THE MAGNET TRAINING CENTER
At Magnet, you'll learn to do original, honest, and ridiculously funny work through games and exercises in class, and through performances on the Magnet stages. You'll find some of the very best improv and musical improv training, and excellent classes in sketch writing, storytelling and more. Each course component builds on the previous one, with an emphasis on bringing out the best in each student and cultivating a diverse skill-set. Students are bombarded with opportunities to improvise and write sketch for stage and video. And graduates may be asked to audition for Megawatt, Magnet's house team system.
Learning to improvise just might be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. It's about bringing who you are, all your knowledge and experience, your point of view and your tastes, and then applying concrete techniques as you play with focused abandon with other smart people doing that same thing. Sound fun? It is. The classes are fun, the shows are a blast, and the hanging out afterward is pretty great, too. Improv is also a powerful tool, useful in every aspect of a person's life. And once the techniques become second nature… well, you'll see. Our instructors believe everyone can become an excellent improvisor and our graduates prove it onstage, performing hilarious, inventive, in-the-moment comedy every night.
Improv Fundamentals - Level 1 - The Principles of Improv
Level One - The Principles of Improv Simply put, you'll learn to improvise. In Level One, students will get onstage immediately and explore the fundamental principles of improvisation through exercises in agreement, commitment, spontaneity and listening. Sessions are designed so students will build a strong foundation as a confident performer. You will amaze yourself with your new found skills at the class graduation performance in front of your friends and family. This show is always fun and usually the highlight of most people's lives.
Thursdays 7:00pm - 10:00pm
(8 sessions / 1 shows) $350
- Rick Andrews
Tuesdays 7:00pm - 10:00pm
(8 sessions / 1 shows) $350
- Nick Kanellis
Improv Fundamentals - Level 2 - Intro to Long Form
Level Two - Intro to Long Form Now apply what you've learned in Level One to create long form pieces. This class is heavy on exercises in the fundamental structural components of long form: scene work, group games, opening games, second beats, transitions, and callbacks. Students emerge from Level Two with the tools necessary to stage longer pieces with recurring themes and rich characters, and they hit the stage at the end of their 8 weeks with another fun graduation performance. Prerequisite: Magnet Level One.
Improv Core Curriculum - Level 3 - Long Form Intensive
Level Three - Long Form Intensive With the first two levels under your belt, it's time to focus on Harold, the original long form structure that changed the history of performance improvisation. Harold is popular for good reason - it's fun, relatively simple to learn, infinitely deep, and very satisfying for performers and audiences. Students will master the components of this dynamic long form over this 8 week session, and get to perform a Harold in their class graduation show. Prerequisite: Magnet Level Two.
Improv Core Curriculum - Level 4 - Senior Project
Level Four - Senior Project The final level of the Magnet core curriculum, Level Four dives deep into an advanced form (e.g. Evente, MonoScene, Deconstruction, Sleepover, Harold+, The Movie) and works on that form with the singular focus needed to create a great show. The 8 class sessions are followed by a 4 week run of shows, giving students an enhanced opportunity to learn by doing, over time, in front of a real audience. Prerequisite: Magnet Level Three.
Wednesdays 7:00pm - 10:00pm
(8 sessions / 4 shows) $375
- Alex Marino
(8 sessions / 4 shows) $375
(8 sessions / 4 shows) $375
Improv Conservatory - Level 5 - Improv Revue
Level Five - Improv Revue Advanced training is about becoming a confident, skilled and consistent performer. Level Five is the first component of advanced training and includes 6 weeks of classes that explore more challenging pieces, followed by a 4 week run of shows. Students explore The Montage, The Mono Scene, The Time Dash, Freeze Tag and more, and present these forms and games during their full 4 week revue at The Magnet Studio Theater. Prerequisite: Magnet Level 4.
