The Free Association | Improv Class | Improvisation Classes | Improv Comedy | London
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FAQ

The most frequently asked questions about The Free Association's improv training programme.

FA Training Programme FAQ

If you have a question about our improv training, or school in general, there's a real chance that someone has asked it before you. Please take a look at the frequently asked questions below!

+ What is the difference between the FA and other training programmes in London?

The FA teaches more grounded play, a focus on the 'game of the scene' and the art of the improv 'straight-man' - ‘Yes, anding’ while still maintaining the reality of the scene.

We run 6 Levels in total, in a structured path. You work your way up through the levels, adding to your skill set so we consistently produce 'complete' performers in the FA's long-form style. When you get to the higher levels, we do place a pass / fail criteria on the classes to ensure that everyone progresses at the same rate. However, should you be asked to resit a class we offer a huge discount so you basically just cover the cost of being there. It's not about the money, but about ensuring you gather the skills you need before progressing.

As students progress they get the opportunity to perform in our weekly Teacher Jam and eventually audition to be part of a house Harold team. These teams play every week on a well attended night, and the players often begin the training process to become our coaches and teaching staff.

By joining The Free Association you are joining a burgeoning community of performers, comedians and like-minded people. They spend time in the venues and the bar, make friends, collaborate and create teams together - which we are often able to offer stage time to, too. We offer students free tickets to shows if they bring a paying friend.

+ How do I sign-up for improv training?

From this page, you can see our available courses. There are two ways to sign up - You can register online and pay for the full course using a credit card or debit card, or you can hold a place using a deposit.

+ When do you announce classes?

New courses go online all the time. Our main term start dates are January, March, June and September. We also run smaller, 4-week terms in August and November. Intensive classes run throughout the year. The best way to stay up to frequently check our training page to see what courses are available.

We also announce classes on our twitter account @faimprov, and through our mailing list so follow us there to know exactly when a class is posted.

+ The class I want is sold out. Is there a waiting list?

Yes. Please email us at hello@thefreeassociation.co.uk

+ The ‘Deposit’ and ‘Full Payment’ options are sold out, but the ‘Outstanding Fee’ option is still available. Does this mean there is space?

Unfortunately not. That option is only for people who have already purchased the deposit. Please don’t buy it!

+ How much do comedy training courses cost?

Tuition typically is £230-£300 for courses that are 8 sessions long.

+ Which Improv level should I start in?

New students at the FA should begin with ‘Intro to Improv’. If you have previously taken a course in one of the following schools, you may join us at ‘Scenework and Intro to Game’.

UCB
IO
Second City
Monkey Toast
Hoopla

Please email hello@thefreeassociation.co.uk for permission to join us at ‘Scenework and Intro to Game’

+ I did Improv at Drama School and have been acting for a number of years. Which level should I start in?

Many of our students are highly experienced actors and comedians and they always find it advantageous to start at the beginning with ‘Intro to Improv’. If you have completed another long-form improv course, you may be able to join us at ‘Scenework and Intro to Game’ - Please email hello@thefreeassociation.co.uk for permission.

+ I’m a returning student. Where should I pick up?

If it's been over two years since you completed a class at the FA, students should contact us on hello@thefreeassociation.co.uk with your previous training to see which level they will be readmitted to.

+ How often do courses meet?

8-week courses meet for 3 hours, once a week. Some courses meet once a week for a 6-hour session for 4 weeks, and we also have intensive courses that meet over the week from Mon-Thurs 10:30-5:30.

We allocate a free of charge rehearsal space for use at the end of the performance levels (Advanced Game, Harold and Advanced Harold) Your performance team may use the space to meet and rehearse outside of class.

+ Where are courses held?

Your class will either be held at

The Free Association, 113 Southgate Road, London, N1 3JS
Or
The FA’s Comedy Room, 51 Camden Park Road, London, NW1 9BH.

Directions can be found here

+ Will I get to perform?

Advanced Game, Harold and Advanced Harold are our performance levels. These classes end in a performance in one of our class show evenings following the course. This show takes place at The Free Association.

Performance Lab students get a 10 week run of their show at The FA’s Comedy Room.

