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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Local Improvisers support Theatre Action Project

It’s pretty cool when folks decide to be generous just because they want to, not because they have to. Our friends at the Hideout are hosting an incredible 40-hour marathon of improv this weekend and they are donating 10% of the proceeds to TAP. We are so honored that they chose us and really impressed by the efforts.

Please go see some of these hilarious and highly entertaining shows. Many previous and current TAP teachers are in the local and thriving Improv community. TAP and Improvisers in Austn are like total BFF’s.

Here is the astounding line-up!

* Friday 5pm Maestro (games and scenes with happy hour beer prices!)
* Friday 6pm Maestro, part 2 (the exciting conclusion)
* Friday 7pm Flowey Donut (our eight players find their groove)
* Friday 8pm Start Trekkin’ (improv Star Trek)
* Friday 9pm Theatresports (four on four competitive improv)
* Friday 10pm This Week Tonight (improv inspired by the news)
* Friday 11pm Cochise (70s cop drama with Improv For Evil)
* Friday midnight Parlor Games (twisted games with Your Terrific Neighbors)
* Saturday 1am Game Theory (games squished into scenes with Available Cupholders)
* Saturday 2am The Bizarre Bazaar (a shmorgasbord of characters with The New Movement)
* Saturday 3am Camp Northshore (an all-star Armando with Northshore Local)
* Saturday 4am guest troupe Snackers
* Saturday 5am guest troupe Midnight Society
* Saturday 6am guest troupe The Starter Kit
* Saturday 7am Melinda’s First Sleepover (an improvised slumber party with Look Cookie)
* Saturday 8am guest troupe No Chaser
* Saturday 9am Pancake Social (a mimosa party and improv cooking show)
* Saturday 10am Ka-Baam!! (improvised comic book adventures)
* Saturday 11am What the Dickens!? (improvised stories in the world of Charles Dickens)
* Saturday noon Student Showcase (Hideout students mix it up with the pros)
* Saturday 1pm guest troupe ComedySportz
* Saturday 2pm Flying Theatre Machine (improv for kids)
* Saturday 3pm Student Showcase (more Hideout students mix it up with the pros)
* Saturday 4pm Play by Play: Cubs vs. White Sox (improv commentary over a baseball game)
* Saturday 5pm The Life Game (improv inspired by a live celebrity interview
* Saturday 6pm The Hippodrome (improv beyond the horizon)
* Saturday 7pm After School Improv (improv After School Specials)
* Saturday 8pm Improvised Shakespeare (an improvised play by the Bard)
* Saturday 9pm Holy Sleep Deprivation, Batman! (improv episode of the 60s Batman tv show)
* Saturday 10pm Musical Maestro (musical games and scenes where the audience votes)
* Saturday 11pm Musical Maestro, part 2 (the exciting conclusion)
* Saturday midnight Dubbed Indemnity (improv dialogue and sound effects over film clips)
* Sunday 1am The Bat (A Harold in the dark with ColdTowne)
* Sunday 2am guest troupe The Institution
* Sunday 3am Musical Armando (scenes and music with A Bunch of Liars and Love Notes)
* Sunday 4am guest troupe Parallelogramophonograph
* Sunday 5am Mystery Meat (a surprise format from the Hideout’s Artistic Director)
* Sunday 6am Soap Opera (improv daytime television with guest troupe Junk)
* Sunday 7am guest troupe McNichol and May
* Sunday 8am The Final Countdown (our eight improvisers on the edge of psychosis)

40 HOURS. 40 SHOWS. Come for a little or come for a lot and keep improv thriving in downtown Austin.

Summer Camps!

“Thank you for allowing my child to feel free to express herself – great supportive group. Extremely impressed!” -Mother of 5th grade camper

Our summer camps are pretty incredible. How else could we have grown from having just 1 week of 20 campers 2 years ago to now having 8 weeks of different camps with hundreds of campers? It’s because these are some great camps taught by the BEST teaching artists in town.

Parents and kids love our super creative classes, welcoming and supportive environment and incredible family sharing each Friday.

There are still slots left!! Call today!!


June 22 – 26, 2009: Around the World!

Learn about music, theatre and art from across the globe and create a “World’s Fair!”

June 29 – July 3, 2009: Mask-erade Parade

Create a variety of masks and costumes to be a part of a fun animal themed parade!

July 6 – 10, 2009: Dance and Drums

Learn unique drum and dance routines and create a fun block party performance!

July 13 – 17, 2009: Power to the Puppets

Become the Puppet Master and learn a variety of puppetry styles!

July 20 – 24, 2009: Myths and Legends

Put on a play based upon fascinating mysteries and tales!

July 27 – 31, 2009: Playmakers

Write, design and star in an original musical!

August 3 – 7, 2009: Lights, Camera, Action!

Write and star in your own movie to be shown in a special location on Friday!

August 10 – 14, 2009: Songs for the Stage

Learn how to sing and perform great musical theatre!

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June’s Volunteer of the Month!

