“Laughter is the glue to loving life.” -- unknown author

Esalen Improv Workshop

Improv: Expanding Yourself with Laughter
March 3rd – 8th, 2019
Taught by Dixie Cox and Clifford Henderson



Yes! We’re heading back to Big Sur next Spring to teach another 5-day workshop at Esalen Institute. Join us for the ultimate experiential “Personal Retreat. This will be our 11th year to teach at Esalen.

Work your wit; activate your imagination, creativity, and spontaneity.

Improv is all the rage these days. Actress Emma Stone says: “You know how sports teach kids teamwork and how to be strong and brave and confident? Improv was my sport. I learned how to not waffle and how to hold a conversation, how to take risks and actually be excited to fail.”

In this positive workshop, participants are guided through simple improv exercises aimed at personal expansion. Using the tenants of improv, such as trust and spontaneity, participants are encouraged to say “Yes” to situations offered to them by the group. We will also explore one of improv’s most compelling tools: status, the human pecking order. Participants familiarize themselves with the subtle clues they send and receive defining their status, and have a chance to try new body language and status choices.

 It’s trying news ways of being without real-life consequences. It’s hilarious. It’s deep. It’s getting to the truth via the funny bone.

 Rejuvenate your spirit through experiential play and laughter.

 What past participants have said:

“It’s helped me become more of me.”

“It’s more fun than a ride on a fire truck!”

Check out Esalen Institute and all the possibilities.

Pamper yourself at this beautiful location on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, with hot mineral bathes, gourmet food, and our 5-day Improv workshop. It all happens March 3rd – 8th, 2019. It doesn’t get any better than this! Rejuvenate yourself with fun and laughter at this world class Retreat Center.

Prices start at $675 and go up according to your sleeping accommodations. One price covers everything.

Regina Saisi


Improv Workshop taught by Tim Orr
Sunday, Feb. 24th, 10am – 4pm
Cost: $90

We’ve asked Tim Orr to come down to teach again! Tim is an International Improv Performer and Teacher. Known in the Bay Area for his work at BATS, Improv Playhouse of San Francisco, and the Improv troupe of “3 for All“. He’s a great teacher too.
Here’s what he wants to teach. He describes it this way…
Scene Starts/ Entry Points
One of the most fascinating and rewarding things about scene work is the process of beginning scenes – what do we do and how do we do it? Are we in the beginning/middle/end? What is our staging, emotion, context, activity, etc,?
Let’s keep pushing ourselves and our partners to be open to any and all kinds of scene starts!

That’s TIM ORR, Sunday, Feb. 24th, 10 AM- 4 PM, $90
Limited enrollment. Now registering.
Email topdog@funinstitute.com to register today!


2017 Master Series Workshops

Tim Orr - February 25th-26th, 2017


Tim showed us the importance and magic of creating and honoring the settings we create on stage as improvisers.

Rafe Chase - April 22nd - April 23rd, 2017
Rafe Chase

Rafe Chase

April 22nd – 23rd, 2017


Through exercises and scenes set up by Rafe, the students will explore the vast emotional possibilities that are available to improvisers when they are truly “pretending” to be someone else.

The workshop will be on Saturday 4/22/17 from 1-5 PM, and Sunday 4/23/17 from 10-4 PM at the Broadway Playhouse, Santa Cruz, California.

Cost: $175
A $50 non-refundable deposit holds your spot. Participants must be “Paid in Full” prior to the workshop.
Limited Enrollment.
Email: topdog@funinstitute.com

Regina Saisi - June 10th - 11th, 2017


“Objectively Speaking”

This workshop, Objectively Speaking, will focus on the power of using an objective in scene work. Knowing what your character wants and finding strategies to obtain it, will flesh out your character and the scene.
Regina is an excellent improvisor, Dean of BATS in San Francisco, and one of our favorite teachers to import for her imparting wisdom. Sign up soon!

The workshop will be on Saturday from 1-5 PM, and Sunday from 10-4 PM at the Broadway Playhouse, Santa Cruz, California.
Limited enrollment.
Cost: $175
Registration OPEN
Email topdog@funinstitute.com

Stephen Kearin - September 9th - 10th, 2017


Building Character

Stepping outside yourself and into a character is one of the true joys of improvising. And lucky us, we have Stephen Kearin, a master at character work, to share some of his tricks of the trade. More specifics as we get closer.

Stephen began his career in 1987 with Bay Area Theatresports in San Francisco, where he was a company member for 14 years. He was a founding member of Improv Theater and True Fiction Magazine. Stephen is currently a member of the critically-acclaimed improv ensembles Impro Theatre in Los Angeles, (where he was nominated for an Ovation Award for The Western UnScripted) and 3 FOR ALL (celebrating their 20th season) Other stage productions include the stilt-walking Iago in San Francisco Opera’s Otello, Sally-Sue Weber in A Weber Family Christmas and he originated the role of Movie Mega-Superstar, Blaine Bustier in An Evening With Dirk & Blaine. Stephen is the co-creator of “Simlish” and was the principal male voice of The Sims, Sims 2 and Sims Medieval. He created the Martian languages for Disney’s Mars Needs Moms and Supergirl. He is featured in the DreamWorks Animation films Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda 2&3, Madagascar 2&3, Monsters Vs. Aliens, Megamind, The Penguins of Madagascar and Home. Stephen appears as the terrifying ‘Principal Mitchell’ on the Disney XD series Kirby Buckets. He stars in The Bunglers, winner of Best Comedic Short at The 2012 Manhattan Film Festival. He has performed his solo show INSIDE OUT to sold-out houses in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Stephen has been a visiting instructor at Stanford University, Dreamworks Animation and Cirque Du Soleil.

The workshop will be on Saturday from 1-5 PM, and Sunday from 10-4 PM at the Broadway Playhouse in Santa Cruz, California.
Limited enrollment.
Cost: $175
Registration begins 6/12/17
Email: topdog@funinstitute.com


Lisa Rowland - November 11th - 12th, 2017


Workshop details coming soon.

Lisa Rowland

Lisa’s first love is performing. Her background in scripted theater gives her a strong grounding in truthful performance and the allure of discovery and delight that improvisation offers has kept her scriptless since she began improvising professionally in 2006.  Straight out of Stanford University, where she performed with the Stanford Improvisors, she joined the mainstage company at BATS Improv, Northern California’s most acclaimed and longest running improvisational theatre company. She is a founding member of Improv Playhouse of San Francisco and Awkward Dinner Party. In 2012, Lisa was voted Best Actor by the SF Bay Guardian’s Reader Poll.  She has traveled the world to perform on international stages with international casts and finds particular delight in the global improv community.

Lisa is a lecturer at Stanford University in the Theatre Department, teaching the very class that put her on the path of improvisation. Compelled to pass on the joys of improvisation, Lisa began teaching as part of her experience with the Stanford Improvisors, and continued as a member of the faculty of the BATS School of Improv. She has traveled around the country and world, teaching in America, Saudi Arabia (the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. Seriously), New Zealand, Mexico and as a two-time guest instructor at the International Impro Festival in Würzburg, Germany. Lisa teaches privately in the Bay Area and was a high school improv coach.

The workshop will be on Saturday from 1-5 PM, and Sunday from 10-4 PM at the Broadway Playhouse, Santa Cruz, California.
Limited enrollment.
Cost: $175
Registration begins 9/11/17
Email topdog@funinstitute.com