Far From Burnt Out

The cast of NBOJU shortly before being taken to heaven.

Last night I had the great pleasure to work with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed in their brand new place. When I say brand new, I mean brand spanking new. NBOJU has been performing in 10 years in Tucson and they’re hitting a critical mass to grow. With hopes of starting a training center in October, last night was their first night in the space. Hopefully a performance venue will also open in 2013.

In my opinion, they’re doing it right. Too many theatres open for performance and then try to start a training program. Opening a training program first not only brings in a little start-up capital, it builds a stronger series of players ready for your opening night. As an instructor, I know that teaching for a while before opening The Torch made me a stronger performer as well. Mike and Chris will both be teaching to give students different voices and different styles. It was great talking with Mike last night about really putting together a training center with intent.

Some day this will be a historical document

I was honored to be invited to run my Higher Forms of Agreement workshop during their first practice in the new space. I know I tend to get a little intense in that workshop, but everyone leaped up and pushed themselves hard. As a comedy group, they were willing to go to some very serious places in their scenework to discover the depths they were capable of taking their characters. Everyone was pretty pooped by the time we wrapped up.

I’m particularly grateful to them for asking a lot of questions. If you’re a regular reader here, you know I’m a big believer in asking questions – especially “why”. Instead of just jumping into exercises last night, people weren’t afraid to ask why and I think we all learned a lot more from the process.

There are so many improv training centers across the country, but far too few who value continuing education for students and teachers alike. I think NBOJU will become known for running a great training center, and eventually, a great theatre.  If you live in Tucson, or know someone who does, go check out their 10th Anniversary show. Better yet, think about signing up for class.

Transportation for guests of NBOJU has been provided by Alexander Cherry; lending rides to improv instructors since 2012.

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