Improv Comedy Houses
The Hideout Theatre Map It

The intimate upstairs stage at the Hideout Theatre is a completely different entity from the coffeeshop and stage on the ground floor of the same building. Upstairs, Managing Director Kareem Badr and his steady team teach improv classes and rent out space for shows on an almost nightly basis. Because of its downtown location on Congress Avenue, it's a popular spot for comedy shows throughout the year, including weekend kid-friendly shows, the improv all-star Maestro shows, and festival spotlights during Out of Bounds and SXSW.

The Institution Theater Map It
Austin photo: Places_Arts_Institution Theater_Exterior

The Insitution Theater is the Southern giant of improv, located just off Congress Avenue by St. Edward's University. Owner Tom Booker and Education Director Asaf Ronen have a combined 50+ years doing improv in Chicago, New York and L.A., and they are experts at teaching confidence and humor to their students of improv and sketch comedy. This house is also responsible for various shows at the Highball like Teen Angst Tuesdays and The Best of Everything.

Salvage Vanguard Theater Map It

Salvage Vanguard is itself a non-affiliated venue available for rent by performance groups of all varieties throughout Austin. Of the improv groups in town, it is the chosen home of Shannon McCormick's Gnap! Theater Projects and Shana Merlin's popular series of improv classes, Merlin Works. McCormick and Merlin are also both active improvisors (and occasional scene partners) who showcase new concept-based improv like Dusk: Improvised Tween Erotica at this venue.

ColdTowne Theater Map It
Austin Photo: Places_Arts_Coldtowne_Theatre_Exterior

Located off Airport and I-35 next to I Luv Video, the intimate ColdTowne stage has featured a long string of emerging and established performers over the years. Begun in 2005 with a team of five improv experts from New Orleans, the ColdTowne crew made Austin their home, teaching improv and sketch classes and performing on an almost daily basis. Today, Michael Jastroch, Arthur Simone and Justin York book and star in sold-out shows, one after the other, as audiences funnel through the BYOB theater space.

The New Movement Theatre Map It
Austin Photo: Places_Arts_New_Movement_Theatre_Exterior

A small stage in an East Austin storefront, The New Movement is one of the premiere improv houses in town, teaching classes in sketch and improv, and showcasing those alumni talents on their stage on a near-constant basis. They are also seen doing comedy shows at festivals like Fun Fun Fun Fest and SXSW. This is the Austin homebase for owners Chris Trew and Tami Nelson, who split their time between Austin and New Orleans and tour the country hosting Air Sex competitions.

Cafe Caffeine Map It

Cafe Caffeine is the South Austin coffeehouse that doubles as the home of Austin's very own ComedySportz team. Owner Les McGehee has been doing improv since 1986, and brought the sport of competitive improv to Austin to expand the options avaialble to audiences and players. Played in a refereed match of two-on-two teams, ComedySportz is a fast-paced, family-friendly way to combine competitive sports with improv comedy.