The Coast News Group
Brooks Theatre
The historic Sunshine Brooks Theatre in downtown Oceanside. File photo

Brooks Theater is new home for improv comedy classes

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside Theatre Company has launched Improv at the Brooks, a multi-faceted program of improv comedy classes, workshops and performances.

Improv at the Brooks will offer a variety of opportunities for anyone interested in learning improv comedy, regardless of their experience level. The program currently features drop-in classes on the first and third Tuesdays of every month, where participants can learn the basics of improv through very fun games and exercises.

Starting on July 23, Improv at the Brooks is offering a 7-week Introduction to Improv class where students can dive deeper into the principles and techniques of improv. A Level 2 class will be offered in September.

In addition, Improv at the Brooks will be featuring occasional workshops from local and visiting improv teachers with a wealth of knowledge.

“These workshops are always the highlight of my week. I always make new friends, laugh a ton, and leave in a better mood,” said Lane Allison, a class regular. “Chris provides a super encouraging, supportive environment that welcomes folks of all experience levels to come and play.”

Chris Shurland, an Oceanside Theatre Company board member and the primary instructor for Improv at the Brooks believes improv is for everybody.

“You don’t need any experience to enjoy it – just come with an open mind, a willingness to try new things, and especially a desire to have fun,” he said.

Shurland is confident that once people try improv classes, they will come back for more.

“When I wandered into a drop-in class at Second City 15-plus years ago, I was hooked,” Shurland said. “I never thought I would end up teaching and performing improv nationally and internationally. I particularly love the sense of community at so many improv theaters.”

He hopes to develop that same sense of community at Improv at the Brooks.

Alex Goodman, the managing director of Oceanside Theatre Company said that he hopes Improv at the Brooks will become a hub for improv comedy in North County creating a space where people can learn and grow.

“Improv is not only about comedy, it is also beneficial for personal development,” he said. “Improv can help improve creativity, confidence, collaboration, problem solving, and so much more.”

Improv at the Brooks is also producing improv shows in the Brooks Theater’s studio space. The next improv show on July 22 will feature the Penguin Posse, a team of improvisers made up of performers from American Improv Theatre and Irreverent Improv, who will be performing a very fast-paced, interactive brand of improv comedy made up completely on the spot by the veteran performers.

For more information about Improv at the Brooks, to sign up for classes or buy tickets for shows, visit

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