The longest running theatre in Tennessee has brought an improvisation workshop class to the Tri-Cities.
The Johnson City Community Theatre, which was created in 1885, has brought many productions to Johnson City over the last few decades, and continues to do so.
The JCCT improv class aims to reach out to actors in the area that wish to learn more about the performance.
The workshop is currently for anyone over the age of 18, and the course is being taught by Michael Gerber, who is on staff at the Barter Theatre and the Barter Youth Academy.
The classes were held the last three Fridays in March.
The sessions cost a total of $45 and there was a limit of 12 students.
Scott Elliott, president of the board of directors at JCCT and a student in the improv class, said there were 10 students in all who joined.
Three of these joined in the first hour of registration.
The curriculum for the class includes both long form and short form improv.
Long form, which is the session’s main focus, consists of 15 minute scenes that are made up as they go.
“The first class was quite fun,” Elliott said. “We started off with games that kept us on our toes, causing us to think and anticipate what each other may do. We then moved on to learning about long form and created several scenes.”
The 10 students who were present in the first class will be the same participants in the next two workshops as well.
Students were diverse in age, Elliott said, with the youngest being 18 and the oldest being in his sixties.
Elliott said JCCT has offered a couple of improvisation classes in the past and will offer more in the future.
However, no three week workshop has been held by the theatre before.
Although registration has ended for this particular workshop, more like this will become available in the future for younger groups.
In addition to the improvisation workshop, JCCT also offers music reading and performance classes, acting classes, audition workshops.
While many who have joined the improvisation class, and other courses, have had previous acting experience, new faces have auditioned for performances and have even been cast.
“Theatre is truly a magical experience for anyone,” Elliott said. “There is something for everyone at JCCT, whether it is performing, building sets, painting, working on running crew, or just seeing a show. I would encourage anyone who has even a little interest in acting or working in the arts to audition. We love teaching and giving new people a shot.”
Elliott, who has only been cast as a lead once in his over-25-year career, also said it is important to know that you may not always get the lead. However, there is always a place for you in theatre — it is like a family and accepts you for who you are.
Correction: An earlier version of this article said that Barter Theatre is partnering with the Johnson City Community Theatre to bring an improv class to the Tri-Cities. While Barter does partner with JCCT on an educational program called Barter Youth Academy, JCCT does not partner with Barter for improv classes.