fun and playful Harolds!
Harold improv course
An advanced course to learn how to perform The Harold in a fun and playful spontaneous Hoopla style with Maria Peters. 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 has studied with the co-founder of The Harold format Charna Halpern (iO), who is also director of The iO Theatre Chicago and author of Truth in Comedy. Maria has also trained with Rachael Mason (Second City), Susan Messing (Annoyance) and numerous instructors from The UCB Theatre, NYC.
She is now running a course to combine these different styles with her own unique take on The Harold. We 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 and joyous without having to worry about the structure or excessive rules when performing.
Harold from the heart.
dates, time, location
Date: Every Tuesday for 8 weeks from Tuesday 14th January 2020, with show on Sunday 8th March 2020. BOOK NOW
Time: 7pm – 9:30pm.
Teacher: Maria Peters.
Price: £230. Either payable all at once or with an initial payment of £100 followed by the remaining £130 once the course starts.
Venue: Theatre Delicatessen Studios, 2 Finsbury Avenue, off Whitecross Place, London, EC2M 2PP.
Tube: Liverpool Street or Moorgate.
Teaches the skills you’ll need to master scenes, stories and sketches in a relaxed environment.
If improvisation floats your boat you should head to Hoopla.
Hoopla's workshops are supportive and collaborative.
Inspiring. Everywhere you look, huge grins suggest an enthusiasm and an attentiveness that is rarely seen in a course.
The capital’s best improv. The UK’s first improv comedy club.
teacher Maria Peters
Maria was one of the first people to perform Harolds in London, over 10 years ago at Hoopla. She now performs in Breaking & Entering and produces The Playground, which she has grown to be one of London’s most popular improv nights.
Her solo show, The Science of Cringe, premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year and played to sell-out audiences. She has also written for BBC Radio Comedy and is a regular on the improvised podcast Destination.
Maria has performed at numerous international improv festivals including Estonia, The Netherlands, Philadelphia, Portugal & Dublin.
She has studied with Charna Halpern, the founder of iO Chicago and author of Truth in Comedy, who originally developed The Harold with Del Close.
She has also studied with Keith Johnstone, New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade in New York and Second City in Chicago.
To top it all off Maria is a professional educator. Having spent over 10 years in learning, training & informal education, she understands the fundamentals of passing on knowledge in interactive & engaging ways.
Maria believes it’s paramount to put her students’ needs first and always creates a friendly, relaxed environment where the goal in every class is to learn new things while having a bloody good time.
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.
- Introducing vocabulary of The Harold.
- Structure of The Harold.
- Physical openings.
- 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.
- Running lots of Harolds with helpful notes from the teacher.
- 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.
What comes after this course?
We have a variety of other advanced improv courses that would be suitable.
Who is this suitable for?
People with previous long-form improv experience who want to learn and experiment with some new formats.
How much improv or acting should I have done before doing this course?
You should have done our Level 4 Improv Course or a similar amount somewhere else. This course is not suitable for people new to improv.
Can I do it if I’ve already done some Harolds before?
Yes. This is going to be Hoopla's own unique version of it and there should be some new stuff for you. It's not Harold by numbers, it's Harold from the heart.
What if I can’t make every week?
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.
What if I’m running late?
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.
What’s the class size?
The group size is going to be limited to 15 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.
Do I have to perform in the show at the end?
No. The show is optional, and you’ll still get loads out of the course without doing the show.
Can I pay by instalments?
Yes. You can book and pay the £100 first instalment (non-refundable) and pay the remaining £130 once the course starts.