The Sketch Class have a selected sketch read on a live recorded podcast by the FA sketch team.

Once you have started Advanced Game, you are eligible to perform at our weekly Teacher Jam.

+ Who teaches the courses?

Our courses are taught by individuals who have been through the FA training programme and have a wealth of experience performing in the FA’s unique style. Our trainers are trained and selected to teach the level that best suits their specialist skill set.

You can view our trainers here.

+ Why don’t you list the names of the teacher on a class?

Because all of the teachers at the FA work in the entertainment industry, their schedules can change at a moment’s notice. It’s for this reason that we do a blind registration. Since all of our teachers have gone through the same rigorous training and are experts at what they do, you are in safe hands with the person we allocate to your class.

+ What if I miss a class?

In order to encourage FA’s philosophy of commitment to a group and an ensemble, students are allowed to miss no more than two classes in each 8-week session. (You may make up a class, but make-ups will still count as an absence.) If a student misses more than 2 classes they are required to repeat the level.

In Harold and Advanced Harold, you will be required to attend the final class.

+ What if I don’t pay my outstanding fee in time?

If your tuition is not paid in full, we may offer your space to the waiting list. If you have extenuating circumstances, please contact us at hello@thefreeassociation.co.uk. Late payments will incur a £20 fee.

+ Do you allow people to watch or drop-in?

No. To maintain course integrity, we do not allow auditing. Only students who have registered and paid will be allowed to attend. Prospective improv students are encouraged to attend a show at the Free Association or join us for a 2.5hr Taster class.

+ How can I get a refund?

Email hello@thefreeassociation.co.uk with your full name and the class you would like to be removed from. (Please also send your order id) If you qualify for a refund you will be removed from the course and you should see the funds back on your card within 3-4 business days after confirmation of refund.

+ Can I register other people?

You can pay for another person’s class. Please email us after your purchase with your order number with the name and email address of the student.

+ I have zero experience. Will I be okay?

You’ll be absolutely fine. In fact, that’s the best way to do it! Regardless of the other participants' performance or comedy experience, they will share the same nerves on the first day. Don’t worry - your trainer and the rest of the class will have your back.

+ Do I automatically qualify for the next class?

The FA reserves the right to hold a student back or move them forward according to ability and need. You may be notified towards the end of the performance levels as to whether you will be required to re-sit the class. Feel free to inquire with your trainer before registering for the next level.

+ Do you offer teen classes?

Sorry, not at the moment. However, this is something we are looking at.

+ Do you have payment plans?

Not normally. You must pay the full tuition when you register for a course. Your spot in the course is not secure until payment is received. If you are a long-standing student, with extenuating circumstances please contact us at hello@thefreeassociation.co.uk and we’ll see where we can help.

+ Do you offer gift certificates?

Yes. We offer £15 / £20 / £30 / £50 and £100 Electronic Gift Certificates.

+ Do you have a Diversity programme?

The FA offers full and partial diversity scholarships throughout the year. Last year we gave £10000 of tuition on the programme. For more information, please check this page

+ Can I take sketch and Improv classes at the same time?

Sure. As long as the classes don’t overlap, and you think you can handle that much comedy!

+ What is a Harold?

The Harold is the original long form structure developed by Del Close. It’s a 3 beat structure created from a single audience suggestion. The rest is reasonably flexible! The best way to experience a Harold is to come to Harold Night.

+ Can The FA teach a workshop at my business?

Yes, we can. We work with some of the biggest companies in the world - Amazon, Bank of America, WeWork, Warner Bros. and more. Visit us at www.improvatwork.co.uk to find out more.

+ How do I get on a Harold or Sketch Team?

The Harold committee, alongside side the Head Teacher and Artistic Director select the new Harold teams based on an annual audition. To qualify for an audition you must have completed Harold or Advanced Harold, and have no tuition fees outstanding.

+ ...I still have a question.

You can email us at hello@thefreeassociation.co.uk. We are available Monday - Friday 10:00am-5:30pm. The inbox is monitored over the weekends, but replies cannot be guaranteed unless the matter is urgent.

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