Presenter Profile

Brian McManus

Guest Artist, Improv YA(Y)

rian received a BFA in Theater Performance from the University of Colorado. He has studied and performed the art of improvisation for more than 20 years, including five years spent in New York with the Upright Citizens Brigade, The People’s Improv Theater, the renowned Armando Diaz and more. He performed locally with Impulse Theater for five years, and as a cast member for several seasons of the Denver Center’s Off-Center show Cult Following. He is currently a founding cast member of the new Comedy Sportz Denver at the Avenue Theater. Brian teaches improv classes for teens and adults at the Denver Center Academy, presents workshops annually at the Colorado High School Thespian Conference and Jeffco Improv Festival and acts as a guest teacher at many schools in the region including Lakewood High School, Smoky Hill High School, Mountain Ridge Middle School, Castle Pines/American Academy, Discovery Canyon, and more. Brian is the recipient of the Colorado Thespian’s 2017 Distinguished Service to Educational Theater Award.

Brian's Workshops


    Improv – Making Clear, Badass Choices

    , Intermediate, Advanced / Acting, , , , , / Regular

    Ever been in a scene that starts with “What’s that?” or “What are you doing?” It makes for a bumpy beginning. Instead, making a beefy choice at the top of an improvised scene helps you and your scene partner launch into play. In this workshop, we will experiment with making bold choices, see how they affect the rest of the scene, and learn what to do when your big choice clashes with choices made by your scene partner. Through a mixture of short and long form games, students will explore the power in making badass choices.

    Improv – Navigating Relationships On Stage – Seek, Build and Heighten

    , Intermediate, Advanced / Acting, , , , , / Regular

    In improv, defining the relationship with your scene partner will always boost a scene. But establishing that you are siblings, or co-workers, or a couple out on a date simply isn’t enough. In this workshop we will work to identify systems of behavior/patterns between characters, then build and heighten unique aspects of each relationship from there.

    Improv Boot Camp

    Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced / Acting, , , , , /

    Come learn the basics of improv and/or strengthen your foundation. Through a number of short form games and long form structures we will work out the three major tenets of improv - Yes, and..., avoid questions, and don't try to be funny. Be ready to get up and play.

    Improv Firestarter

    Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced / Acting, , , , , /

    The beginning of any improvised scene is the most crucial part. A strong choice can launch the scene whereas "kinda" offers can be confusing and slow things down too much. Through different exercises and short form improv games. we will try a number of different ways to ignite scenes like with solid characters, dynamic relationships, engaging in the environment and more. Be ready to get up and play.

    Keeping it Real with Improv

    , Intermediate, Advanced / Acting, , , , , /

    Sure, part of improv is making silly, zany choices and working with your scene partner to help justify and make sense of The Weird. But portraying real characters that are grounded in reality can often take your scenes to greater heights and result in bigger laughs. Bring your long form skills and come see how real-life characters can take your improv to the next level.

    Long Form Improv –Harold

    , Intermediate, Advanced / Acting, , , , , /

    Heard of Harold and want to meet it? Or maybe your team has been working on Harold and you’re ready to take it to the next level. This workshop will focus on following patterns, building and heightening, and supporting your fellow players while delving into the components and mechanics of Harold.

    Middle School Improv Roundup

    Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced / Acting, , , , , /

    This workshop will focus on the three main rules in improve through various improve exercises, short form games and long form structures. We will also explore the idea of using a strong who/what/where to launch any improvised scene into greatness.

    Middle School Improv Sampler

    Beginning, Intermediate, / Acting, , , , , / Regular

    The main point of this workshop is to have fun improvising while exploring short form and long form improv, testing out ‘Yes, And…’, and learning how to make big choices at the beginning of every scene. Let’s play!

    Short Form Improv Skill Check

    , Intermediate, Advanced / Acting, , , , , /

    Short form games like those seen on TV’s Whose Line is it Anyway? have built-in structures and gimmicks that help elevate the quality of the improv. But there are many tools improvisers can employ to take the scene to the next level. We will play as many short form improv games as possible while developing skills that will boost any improvised scene. Come ready to play.