Gary Schwartz: weekend intensive – April 2018

This is HUGE! Award-winning, TV and film actor, director, comedian and a master teacher of improvisational acting, Gary Schwartz, will be joining us in April this year for a weekend intensive from Friday, 13th April to Sunday, 15th April.

“Gary is a terrific teacher” — Dan Castellaneta (a.k.a. Homer Simpson)

“Viola had genius and she shared it. Gary Schwartz continues to share her genius with integrity” — Valerie Harper

About Gary Schwartz

Gary Schwartz is an award-winning, TV and film actor, director, comedian and a master teacher of improvisational acting whose 30 years as a performer and improv teacher has helped transform the lives of thousands of people, both on- and off-screen. Gary spent 18 years working directly with the legendary Viola Spolin (who is widely regarded to be the matriarch of modern improvisation). He is the only teacher to have ever earned an endorsement from both Viola Spolin and her son, the original director of Second City, Paul Sills.

At age 13, Gary began his professional career as a mime, performing up and down the Hudson River with Pete Seegar, Arlo Guthrie and other great folk entertainers of the 60’s. In the 70’s and 80’s, he appeared in numerous film and television projects including the Oscar-winning feature film Quest for Fire and 65 episodes of the Emmy-winning TV series Zoobilee Zoo, with Ben Vereen. Since then, as a voice actor, Gary has gone on to work with Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Tim Burton, Kenneth Branagh and many other well-known directors. Details of his extensive acting career are available at

Today, Gary is a passionate, dynamic improv coach and facilitator. He is the founder of Improv Odyssey, an exciting approach to changing the way people work and play, entirely based on Spolin’s techniques. He served on the counsel of the newly formed Actors Guild SAG-AFTRA, Seattle branch for 5 years. He teaches theatre games locally and around the world. He also teaches acting for animation and writes on Spolin’s work.

His first novel, The King of Average has been selected as a “Best Book of 2016” by Kirkus Reviews and IndieReader.


In this masterclass, Gary will work on a broad spectrum of improvisation skills using the Spolin approach. You will learn techniques and exercises that will enhance a range of improvisation skills, no matter what your level.

Spolin’s Theater Games are simple, operational structures that are each built upon a specific focus or technical problem. The games have a liberating effect for the player. There are games to free the actor’s tension, games to cleanse the actor of subjective preconceptions of the meaning of words, games of relationship and character, games of concentration – in short, games for each of the areas with which the growing actor is concerned. But it’s more than that: The skills learned in this masterclass are ultimately life skills. The games heighten sensitivity, increase self-awareness, and develop confidence. Best of all, it’s fun!

Performance (Sunday)

As part of the weekend intensive, Gary will lead us in a show on the Sunday evening. This will be a great opportunity to put into action what you have learned. The performance will be open to the public, and we highly recommend that you invite lots of people along for a great show. The performance will also take place in the Common Room at the Arts Centre.

Notes for Participants

  • To get the most from this masterclass it is recommended that you already have at least some training as either an actor or an improviser. If you are unsure whether the class will suit you, please get in touch using the Contact Form.

Workshop Details and Booking Form

Dates / TimesFriday 13th April – 7 pm – 10 pm
Saturday 14th April – 10 am – 5 pm (1 hr lunch break)
Sunday 15th April – 10 am – 5 pm (1 hr lunch break)
Directed Performance: Sunday evening from 7 pm.
LocationOriginal Scripts Theatre School
Common Room Building
Christchurch Arts Centre
2 Worcester Boulevard,

Participantsmaximum 16
Cost$220 ($100 deposit will be required to confirm your place)
Booking Formbookings are closed


If you have any questions about this workshop, including applying for a cost reduction, please send a message using the contact form.