Improv Conservatory - Level 6 - Team Performance Workshop
Level Six - Team Performance Workshop Upon instructor approval, students continue their advanced training as a member of an improv ensemble. The first section includes 6 weeks of classes designed to develop a strong ensemble onstage and off. The second section consists of a full 8 week run of shows where your ensemble performs The Montage, The Mono Scene, The Harold, and Freeze Tag. Learning through the experience of being in an ensemble will empower the group and the individual to present exceptional shows, and prepare advanced students for membership on a Megawatt Team should they wish to audition. Prerequisite: Level Five and Instructor Approval.
Exactly as it sounds - no prior sign up required. Just drop by the Magnet Training Center and work with other improvisers as you're led through a series of focused exercises by an experienced guest instructor.
Every Saturday, one of The Magnet's top house performers host an ongoing drop-in session. Whether you are looking to play with new improvisors, get some reps in between classes or just brush up on your fundamentals, the Saturday Drop-In is the perfect place to be.
Learn to write great sketch comedy. The Magnet Comedy Writing Program brings students through a series of exercises and assignments which study what makes great sketch work, and applies that learning to each student's writing from concept to final polish. Structured around a 'writer's room' environment and led by experienced instructors, each student not only receives useful feedback, but also learns how to analyze their own work, preparing them to work outside the classroom environment. Advanced classes result in more advanced performances which are cast from Magnet performers and directed by the instructor. And throughout, students continue their creation of their writing packet - a necessary first step in the pursuit of comedy writing career.
This class will teach you concrete skills that will help you become a better sketch comedy writer. You will learn how to develop your ideas, clarify your premise, create characters, and understand what makes a good sketch work. The class will consist of lectures, writing assignments, and focused and fun workshops each week. Most of the class will be about the work, but of course some of the class will be devoted to the business, and the improvement (or creation) of your sketch packet. 8 weeks. No experience required. Open to all.
This class is an advanced sketch writing workshop that will give you the experience of working as a writer on a professional comedy show. Students will learn how to better craft sketches, expand their writing portfolio, collaborate with a team of writers, and produce their own sketches for performance. The class will conclude with two graduation performances, in which students will be responsible for casting, rehearsing, directing, and producing their work for the stage. Prerequisite: Sketch Writing Level One and instructor approval. 8 weeks and 2 graduation performances.
Create and perform an original sketch comedy show with Armando Diaz. Through improv exercises and written assignments, students will collaborate to create a sketch revue and perform it in a 4-week run of shows. Due to the intensive nature of this class, consistent attendance is mandatory. Students may not miss more than one class. 8 weeks of class and 4 shows. Prerequisite: Level Two and Instructor Approval.
Now you can create material without having to sit down and write. In the tradition of Second City, you will learn to create sketch comedy through improvisation. In this 8-week class, students will collaborate to create a sketch revue and perform it in a 4-week run of shows. Prerequisite: Instructor approval required.
Musical Improv is about learning how to create a spontaneous musical without planning any of the content. These classes are for two types of people: anyone who feels born to make up songs in front of people, and anyone who dreads the idea. You'll learn how to sing confidently within your own voice. And you'll learn the mechanics of a song, and the underlying structures that songwriters use to create the building blocks of a larger musical piece. And you'll practice over and over with a supportive group of people. It's a fun and rewarding challenge, and when all the pieces come together it can be thrilling. After a bit of training, you may be asked to audition for one of the Musical Megawatt teams and gain a regular performance slot at the Magnet Mainstage.
Musical Improv Level One
Musical Improv Level One Now this is something to sing about! Eight weeks of music and improvisation. Learn how to put your thoughts into song and take your scenes to the next level. Whether you are an experienced singer or not, you will learn to master duets, rock opera, charity songs, and more! 8 weeks of class followed by a graduation performance. Prerequisite: Level One or equivalent experience.
Musical Improv Level Two
Musical Improv Level Two Eight more weeks of musical improv! This second level of Musical Improv focuses on building group dynamic, incorporating choreography, and learning additional song structures. 8 weeks of class followed by a graduation performance. Prerequisite: Musical Improv Level One and Level Three or equivalent.
