Hoopla Impro Newsletter

Next Available Dates:

Dates: Every Thursday for 8 weeks from Thursday 17th May 2018 with Maria Peters. Performance on Wednesday 11th July 2018. FULLY BOOKED.

Time: 7pm - 9:30pm.

Price: £200. Either payable all at once or with an initial payment of £100 followed by the remaining £100 once the course starts.

Workshop Venue: Theatre Delicatessen Studios, 1st Floor, 2 Finsbury Avenue (off Whitecross Place), London, EC2M 2PP.

Tube: Liverpool Street, Moorgate or Bank.

Show Venue: Hoopla at The Miller, 96 Snowsfields Road, London Bridge, SE1 3SS.

Tube: London Bridge.

This course is now fully booked. Please contact us to be put on the waiting list for future dates.

Harold Improv Course

An advanced course to learn how to perform The Harold in a fun and playful Hoopla style with Maria Peters or Katy Schutte.

8 week course with a performance at the end.

The Harold is a long-form improv format originally invented by Del Close in the 1960s and then further developed by Del Close and Charna Halpern at iO Theatre in Chicago in the 1980s. Their work inspired improvisers like John Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Tina Fey and a lot of modern sitcoms are based on Harold structures.

The format involves exploring three different worlds from a fun opening and revisiting those scenes and characters to explore connections, patterns and themes that emerge like magic for the audience.

Maria Peters and Katy Schutte have studied with Charna Halpern (iO), Rachael Mason (Second City), Susan Messing (Annoyance) and numerous instructors from The UCB Theatre, NYC. They are now running a course to combine these different styles with their own unique take on The Harold. Their aim is to help you perform a Harold that is fun and funny while exploring themes, emotions, relationships and deeper theatrical ideas.

We will teach a variety of styles and techniques for performing The Harold, giving you the freedom to choose what works for you and what you enjoy.

Most of all we aim to make performing The Harold feel fun, playful, joyous and free without having to worry about the structure or rules when performing.

Only suitable for people with previous long-form improv experience. If you haven’t got previous long-form experience it’s best to do our long-form course first.


We’ll be covering a variety of topics and themes over the course, and also responding to the needs of the group.

Weeks 1 and 2:

- Bonding the group as a team.

- Revisiting improv scene basics.

- Who/What/Where.

- Introducing vocabulary of The Harold.

- Structure of The Harold.

- Physical openings.

Weeks 3,4,5:

- Different ways to link scenes.

- Tangential scene jumps.

- Thematic scene jumps.

- Narrative scene jumps.

- Heightening scenes and character.

- Different styles of scenes including funny, relationship, theatrical, emotional, world view scenes.

- Scenes that reflect society.

- Playing and resting games.

- Reincorporating and call backs.

- Group games.

- Variety of openings to start a show.

- Discovering themes and patterns.

- How to find and ending.

Weeks 6,7,8:

- Running lots of Harolds with helpful notes from Maria.

- Performing Harolds without thinking about it and without worrying about structure.

- Perform Harolds in a fun, playful, flowing and joyous way.

The exact topics and themes will vary depending on the group and will be developed as the course goes on.

Fringe Guru Remote Goat 1080 Magazine Edinburgh Guide

“If improvisation floats your boat you should head to Hoopla. There’s fewer better ways to see what spur-of-the-moment comedy London has to offer.”

The Londonist

“Everywhere you look, huge grins suggest an enthusiasm-and an attentiveness-that is rarely seen in the classroom.”

The Daily Telegraph

“You really rocked it as ever, and I have heard nothing but good from the participants. Once again, thanks again for a splendid series of workshops.” Gareth Mitchell, Lecturer, Science Communication, Imperial College.

“Inspiring, hilarious and richly rewarding. The workshop brightened up everyone's morning. The whole experience was a true pleasure and hugely helpful.”

James Honda-Pinder, Apple

The supportive atmosphere ensures that even complete beginners will have the confidence to grow their skills.”

