Our History

Merlin Works is the brainchild of Shana Merlin: improviser, teacher, and performer. Since 1996, she’s been leading classes that stretch people’s imaginations, push them out of their comfort zones, and make them laugh out loud for hours at a time.

Over time, Shana started hearing more and more stories reporting how the workshop had improved other “unrelated” parts of their lives:

One student energized a board meeting with an improv game from class. Another student started playing an improv game with her husband to improve their communication. A third said the workshop helped him ace a job interview, and a fourth said it helped him close a sale.

Then, students started asking her to teach at their businesses, organizations, and schools, to spread her message of play, group creativity, and spontaneity. So in 2003, Merlin Works was born. The company began offering improv to everyone who wanted it:

  • Performance training to improvisers
  • Applied improv training to businesses and organizations; and
  • Improv comedy performances for audiences everywhere.

In 2008, we opened the Merlin Works Institute for Improvisation–an actual improv school offering classes in shortform gameplay, narrative longform, and musical improv at the Salvage Vanguard Theater in Austin, Texas.

Hundreds of students and classes later, that brings us to today, where we are moving the Merlin Works classes to ZACH Theatre on the shores of Lady Bird Lake. If you want to be part of the best improv school in Austin, come join us. We promise that you’ll have fun and meet new people. Heck, you might even get good at comedy before you know it…

 

Next: sign up for a class »

What can you learn from improv?

What to expect in our improv classes

  • Fun: Laughter, playfulness, and joy are key aspects to our successful improv training.
  • Professionalism: Our workshops are also professional, focused, and productive. Our curriculum is #1 in Austin.
  • Interactivity: Attendees will be active and engaged. You should be up on your feet improvising at least 50% of the time.