Back to Blog
Hi. I'm James. (This is also what I say every time my wife says, "I'm hungry...").
My improv journey started back at my undergraduate university, Western New England College, located in Springfield Massachusetts. Attending a liberal arts college meant everyone needed to have three credits of an art. The only two courses that fit in my schedule were paper making and improv theatre. It was an easy choice.
My first improv class was awesome. It taught the basics of improvisation and some short-form games. After finishing Improv Level 1, I continued onto Level 2: Basics of Long-Form.
The 6 of us in this course ended up forming the first improv troupe I've been a part of: The Terodactl Sqwad: Spelt Phonetically. The T-Skwad performed on campus and in a few comedy festivals. My love for scene work was born.
After WNEC I left for graduate school in Orange County, CA. The first year of graduate school was a blur. My free time was spent doing economics problem sets and taking the occasional weekend vacation to Las Vegas. Improv was not in the cards.
As the second year rolled around I finally joined a troupe: ImprovCity. ImprovCity is a short-form group that was in it's infant stage when I joined. It taught me a lot about working with a wide range of skills levels and starting from the ground up. While in Orange County I also joined a scene-based team, The Friday Society, a team under the Spectacles Improv Engine. The Friday Society was special. Six strong improvisers doing all scene-based improv games at midnight in a small theatre. I felt like this was true improvisation.
In southern California, I spent some time getting great training. I took classes at iO West and went to ImprovUtopia. I'm very grateful for the time I spent in California.
After graduate school I ended up teaching in upstate NY at SUNY Plattsburgh where I helped found a student-ran improv group called SPIT. We dabbled in both short and long-form improvisation. This is where I gained experience directing a troupe. I miss those kids...
That brings us here. Which you've heard about already. I could write more about Happy Valley Improv or you can read our getting started blog or the one I wrote on my personal site.
When I'm not doing improv I'm usually teaching economics or playing with my dog, Penny. She has her own Instagram. My wife is amazing and supports everything I do.
I hope to see you at our shows! And, if you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@James_Tierney).