Musical Improv Level Three And Beyond
Musical Improv Level Three, Genre Studies Sing it to a whole new level! In this performance intensive workshop, students will be assigned to a musical improv team which will perform a 4-week run of shows. The 8-week workshop will focus on advanced musical improv skills, group dynamic, and the responsibilities of being in a musical improv ensemble. Prerequisite: Musical Improv Level 2 and Instructor Approval.
Sundays 6:30pm - 9:30pm
(8 sessions / 4 shows) $375
- Team Taught
Work with excellent teachers on aspects of the work that interest you. Magnet offers elective classes in improv, musical improv, writing, solo performance, and more. Learn new skills, discover unexpected talents, and develop professionally. Some electives require prior experience so check the class descriptions for more details. This course list is refreshed regularly, so check back to find unique opportunities and special guest instructors. Magnet electives are generally open to all students, even if they have no prior training at Magnet (and if there is a class prerequisite, the registrar will accept equivalent prior training from another improv school).
Action Improv (currently in session)
Action improv is about making your scenes simple, clear and funny. Want to spend 9 minutes in a beautiful, vague space with wobbly motivations and tons of quirky specifics? Awesome. I love that stuff. But not in this class. This class is Lock into your partner faster, play harder and worry less by streamlining your action and discovering how quickly the rest falls into place. Yippee ki yay.
Auditioning for Commercials and Television 2.0 (currently in session)
This advanced on-camera class is for working actors and improvisors with previous on-camera training and/or auditioning experience. It is an intense four-week course covering advanced commercial topics including: challenging audition scenarios, cold readings, group auditions, and improvising on camera. Students will work on-camera every week with commercial sides, culminating in an industry night, where students will audition with commercial copy for invited commercial agents/casting directors. Pre-requisites: "On-Camera Auditioning for TV and Commercials - Level One" (or extensive commercial experience and instructor approval). Limit: 12 Students. Four weeks and an industry night.
Auditioning for TV & Commercials (currently in session)
Put your improv skills to work in the entertainment industry and learn the art and business of auditioning. In other words, learn how to get paid to do what you love. This 8-week class will cover the ABCs of auditioning. Topics to be covered include auditioning on-camera, working with sides, finding the right monologue, preparation, and the business of the business. Students will work on-camera each week with a special emphasis on commercials, soap operas and prime-time television auditions. Students will audition for agents and casting directors in an industry showcase on April 8th, 2013.
Auditioning for TV & Commercials (currently in session)
Put your improv skills to work in the entertainment industry and learn the art and business of auditioning. In other words, learn how to get paid to do what you love. This 8-week class will cover the ABCs of auditioning. Topics to be covered include auditioning on-camera, working with sides, finding the right monologue, preparation, and the business of the business. Students will work on-camera each week with a special emphasis on commercials, soap operas and prime-time television auditions. Students will audition for agents and casting directors in an industry showcase 6/24/13.
Building Character (now enrolling)
Make good scenes great with the right kind of characters. A character without consistency is a crazy person. A character without action is just a silly voice. And a character without reaction is a one-man show. So how do we play characters in an intelligent way that aids the group instead of distracts from it? It ain't always easy. This class will push deeper into point of view and behavioral games in order to create exciting, believable and helpful characters .
Camp Magnet 2010 (currently in session)
Camp Magnet returns! Our annual summer retreat is coming back for its 3rd glorious year. Go camping with us in the beautiful Catskill Mountains from June 10th - June 13th. Enjoy 4 days and 3 nights of improv, outdoors, adventure, and fun with improv and writing workshops taught by Armando Diaz, Ed Herbstman, Rachel Hamilton, Jean Villepique, and other guest instructors. Deadline Extended!
