Virtual Improv Workshops with Velvet Wells

Velvet facilitates improvisational workshops through organizations, improv theatres and festivals that have a clear mandate to reduce financial barriers for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) participants. Their pricing models create barrier-free BIPOC participation by embracing the gift economy — through scholarships/bursaries, pay-it-forward, pay what you will, or donations. These groups still pay a fair wage to facilitators.

Sign up for occasional email updates to learn about my upcoming workshops in advance


Upcoming Workshops

Do You Take Song Requests? (#musicalimprov)

Level: Intermediate | Duration: 2 hours

Velvet and his guests perform the “All Request Radio” format with Black Improv Alliance and Highwire Improv on the third Friday of the month

In this workshop you’ll learn the format, how to put on a character you’ll enjoy playing for an hour, and of course, tricks for singing a variety of songs and creating instant histories for them

“Boost your confidence and your Nelsen Ratings”

June 7 11AM EDT As part of the Everybody Get In Here improv festival

12 spots available: $25 via Ko-Fi
Free access for Black improvisers

Singin Saturdays at Highwire Improv (#musicalimprov)

Level: Beginner | Duration: 2 hours | FREE Jam afterward

Together we’ll practice fundamental techniques to improvise songs in groups, trios, duos and maybe even some solo moments. The only experience you need is a joy for singing. Stick around after the workshop for a free musical improv jam!

Musical accompaniment from Tom Tollenaere

June 12 The second Saturday each month. Sign up through Highwire Improv. Unlimited scholarships are available for BIPOC improvisers

Start Singing Before You're Ready - Variations on a Theme - musical improv workshop series with Velvet Duke

Start Singing Before You’re Ready (#musicalimprov)

Level: Anxious improvisers or complete beginners | Duration: 2 hours

In this introductory workshop, Velvet will patiently guide you past anxiety and uncertainty to voice your Shower Swagger. Sharing mirroring, timing and vocalizing tactics, Velvet will help stay present in future improvised musical moments. Part Velvet’s Variations on a Theme series

July 17 Sign up through Montreal Impro. (Early bird deal available) Unlimited scholarships are available for BIPOC improvisers

Singing in Zoomison - Variations on a Theme - musical improv workshop series with Velvet Duke

Singing in Zoomison (#musicalimprov)

Level: Intermediate | Duration: 2 hours

Musical improv doesn’t have to be a solo adventure. Like a good karaoke night, Velvet will lead you through exercises and scenes to help you make and support everyone’s musical offers. We will share songs in groups of twos, threes, and maybe more! Part Velvet’s Variations on a Theme series

July 17 Sign up through Montreal Impro. (Early bird deal available) Unlimited scholarships are available for BIPOC improvisers


Ongoing: Variations on a Theme (#musicalimprov)

Musical improv workshop series with Velvet Duke

Increase your confidence with musical improv through focused learning with Velvet. Each Variations on a Theme session will build your Shower Swagger so you can shine in the (Zoom) spotlight!


Past Available Workshops

Question Everything (#BIPOCimprov)

Level: Intermediate | Duration: 2.5 hours | BIPOC individuals only

Some people still whisper that BIPOC performers “always make things political”. They’ve discounted the microaggressions we’ve faced, those moments where our offers were ignored, or worse, where the narrative yucks our yum. In this workshop, we’ll reforge our boundaries by examining and testing the intentions of three fundamental improv tents: Saying Yes, Statements Only, and Sharing Focus. We’ll explore whether these tenets help BIPOC performers find and play with “good trouble” (John Lewis), or if they reinforce the problems that are always political.

The Nursery Theatre (2021)

Find your voice through collaborative storytelling
Black Core
an introduction to improvisation
"It was a very healing experience"

Black Core Improv (#improv)

Level: Beginner | Duration: 2 hours | Black individuals

Improvisation is a playful way for strangers to get to know each other, to share laughs and perspectives, or to have a break away.

In this two hour workshop, we will introduce you to improvisation through collaborative storytelling games and exercises that will help you find your voice

Student Testimonial: “It was a very healing experience”

Guelph Black Heritage Society (2021)

A collage of six Mindful Menace workshop participants at the top posing with a sweet looking face, and repeated at the bottom posing in with a menacing face. Separating the two poses is a banner for the Improv College, the title mindful menace and Velvet Wells' face

Mindful Menace (#improv)

Level: Intermediate | Duration: 8 hours over 4 classes

Everyone talks about conquering your demons. What would it be like to play one? We’ll explore the world from the perspective of grandiose cartoon villains, all the way down to our neighbourly everyday distractions, while remaining mindful of our scene partners and the real world implications. Student Testimonial

Improv College (2021)

Surviving Deep Cuts (#improv)

Level: Advanced | Duration: 2 hours

We’ll explore techniques to keep engaged when improvising with lovers of fandom — to double down on their reality, rather than resorting to being the fish out of water for every set — to survive and thrive each deep cut.

Request this workshop

Edinburgh International Improv Festival (2021)

26 Ways to Play the Alphabet Game (#improv)

Co-facilitated with Stephen Davidson

Level: intermediate | Duration: 2.5 hours

Do you enjoy word games? You’re going to love deconstructing the Alphabet Game. We’ll look at how and why we play the game, the different skills we can learn, and find some fun new challenges in an old favourite. Are there 26 ways to play the game? Let’s find out together!

Impromiscuous (2021)

Just Duet (#musicalimprov)

Co-facilitated with Stephanie Rae

Level: intermediate | Duration: 2 hours

Your musical improv faves are at it again – together! In Just Duet, Velvet & Stephanie will teach you the ins and outs of singing improvised duets – either for a standalone show of improvised songs or as part of a more traditional narrative. This workshop uses backing tracks!

Whether you’re a seasoned musical improviser, or a newbie to the form, you will benefit from the practice of singing with people at different skill levels.
Don’t think about whether or not you should sign up for this workshop… Just Duet!

Request this workshop

Everybody Get In Here Festival (2020)

You’re Never Alone On Stage (#improv)

Level: Advanced | Duration: 2 hours

Improv is instant theatre. Even if you’re on stage alone, you are never alone. Break the fourth wall and bring the audience into your show. This workshop explores ways to play with the audience on stage and from their seat.

Black and Funny Festival (HUGE Theater, 2019)

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