SAY YES! Improv Group Returns to Allen


Left: Tricia Stogsdill, new Allen theater director. Right: Improv students Anna Goforth and Austin Morris show their skills at the Student one Acts

Jailynn Goforth, Student Reporter / Co-Editor

The Allen Theater Department has gained new leadership and is busy advancing the Theatre program. Allen alumni and head of the Theatre department, Tricia Stogsdill, has brought back the Improv group from when she attended Allen back in 2004; the group currently has 10 members.

Improv is short for improvised acting. In improv, everything that is performed is made up on the spot without script or rehearsal. Improv can be serious or funny but relies heavily on quick-witted performers and audience interaction.

Stogsdill has a strong passion for improv and was a member of the group at Allen when she attended from 2004 through 2006. After graduating from Allen with an Associates in Arts, Stogsdill went on to be cast in her university improv group and was able to travel and show off her skills.

“I was able to get cast in my university improv group work[ing] semi-professionally doing improv gigs [and] workshops around the state and take a master class with the prestigious Second City,” Said Stogsdill.

The new director brought back the improv group because she believes ‘it can lead to so many opportunities.’ Stogsdill said that improv allows students who would not typically be interested in theater to feel like theater is ‘vibrant, accessible, and downright funny.’

Improv classes at Allen usually start with a “check-in” where students discuss where they are mentally and how they feel they can perform, which Stogsdill says allows her students to feel comfortable performing and is an important part in maintaining a safe and respectful environment. After check-in students participate in various warm-ups for voice, bodies, and brains, then follow with improv exercises and games. The class session ends with a “check-out” where the group discusses what worked well and what they can improve on.

“I’ve learned a lot of different Long-Form Improv styles from professional companies and some new games since I was at Allen,” Stogsdill said. “[Improv is a] group of goofy students who like to make jokes and perform.”

The new improv group performed a small show during the Student One-Acts and was a welcome addition to the theater program. The group will allow for a more diverse type of classes that can be taken at Allen.

“I think there are few things as mentally challenging and yet completely fun and ridiculous as improv.” Stogsdill said.

The Improv group has a show May 8th at 7:30pm in the Allen Theater, where they will perform various games and exercises. The group will be selling t-shirts which can be pre-order by emailing [email protected]. All funds will go towards scholarships for international theater students.