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Will There Still Be Improv After Coronavirus?

Teaching improv online. Improv teacher Billy Merritt is in the top center square. (Courtesy Billy Merritt)
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The famed Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York recently announced that their permanent location will close for good — but the organization will continue some classes and shows elsewhere. That kind of bad news/good news scenario could soon hit Los Angeles's improv comedy scene too.

Improv teachers expressed concerns about the financial stnading of theaters like UCB long before the New York theater closed. Now they're wondering when audiences will be able or want to go see shows in-person again.

We talked with improv teachers about how their craft is changing now, and what it will look like when safer-at-home orders get lifted.

Online classes aren't standard in improv, given the difficulty of re-creating the experience of people moving around a stage, touching each other, and passing imaginary objects back-and -orth. But teachers are finding ways to make it work remotely.

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We also asked teachers for exercises to practice improv by yourself while socially distancing — hopefully they can brighten your somewhat-more-lonely days.


Keeping Improv Comedy Alive During Coronavirus