Time Out

“This introduction to improvisation will teach the skills you'll need to master scenes, stories and sketches in a relaxed environment.

“The workshop is supportive and collaborative and neatly strips out the expectation and nerves that result from comedic preparation.”

The Evening Standard

“Thanks for the workshop. All the feedback has been extremely positive! The team loved it!”

PR Manager, Comedy Central

“Most fun EVER at @hooplaimpro showcase tonight! On the bus home 6 hours later drunk on congratulatory drinks from other people! #Nocalories”

Helen, @treehouse1984

"Just wanted to say how much I loved this course, it really got me passionate about improv again, trying out a completely new style. I really loved it and my friends said that the show was amazing!"

Chloe Wittet

“Great improv workshop with @hooplaimpro couldn't stop smiling from beginning until end!”


“Thank you for an awesome session this eve. Haven't laughed this much on a Monday eve for years :-)” @SarasmithsVO

“Have I mentioned that I’m Learning Improv with @hooplaimpro and it is the best thing ever? Because I am and it is.” @Flyingnelly

“My imagination has been given a serious workout this weekend with the @hooplaimpro course.”


Reviews & Testimonials


Q: What comes after this course?

A: We have a variety of other Advanced Improv Courses that would be suitable.

Q: Who is this suitable for?

A: People with previous long-form improv experience who want to learn and experiment with some new formats.

Q: How much improv or acting should I have done before doing this course?

A: You should have done our long–form improv course or a similar amount somewhere else. This course is not suitable for people new to improv.

Q: Can I do it if I’ve already done some Harolds before?

A: Yes. This is going to be Maria’s own unique version of it and there should be some new stuff for you.

Q: What if I can’t make every week?

A: As we’re forming a team over the course to do performances at the end it’s best not to miss more than one session over the course. If you think you’ll miss more than one sessions over the course please wait until another time to do the course. You won’t be able to do the show if you miss more than two sessions.

Q: What if I’m running late?

A: We’ll be starting each session at 7pm, and you may not be able to take part in the workshop if you arrive after 7:15pm. This is an advanced course and we’re trying to form a team, so please don’t book this course if you are likely to be late on a regular basis.

Q: What’s the class size?

A: The group size is going to be limited to 14 people - small enough that you get lots and lots of practice and stage time, but big enough that there’s still a lively atmosphere in the workshop. It’ll be fun as we get to know each other and build a team together.

Q: Where is the show?

A: The show takes place at our improv comedy club, at The Miller, 96 Snowsfields Road, London Bridge, SE1 3SS.

Q: Do I have to perform in the show at the end?

A: No. The show is optional, and you’ll still get loads out of the course without doing the show.

Q: Can I pay by instalments?

A: Yes. You can book and pay the £95 first instalment (non-refundable) and pay the remaining £100 once the course starts.

This course is now fully booked. Please contact us to be put on the waiting list for future dates.

If it was possible to get a PHD in Improv, Maria would have it. She has studied The Harold with Charna Halpern, the founder of iO and author of Truth in Comedy, who originally developed The Harold with Del Close.

She has also learned from the Godfather of British Improvisational theatre, Keith Johnstone. As well as instructors from world-renowned improv schools such as Chicago's Second City, iO and New York's Upright Citizens Brigade.

Maria is also a professional educator which means that having spent over 15 years in learning & development, she knows how to impart knowledge in interactive & engaging ways.

Maria believes in putting her students’ needs first and always creates a friendly, relaxed environment where the goal in every class is to learn new things while having ALL OF THE FUN.

This course is now fully booked. Please contact us to be put on the waiting list for future dates.

Maria Peters

Maria Peters is an improv veteran, performing & studying improv for nearly 10 years.

She currently performs in Breaking & Entering, improvised long-form with Lauren Shearing, and also produces The Playground, one of Hoopla’s most popular nights.