• 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 Chris Mead.

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.

Chris Mead has studied with the co-founder of The Harold format Charna Halpern and with iO Chicago, The Annoyance Theatre in Chicago and The Hideout in Austin, Texas.

He is now running a course to combine these different styles with his 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 Wednesday for 8 weeks from Wednesday 3rd June 2020, with show on Sunday 26th July 2020.  BOOK NOW

Time: 7pm – 9:30pm.

Teacher: Chris Mead.

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.


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 level 3 and level 4 improv course first.

teacher Chris Mead

Chris has studied improv internationally at iO Chicago, The Annoyance Theatre in Chicago and The Hideout in Austin, Texas, as well as almost every improv school in London.

He studied theatre at Royal Holloway College and University of London.

He has performed at various improv festivals internationally including Austin Texas, Norway, Barcelona and Dublin.

Chris improvises with the award winning Maydays, sci-fi group Project2 and has recently co-founded Sonder, a company dedicated to improv as a theatrical art form.

He is one of the Artistic Directors of The Nursery Theatre.

He also hosts YesBot, a podcast dedicated to the theory and craft of improv (but with added exploding robots).


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 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.