Camp Magnet 2011 (currently in session)
Camp Magnet returns! Our annual summer retreat is coming back for its 4th glorious year. Go camping with us in the beautiful Catskill Mountains from June 9th - June 12th. Enjoy 4 days and 3 nights of improv, outdoors, adventure, and fun with improv and writing workshops. Each day will involve improv and writing workshops, in addition to outdoor team activities such as swimming in a spring-fed lake, volleyball, basketball, hiking and biking. Evenings will be filled with improv jams, shows and late night campfires. All campers sleep in modern, well-appointed cabins equipped with electricity and a bathroom with showers. Meals are provided 3 times a day in the dining hall, and yes, we can accomodate vegetarians. All of this is cradled in the beauty of the Southern Catskills just 90 miles north of New York City. An endless sea of woods surrounds our magnificent 120-acre campground, and a sensational sunset over the springs is truly a sight to behold! How can one resist such an amazing retreat?
Camp Magnet 2012 (currently in session)
Camp Magnet returns! Our annual summer retreat is coming back for its 5th glorious year. Go camping with us in the beautiful Catskill Mountains from June 7th - June 10th. Enjoy 4 days and 3 nights of improv, outdoors, adventure, and fun with improv and writing workshops. Each day will involve improv and writing workshops, in addition to outdoor team activities such as swimming in a spring-fed lake, volleyball, basketball, hiking and biking. Evenings will be filled with improv jams, shows and late night campfires. All campers sleep in modern, well-appointed cabins equipped with electricity and a bathroom with showers. Meals are provided 3 times a day in the dining hall, and yes, we can accommodate vegetarians. All of this is cradled in the beauty of the Southern Catskills just 90 miles north of New York City. An endless sea of woods surrounds our magnificent 120-acre campground and a sensational sunset over the springs is truly a sight to behold! How can one resist such an amazing retreat? Registration Deadline Extended:May 20, 2012
Camp Magnet 2013 (now enrolling)
Camp Magnet returns! Our annual summer retreat is coming back. Go camping with us in the beautiful Catskill Mountains from June 13th - June 16th. Enjoy 4 days and 3 nights of improv, outdoors, adventure, and fun with improv and writing workshops. DEADLINE TO ENROLL: MAY 24th. Private cabins are available for an additional cost. For more information, please call 212-244-2400.
ChickProv (currently in session)
Yup, its a Ladies Only Workshop. This workshop will of course begin with a pillow fight in our panties, after which, time permitting, we will improvise. The intention is to play, connect, experiment and to just see what happens when we put up the No Boys Allowed sign for a little while and improvise as women, with women and for women.
Coaching Class (now enrolling)
Learn how to coach and teach improv through practical hands-on experience. Students will work on warm-ups, scene exercises and ensemble building techniques by coaching actual performers. The class will also cover how to give notes, structure a coaching session, deal with common coaching problems, manage time, and other skills needed to be a confident, flexible and successful coach. 6 weeks. Prerequisite: Acceptance into Level Five:Improv Revue. Must have Magnet training to register for class. Limit 14 students.
Dr. Cacky's Improv Cleansing (currently in session)
Is your scenework tired and sluggish? Are you falling back on the same tired choices and characters you always make? Do you need to get back to basics and be playful and strong again? If so, Dr. Cackyʼs improv cleansing is for you. Heʼll give you the improv equivalent of a high colonic, flushing the toxins of insecurity and indecision out of your system. Youʼll also receive some personalized feedback via email.
Extreme Listening (now enrolling)
Often the best scenes grow from the seed of a tiny detail. Too often we are so busy trying to "make something happen" that we miss the gems that are the true key to building the world of the scene and the depth of the relationships. Each moment is chock full of information, if only we are listening for it. By really tuning-in, with not just our ears but with all of our senses, to both our partners and ourselves, we will discover the richness each moment has to offer and the discoveries they can lead us to.
