will need special accreditation or certification by the state government. In many states, teachers also need to be fingerprinted and tested for communicable diseases and drugs before being allowed to work. At the very least, you should make sure that potential teachers have adequate training and experience to teach classes on your curriculum. For example, you don’t want someone who has never heard of improvisation techniques to teach a course of this content.

Appoint and incorporate your business  

You may wish to obtain legal advice when doing your business, as the rules for incorporating a small business vary from state to state. You can also visit a legal website (such as Zoom Legal or others), which will guide you through the steps of incorporating your business. The most important thing to establish is whether the business is non-profit or for-profit. Open a bank account in your company’s name.

Appoint an Advisory Council

Before opening the doors of your school, you need to choose a select panel of theater experts and community members to help guide the school’s objectives. The Board can be very important for the overall governance of the company, and is essential for applying for funding and grants.

How do you open an improvisation school

Writing a budget

This budget should include teachers’ salaries, rent for their school space, renovation costs and operating costs. Detail the amount of income you expect to raise from students and how much comes from other sources such as investors, donations or gifts.

Finding and renting space for your school

Large storage centres and old showcase spaces work wonderfully for improvisation schools and theatre houses. With a bit of manpower and DIY effort, you can transform one of these unused spaces into a pleasant one. Remember to install the following important things in your school space: dance floors, mirrors and perhaps a small podium.

Advertising your school and recruiting students  

You can’t have a school without students.  Once you have completed the above steps, you should be on firm enough ground to start taking students and creating schedules.

Problems that can occur when starting your drama school

Take into account your personal qualifications before starting an improvisation school. The business of educational improvisation is extremely competitive, as much as acting, and there are not many openings in the market.

Recommendations for the success of your company

If you are an established professional actor or accredited teacher with years of experience in education and performance, you may be willing to start your own school. If you are just starting out and really looking for a place, it would be better to participate yourself with established improvisation schools and theatre companies. Experience can be gained by teaching, directing and performing, all of which need a successful improvisation or theatre school.