Improvisation develops creativity, confidence, collaboration skills, and spontaneity.  In addition to being a mode of live comedy, it can be used as a tool to create characters, develop original dramatic, and/or comedic material and as part of a rehearsal process to explore written text.  In this six-part beginner/intermediate level workshop, participants rediscover their natural ability to ‘play’ while exploring collaborative games, exercises, and techniques used by North America’s Second City Theatre (the forerunner and principal casting pool of hit TV shows ‘Saturday Night Live’ and ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’).

      The elements of narrative such as plot, theme, conflict and resolution are explored so that storytelling skills are developed.  This is perfect for both the trained performer who wants to stretch and expand their abilities as well as for the curious who want to explore new creative experiences.  
         The workshop concludes with a live performance at the weekly Battle of the Axe Comedy event at the Ha’Penny Bridge Tavern, Temple Bar, Dublin. Performing is entirely optional and up to participants.
WHEN: 6 Wednesday classes – starts Wed., March 21st running to and including Wed., April 25th
WHERE:  4 Manor Street, Dublin 7  (Stoneybatter area)
CLASS TIMES: 7:15PM to 10:15PM   
COST: €190.00 total (€175.00 for full time students and for groups of 3 or more)  
A €90.00 non-refundable/non- transferable deposit is required to enroll 
John Dawson studied under improv guru Del Close while training in improv at N. America’s famous Second City Theatre, the forerunner and principal casting pool for Saturday Night Live. John went on to become a founding member of a Toronto-based Harold troupe. He has been teaching master-classes and workshops in improv, characterization, scene study, audition technique and on-camera acting for over 21 years in three countries. He has taught hundreds of actors and comics including members of Dublin’s Craic Pack, Cork’s Snatch Comedy troupe, Limerick’s Choke Comedy and many more in his own Dublin workshop and at Dublin’s Gaiety School of Acting, The Actors Centre in London, The Galway Film Centre, and Toronto’s Equity Showcase Theatre. He taught film acting for over 6 years at Trinity College’s Samuel Beckett Centre. John’s own Dublin-based improv troupe MONDO BIZARRO performed regularly last year including 5 sold-out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013. 


“I have studied improv in North America and Europe, and John is by far the most energetic and enthusiastic teacher with whom I have ever had the pleasure of studying. His exercises pinpoint weaknesses that we improvers may have never known how to tackle. He knows exactly how to loosen up the performers. It’s no wonder his name became famous in the “underground” improv scene in Dublin, he’s the best.” NATALIE PLAZA, performer  w/ Annoyance Theatre Co and formerly with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, NYC

“We at Trinity saw the benefit of John’s work as did all who he taught. He’s a great teacher who engages with students in a fantastic and practical way.”  ANDY CROOK, former course co-ordinator – Professional Actor Training Programme, Trinity College, Dublin

“Performers who’ve trained with John have a definite edge because they can adapt to handle the toughest audiences.”   TONY FERNS, producer, ‘Battle of the Axe’ Comedy Club, Dublin

For more information and to enroll, email to:
For information about other workshops and classes:




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Perform on the Battle of the Axe stage for the first time!

Stand Up Comedy for Beginners/ New Material.

Ciaran McMahon presents a fun, spontaneous workshop full of writing exercises and ideas to trigger your own style of storytelling, jokes, and ideas to create your own brand new comedy set.

Dates and Times
Saturday and Sunday 25th and 26th March
Doyles Pub Fleet Street, D2.
Starts 2pm-5pm Saturday
then 2.30-6pm Sunday
Cost for weekend 100€
Buddy system:
Bring a friend and its 75€ each.
Not sure yet?
Ok – I have a two hour intro workshop in AnseoCamden Street next Wednesday 22nd6:45-8:45pm and you get free in to the show afterwards. that’s only 10€ if you book an advance…

Interested? Contact Ciaran 0876609555

We can have a secret gig on Sunday night then we get very brave and have our first gig is here in the Battle of the Axe on  Tuesday 28th March where it is a real club and there are other established acts on!

What you get:
Writing: First this is a writing workshop, generating ideas and themes that you can develop into material and set ideas.

Presentation: Following the writing of material then we progress to ideas and formats for presentation taking in structure and themes that allow you to develop and slot your ideas into a cohesive presentation, that ‘flows’ and makes sense.

Performance: Once the ideas have been developed and the material structured for presentation. We then work on delivery and performance of the material in terms of delivery, stage craft, energy and impact.

  • 20 pages of notes to trigger writing material in advance of the workshop. ( I can meet you in advance to give you the notes)
  • Workshop Exercises that develop stage awareness and connection to audience.
  • Arrangement of material uniting your personality with your performance.
  • Arragement of ideas and development of material into a cohesive set that can be performed in competitions and open slots.
  • ‘Live gig’ Performance at the end of the workshop: Once you have arranged your set you get to do some ‘run-throughs’ and then comes the performance at the end which, is optional – but only for the chickens!
  • Performance is a slot arranged for an established open-mic night ( Battle of the Axe – Hapenny Bridge Inn) where there is an audience voted best act. Many people have won this gateway award having completed the workshop.

Testimonials/ Interviews
Lar Whitty Beginner to 70 gigs in 6months :
Aaron Rodgers President UCD Comedy Society:
Sarah Kelly: Teacher from Co Clare!

Links to Ciaran’s recent gigs:
Gig in Germany:
Gigging in USA:

Ciaran McMahon is an experienced regular performer and comedy teacher with ten years of teaching experience and with 20 years of weekly improv, stand up and MCing behind him. He has been a long standing part of the comedy scene in Dublin, orrganising the Bulmers Nothin But Funny comedy competition. This proved to be the standard for comedy in Ireland, launching regular names on the comedy scene such as past winners: 2009

Wisecrackers 400 seater in Allentown PA





Stand Up Comedy Writing and Performance Workshop!
‘ this workshop got me up on stage
with a new set that really works!’

– Ian Murphy.

A week after the workshop finished Ian then won The Lucky Duck Award! in the Battle of Axe an audience voted best act competition. ( How about them onions!)
This is ideal for beginners OR comedians who want to write new material, a snappy, energetic, fun based writing workshop using exercises to trigger ideas including 20 pages of notes in advance of workshop.

WHEN: Saturday 3rd December: 1-5pm
Developing themes and ideas for writing material.
Explaining structure, targets and ideas for sets and presentation.
Writing suggestions and exercises for short set.
Quick presentation exercises coupled with ideas for introduction.

Sunday 4th of December: 2-6pm
Workshopping written material and
Teasing ideas into set construction and gag stucture.

Live Gig:
While the energy is still there the live gig starts in in Doyles Pub at 8pm-11 (optional for the chickens!)

COST: 100€
for the unfunny or 80€ early bird booking. Get in there, its half full already!


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FOR NEXT COURSE CONTACT Ciaran McMahon 0876609555