Megan Fullen has been an outstanding volunteer both in the after-school program and at our special events. This past semester Megan was a weekly volunteer at Langford Elementary assisting Miss Meg. Miss Meg had these great things to say about Megan: “She really cares about the kids and gets excited about their development. She has gotten really involved in a playmaking class, and even did some extra dramaturgical work for the piece! She uses her creative energy to engage the students–they wouldn’t have the props and costumes they do for their play if it wasn’t for Miss Megan (for simplicity’s sake, some students have taken to calling her Miss Awesome. I have remained Miss Meg!).” Great job Miss Awesome Megan!

Also, check out this blog about the Art City Austin parade TAP did on recycling and some of the projects with the students at Langford Elementary Megan wrote for ReGeneration, a global movement–a group of people committed to sustaining the world’s natural environment.

Bullying in our schools is a real problem that we can solve!

Many of you have sent me links to a recent article in the New York Times about bullying, At Last, Facing down Bullies (and their Enablers).

This is a great article that shines light on the power of changing the culture of a school by activating the bystanders who witness bullying. As some of you know, that is exactly what our program The Courage to Stand has been doing in 4th and 5th grade classrooms for the past 9 years to great success.

In our program young people learn how to be “Courageous Bystanders” who stand up to bullies who are harming peers. We use interactive theatre to show young people examples of times in history when people were targeted because of being different, including the Civil Rights Era and The Holocaust. We then apply what we learn from examining those real-life situations to current bullying incidents. By helping the students to see how hate effects people, we help them to build empathy and a desire to be an ally to their peers and to make bullying unacceptable.

We get hundreds of notes from young people each year telling us about the power of the messages we teach. Teachers and Principals tell us that after experiencing our program, their students change. Bullying incidents go down and students begin to see the power of being inclusive and caring towards all of their classmates.

Excerpts from the article:

“Dr. Robert Sege, chief of ambulatory pediatrics at Boston Medical Center and a lead author of the new policy statement, says the Olweus approach focuses attention on the largest group of children, the bystanders. “Olweus’s genius,” he said, “is that he manages to turn the school situation around so the other kids realize that the bully is someone who has a problem managing his or her behavior, and the victim is someone they can protect.”

The other lead author, Dr. Joseph Wright, senior vice president at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington and the chairman of the pediatrics academy’s committee on violence prevention, notes that a quarter of all children report that they have been involved in bullying, either as bullies or as victims. Protecting children from intentional injury is a central task of pediatricians, he said, and “bullying prevention is a subset of that activity.”

By definition, bullying involves repetition; a child is repeatedly the target of taunts or physical attacks — or, in the case of so-called indirect bullying (more common among girls), rumors and social exclusion. For a successful anti-bullying program, the school needs to survey the children and find out the details — where it happens, when it happens.

Structural changes can address those vulnerable places — the out-of-sight corner of the playground, the entrance hallway at dismissal time.

Then, Dr. Sege said, “activating the bystanders” means changing the culture of the school; through class discussions, parent meetings and consistent responses to every incident, the school must put out the message that bullying will not be tolerated.”

We can stop bullying in our schools. Bullying is not “just part of growing up.” It is a cultural problem that is deeply effecting the emotional well-being of everyone involved–the bullies, the bullied and the bystanders. This is a problem that occurs in every corner of Austin no matter what the socio-economic make up is.

Through educating young people that bullying is not acceptable and that it truly effects people and hurts them is imperative. We need to build empathy within young people so they understand that their hateful words and actions lead to real pain that can be long-lasting and destructive. While we might not want to admit it, incidents of school violence and suicide amongst young people are often the direct result of bullying amongst young people. We need to let young people know that they can be a part of the solution and that they have the power to make the problem better!

If you want to take a stand against bullying in our schools, please make a donation or help the spread the word about our program so we can bring our highly successful and powerful multi-day show to even more 4th and 5th graders all over Austin. If you want to see this program take place in your child’s school, call us.

Thank you!

Congrats to Dustin!

TAP wants to send out a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Program Specialist, Dustin Wills, for winning the 2009 Austin Critics Table Award for Direction. Dustin won the award for directing his play Ophelia. Dustin is also the Artistic Director for Tutto Theatre Company here in Austin. (He also has a play coming up, Black Snow, which will begin the end of June… for more info, go to: Tutto Theatre).

Also, Dustin is directing this year’s Summer Pageant in the Park. TAP’s 2nd Annual Summer Pageant in the Park celebrates farmers’ rights and the power of nonviolent protest with this year’s show: The Legacy of Cesar Chavez, an original musical with puppets! This will be June 20th in Republic Square Park at noon. Come join us! It’s free!

Dustin working with elementary student for First Night parade

Guest Blog: TAP Board Chair Gregory Perrin

Philanthropy is still alive! Giving will always feel better than receiving. Continue to support your universities, nonprofits, churches, libraries, and local charities. Every dollar given makes a difference in someone’s life. Who’s life will you change today?

Read this article from the NY Times: