Update: LMA is not closing! We are currently restructuring as a not-for-profit with new leadership. Thank you for your patience and support as we prepare for LMA 2.0. Subscribe for updates.
Laugh Masters Academy has always been about community.
I started LMA because I believe improv should be accessible and inclusive for all.
And because 12 years ago I couldn’t find a school in Sydney that felt as welcoming or capable of delivering the level of training I’d benefitted from in Los Angeles.
So with much optimism and naiveté, I set out to build a community where anyone and everyone was invited to play, learn, explore, and grow.
No part of it was easy.
LMA was built from the ground up. Workshop by workshop. Class by class. Show by show. No grants. No free space. No famous comics fronting our offer. Just a growing community dedicated to delivering improv for the people, by the people.
And together we achieved that. Thousands of students have taken our classes and workshops. Even more have been entertained at hundreds of sold-out shows. And, the thing I’m most proud of, we helped countless people connect with their authentic selves and with each other. Our five-star reviews and testimonials are proof of this.
We grew more than just our own community. The goodwill and welcoming spirit that’s been in our DNA since Day One helped grow the attendance at other schools as well. There’s been a rise in interest in improv across the board and overall community growth has stayed strong, even during a global pandemic.
I just wanted to keep learning from great people.
Starting Laugh Masters Academy was a purely selfish endeavour. At least at first.
It was never my life’s dream to start an improv school. Nor, frankly, to perform on stage.
I fell in love with the life skills, the joy of spontaneous play, and the power of something so (seemingly) simple to unite people. And change them into better versions of themselves.
But once LMA got started, it grew. Fast.
In 2012 we were the first uniquely long-form improv school in Sydney and we had to educate the market about what improv was and why it was good for them, especially people who had no interest in performing on stage or on camera.
Teachers from all over the world came to teach and play. And as we refined our offering, our reputation soared. Year on year growth averaged close to 100% most years.
Running an improv school takes a lot of investment. And I don’t just mean money, I mean energy, passion, focus, drive, leadership, systems, processes, tools, and a tremendous amount of organisation and coordination.
As our community grew, more and more people came on board to help. But the business load and the emotional load have always been my responsibility. And over the last few years, I found my interest and passions leading me in a different direction.
So after nearly 10 years, I’ve made a conscious and intentional choice to close it down.
Maybe just for now. Maybe forever.
It would be easy to blame Covid, but the reality is we never really got hit that hard compared to the rest of the world. And my inbox is blowing up every day with people wanting to know when they can register for the next class. And also people returning from overseas hoping they can teach. If you’re one of them, I’m sorry.
It’s been an amazing journey personally and professionally. And I will always be grateful to the teachers, performers, support staff, and students who make the LMA community so unique and special.
Together we changed lives.
Over the years I have received countless emails, phone calls, messages, and even a handwritten note or two from people expressing the profound impact that LMA has had on their lives. I’d like to share a few with you here.
LMA changed my life. I’ve become more open and kind. I feel safe speaking what lies in my heart, and know how to say it so that I am understood. I am forming more meaningful relationships, and now seeing vistas I never thought existed, or that I deserved.
LMA is an open, welcoming community of super talented people that’s closer and tighter than other places. People seem lovelier and more genuine and the quality of teaching is excellent.
LMA has opened up a new world to me that brings me immense joy every week. As well as improving communication skills and confidence, I have been introduced to an amazing group of people with whom I can enjoy being creative and silly. It has allowed me to let go of being in control or feel bad about making mistakes. I would recommend LMA to anyone and everyone!
LMA is doing something important. They are getting people of all walks of life to discover their inner child again, to have fun and express themselves without the barriers we have imposed on ourselves in everyday life. It’s the first place I can say that has established a truly ‘safe space’, allowing us to be vulnerable and connect with each other on a deep level. I cannot speak its praise highly enough.
It’s messages like these that kept me going for the last decade.
If improv is what keeps you going, then keep doing it. Keep learning, work with new teachers, try new things, and above all else, keep failing gloriously and succeeding hilariously.
The school’s closure could be permanent or it could be temporary.
There is an opportunity for new operators to come in and help our community continue to grow and thrive. Everything we built still exists. And in the right hands, LMA (and the Australian Improv Festival and Sketch-a-thon) could continue to positively impact the lives of people across Australia and around the world.
So if you think running an improv and sketch comedy school might be your jam, get in touch.
If you’d like to be first to know about any new developments or one-off workshops, subscribe below.
And in the meantime, keep smiling, keep laughing, and keep having each other’s backs.
But most of all, thank you for being a part of it all.