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It’s been a wild ride these past 6 months – starting off with quite a number of changes: a new Level 5 Improv class, an All Hands meeting, a new ensemble, oh, and an inaugural festival! Phew! That was a lot to take in.

Stepping into this new role at the start of this year, my main vision was really to create opportunities for students – be it in performance or ways to get involved with the school and show production.

Eran often says we’re about “community over comedy” and I want that to be the driving force of the activities we do for students and so we organised an All Hands meeting to hear from you.

Below are some of the things you shared, along with our response to how we are going to incorporate your feedback in the coming months.

Student Development

As a school/training center, it’s important for us to keep the students at the center of what we do. If you’re not happy, we’re not happy 

The response during the All Hands meeting was that students wanted to hear more about how they’re doing in class, having personalised feedback from teachers and just generally being more aware of how they can do better.

For Term 4, we will be re-introducing the “report card” to be sent to students at the  end of every end. This will contain notes on how you can be a better improviser and the best way for you to progress through the course offerings at LMA. 

Special Workshops
There’s so much to learn and so little time! There are some areas of focus that students would like to delve more into and sometimes there’s just not enough time in the regular classes to do it. Some of these topics are: Character, Physicality, Show Readiness and Production, etc. 

This is something that we’ve been doing as a school and we think we’ll do more of in the coming months. One major activity we did for this was the Australian Improv Festival last month that brought in a lot of learning opportunities from special guest teachers for the larger improv community. 

Curriculum Improvements and Updates
Some students and teachers mentioned different things they would like to see more of in the regular term classes. In the coming months, LMA will be doing a comprehensive course review to integrate some of the things you want more of. 

Comedy Tips
Yes, we know. You only hear from us when we have a sale on! We hear ya! Right now we are revamping all our communication channels and trying to “diversify” our content so that emails also talk about things we’re interested in, like comedy. We have some podcasts and videos in the pipeline that will involve more members of our community, to address exactly this so stay tuned! Currently, Eran also has his One Word Suggestion podcast that you might want to listen to. If you’re interested to get on board, to curate and compile content for the community, let us know! 

Indie Nights for Indie Teams
There’s nothing like performing on stage to help hone your funny bone. Think of improv skills as a muscle you need to keep working out and performing is a great way to do that. With our new Indie team nights, we are opening up the stage to new teams that might want to just step on stage and try something out with a group they put together. Note that this is open to everyone so if you want to have people from other schools join your group, that’s totally cool. All you have to do is sign up here.

Laugh Masters Academy Improv Shows every Thursday

Socialise More

This was the resounding response during the meeting. People wanted more opportunities to socialise and get to know people from different levels. And this is definitely something we can incorporate most immediately. This is also something that we cannot do alone. 

Social Media
Moderation for the Facebook group has been off since May (as a result of a suggestion at the All Hands Meetings) and one simple thing that students can already do is post on the student Facebook group. Social media was built so that we can get social IRL. Students, for example, can post “Hey, I’m going to get drinks at the Chippo before the show on Thursday, anyone want to join me?” Posting open invitations is highly encouraged, be it for drinks, a jam, a small get together, an invitation to your gig, a cool event happening in the city that you might want to check out, your wedding, your family reunion – anything!

Jams, Mixers and More for some inter-level mingling (your words not mine)
This is definitely in the pipeline – we’ve tried out doing a mixer during the last 2 grad shows while we had people from different levels in one room. I didn’t hear any violent responses so I guess it worked out? Seriously though, we’re going to do more of the forced social interaction and I promise it won’t be awkward. We want to host more jams and get togethers but again – you don’t have to wait for us to organise it, you can organise them yourselves and we’d be happy to help you spread the word and get people to go.

Finding Space
There are a lot of options for cheap rehearsal space that you can use for your team or jams that you might want to organise. Check out this good list of suggestions. If that list is not good enough for you, try this.

Celebrate Diversity and Community 

I cannot stress enough how important this is to me and the school. Being a person from a diverse background myself, creating a place where there is room for people from all walks of life  to freely express and thrive is of utmost priority. My measure of success is not so much the number of enrollments per term but seeing and being in a community where people feel empowered to participate and contribute because they know they are welcome regardless of how new or different their ideas might be. Diversity was pointed out as a key strength of the school and we intend to fully nurture this in our community.

And as if the past 6 months was not enough, all these things are enough to fill my agenda for the rest of the year! As we approach a new term, we are slowly integrating all of these suggestions into what you’ll be experiencing in and out of the classroom. As we move along, we ask you to join in with the momentum and know that we’ll always always love to hear from you should you have any ideas or feedback.

Happy Christmas in July! 

Author: Happy

Half Year Hustle The Home of Improv and Sketch Comedy in Australia

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