Improvise This!

Cooper Street, the Improv Group at Southwestern.  Courtesy of Lauren Lansford

Cooper Street, the Improv Group at Southwestern. Courtesy of Lauren Lansford

Cooper Street – a thoroughfare not known to any city in our country, but familiar nonetheless to us Southwestern students. As the university’s resident improv troupe, the group’s members have been instigating hilarity on campus for as long as many of us have been here.


The idea for an improv comedy group initially came from junior Zac Carr. “I asked a bunch of guys in the theatre department if they would be interested in starting an improv group”, remarked Carr. Together with seniors Matt Harper, Evan Faram, Alex Caple,  Edward Herman and Connor Hanrahan, the troupe debuted at the tail end of a Cove open mic night in fall 2007. As member Harper recalled, there were “not too many people watching. We basically ran in, cleared everything out of the way and started performing”. Since then, the group’s choice of venues has grown to include the Korouva Milk Bar and the Salvage Vanguard Theater in Austin. Their popularity, too, has blossomed, with each show packing a near-full house and booming laughter from the audience. The group’s success came to a head this year when they were selected to compete in the College Improv Tournament of the Chicago Improv Festival. They would eventually go on to compete against improv troupes from UT and NYU. Though they would eventually end up falling barely short of the requisite votes required in order to advance to the national levels, Cooper Street nonetheless rallied an unprecedented level of support given how small the Southwestern community is. Regardless, the group continues to perform and entertain the campus.


As for the group’s future, it is a question that is on each of their minds. Herman said that the group’s ultimate aim is “continuing improv education.” Last semester saw the introduction of new members Riley Webb and Chris Weihert. Ultimately, Cooper Street hopes to inspire a “new generation of improvisers.” No matter what the group’s ultimate fate is, they may rest assured knowing that they have made the campus a little funnier

Cooper Street from SU Megaphone on Vimeo.

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