Our philosophy about improv:
Verge pays careful attention to the process of growth in all that we do. Many theaters’ classes focus on learning artistic skills and creating a quality performance. While Verge is proud of the quality of our class performances, our priority is the learning process and the well-being of our participants. While we are artists, our primary objective is using theater to promote wellbeing for our community and for our participants as individuals. We do this by creating space for connection, play, and risk-taking.
We believe improv is at its best when the players are fully present with and for one another and when we give ourselves permission to play. It just so happens that the skills that make great improv are also valuable to our life off the stage.
As with all theater, we value improv not for the product it gives us (though we do love a great show!). Rather we value improv as a process of individual growth and community connection. Improv is powerful in our lives and in the lives of our students because it naturally nurtures our growth as people. When we do improv we play together, connect with each other and ourselves, and develop resilience. Improv just provides the space. It is like the pot and soil holding the growing plant. And at Verge we think our people are the water and sunshine nurturing each other. We could talk for days about how improv cultivates resilience and connection and why those things are so important in our lives. If you want to read more, click here.
While we believe improv is the perfect environment to grow as people, we are not counselors and we don’t pretend to be. Our classes are not group therapy, though many participants report that classes feel therapeutic. In our classes, we don’t pause for 30 minute tearful chats and we don’t ask you probing questions about your personal life and private feelings. We will not examine personal challenges you are facing outside of the classroom. Rather we focus on practicing improv skills and connecting with each other. We trust that the personal growth is a natural product of an intentional and supportive creative process.
At Verge you will find a decidedly non-competitive environment. If you are the kind of person who thrives with competition, we are probably not the theater for you. (Not that you aren’t welcome! You certainly are. We just won’t be running in the metaphorical race that excites you. We will probably stop to smell the flowers and wave at you when you lap us!) If you want a community that is carefully and intentionally supportive of all its members, that celebrates differences of experience, and that values all that we can learn from each other then Verge is a good fit!
Improv can be for everyone. We hear from so many folks that they are nervous to sign up for a class because they don’t think they are funny enough. You don’t have to be funny to be a good improviser! Don’t let the “I’m not good enough” get in your way of trying something lovely. You are enough! We all knew how to improvise when we were out at recess in Kindergarten. You already know how to improvise. You just need to remember. It will be challenging, but you can do it!
Improv should be FUN! Yes, you will be learning valuable skills that you can carry with you to any part of your life. Yes, at times you might feel stuck. And Yes, improv should be as fun as it is challenging. We want joy, play, and laughter in every class session!!!
Our philosophy about teaching Improv:
At Verge we understand that learning happens when people feel supported to take creative risks. Your instructor will be there to cheer for you. Your instructor will also be there to challenge you to push yourself past what you think you can do. We believe that learning happens through mistakes and failure as much as through success. In Verge classes, you can expect to make mistakes and you can expect your instructor to be there to help you practice turning your mistakes into treasures.
At Verge we understand that every individual is unique and comes to class with their own set of strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. Because of this we strive to make our curriculum adaptable to the needs of the students.
We also recognize that our instructors are individuals too. While you can count on every instructor following Verge values and curriculum, you can also expect a character class taught by Instructor A to feel different than a character class taught by Instructor B. Because they are different human beings! We think that is beautiful and are proud to offer you a chance to work with and learn from a variety of instructors.
At Verge we understand the value of diversity of learners. The classroom is richer when people bring different perspectives and experiences. In our classes, a novice might be learning next to a veteran who has been taking classes for years. This diversity gives new students the valuable opportunity to learn by improvising next to more practiced improvisers. And it gives advanced students the chance to challenge their ability to lead and support in a scene, to revisit basics they might have forgotten, and to challenge limiting assumptions they have developed over the years. While we feel certain this diversity is immensely valuable, we also feel certain that it can be challenging. Our instructors are there to support students we experience the challenges and joys of learning together.
Improv Around Town
Take classes at Verge and take classes with our friends. The world of improv is HUGE. Each theater has its own philosophy. Each instructor has their own style. We encourage our students to explore as much as improv has to offer in all its different forms, by participating in the Bozeman improv community at large!
We are committed to collaborating with other theaters in the Bozeman area and beyond as we work towards our collective mission to grow and support the performing arts in Montana. We believe that all theaters are strengthened when we support each other. We believe that through partnership, communication, and cooperation we can continue to nurture a thriving creative community in which more people have access to the performing arts and the creative process.
Check out our friends over at Last Best Comedy. You have probably seen Annie and Levin on the Verge stage and when you go to a show at Last Best you are likely to see Verge regulars. Don’t miss out on all the Bozeman improv community has to offer!