Improv For Actors (currently in session)
Improv is a powerful tool for the actor yet it can be scary, frustrating and mysterious. In this class we will approach improv in a way that utilizes the actors instincts and strengths. Learn to be more spontaneous and truthful in your scenes while mastering effective improv technique. This class will be fun and serious! "Armando really speaks an actors' language. He was able, not only to make a bunch of uptight actors feel comfortable enough to just relax and play, but also to show us how improv integrates into our scripted work. "--Charlotte Pines, Student
ImprovIsActing 2 (now enrolling)
ImprovIsActing 2 follows the Viewpoints groundwork set during our ImprovIsActing 1 workshop. We will further explore the remaining Viewpoints, and how they help build scenes in the present, dynamic scenes, theatrical scenes, and on artistically fulfilling scenes. We will review work done in ImprovIsActing 1 and continue to hone the tools of awareness, presentness, theatrical mindfulness, and support. ImprovIsActing 2 is open to actors who have either taken ImprovIsActing 1, studied with Dave Razowsky, or have a short interview describing the actors theatrical improvisation experience.
Instant Characters (now enrolling)
Building strong characters starts the moment your foot hits the floor, not the moment you start thinking. This workshop will focus on the organic unfolding of character based on that first step. Characters are richer, instantly fleshed out and exciting, all leading to playing people youve never inhabited, in scenes youve never before played. More being less thinking!
Kiss! Punch! Write! (currently in session)
Ever performed an improv scene that you felt would make a great story or poem? This class is designed to exercise and emphasize the creative writer in you. This workshop will play with improv exercises that are designed to get you thinking sharply and poetically, while also focusing on a series of generative writing prompts that will polish your automatic writing skills. At the end of the workshop, Kiss Punch Poems own Jared Singer will teach you how to spit sure brilliance from off the top of your skull with improvised poems.
Let It Be-Part 2 (currently in session)
Do more with less. In this class we'll be exploring and developing techniques learned in Let It Be, focusing on bringing more depth, subtlety and liveliness to scene work. Run longer, go farther, stay out of your own way. Why not let your character take over and do the work for you? Pre-requisite: Students must have completed Let It Be after September 2012.
Occupy Yourself (currently in session)
In our daily lives weve gotten all too good at flattening our expressive selves, limiting the range of our permissible behaviors to just a few mundane modes. But no one wants to do or see scenes in which the players are just fine or okay. As improvisers we need to consciously reclaim our wide expressive range. In this workshop you will get the opportunity to rediscover the wide array of ways you have permission to be..in your scenes and also in the world. Improvising from a big, beautiful, expansive version of yourself will surprise and delight you and your audience.
Opposite Day (now enrolling)
Discover the joy of playing energies, characters and points of view, that are wildly different than your own. Feel the freedom of hurling yourself out of your own experience and into that of someone entirely new to you. In this workshop, you will be invited to not only play against your personal type but also to dive into the forbidden realms of the unlikeable, the ugly and the weird..and to discover the profound power and joy of doing so.
Play It Straight (currently in session)
This 3 hour workshop is strictly for LGBTQ folk. It's going to focus on special issues that arise in comedy when you're 'family.' How do we deal with these issues when we're on stage with straight folk, while still seeming graceful and charming and funny. We'll also examine a question LGBTQ performers have been asking for years - should I hone my special little gay voice? Or, should I learn to 'Play it Straight.'
Pro-(Positive)Choices (now enrolling)
A toolbox contains more than a hammer, so shouldnt your scenes contain more than anger and conflict? Find creative freedom when positive emotional choices drive your scenes. Guide your scenes forward without a need to conjure up an argument, defend your side of the story, or your need to have your ego intact at the scenes end. Its not about winning our losing---its about keeping the scene alive.
The Song Writes Itself (now enrolling)
Learn how to turn the scariest part of musical improv - the song - into the easiest part. This workshop focuses on skills and techniques for character creation and good scenework, the most important and overlooked parts of musical improv. Exercises are geared toward instantaneously making bold choices, tapping into your own fun and creating strong characters. Because once you learn how to make your scenes strong, the song writes itself!