Improv to Sketch

BETA was started in 2013 with the desire to create and cultivate a community that produced and performed original comedic content. A small group of performers from every improv and comedy community gathered around this idea, and together, we made some funny stuff. Here’s a sketch from those early BETA days. NSFW.

At BETA, Improv is our most important tool. It’s the best, quickest, and most fun way to acquire the skill set to write, perform, and create entire universes together. It’s the foundation for everything else we want to do, and if you’re considering taking a class to become a better performer, writer, or producer, you should do it. It’s a great experience, and you’ll learn a lot. BETA has level one’s starting all the time. BETA LEVEL 1.

We’ve focused on improv over the years, but we never stopped aiming for the goal of creating content. We produced content for independent teams like Feelings (Amy Birkhead and Antoine Culbreath). NSFW

And we’ve encourage our house team, MAX to get scripted content together for production.

And most recently, we produced a very short sketch that we sent around to some film festivals. Here is “Sleep”.

At the writing of this blog, it’s early 2019, and BETA Theater is poised to make a deeper investment into the process of creating content from our improv. This class is open to anyone in Houston who has 1 level of improv under their belt (or an equivalent) . We are still committed to the goal that got this organization started in the first place.

This is one definitive area that sets BETA apart from every improv organization in Houston. We want to be making content, and with our unique partnership with the creative production company Dinolion, we have the ability to fully produce it.

Hopefully we’re able to fill this class consistently, but we are pretty excited about the first one coming up March 2nd. HERE is the REGISTRATION LINK.

We’re excited about reporting back in a year to see how much closer we are to actualizing our mission, and we invite you all to be part of that with us.

Our New Hip Home

Snuggled neatly between The Continental Club and Shoeshine Charley’s Big Top Lounge, BETA Theater moved into a beautiful room upstairs above Tacos A Go Go. It is the perfect space for us to continue growing our community. We’ve been homeless for over a year, and while figuring out where to land, we started our weekly show MAX & Friends at Big Top (It’s free, Tuesdays at 7:30PM). The fellas at Continental reached out to us when the space became vacant, and that’s all that we needed to sign the lease.

Currently, we are dreaming about what to do next. It’s a perfect location for us to dream big, and it’s a perfect time to step into our world. BETA is offering more classes than ever before, and we’re taking exciting steps to stay true to BETA’s mission to empower folks to use improv as a tool to make shows, shorts, and sketches. Also, this part of town is just cool.


The Rush Process Workshop

Animation and Design by Traci Thiebaud at  Dinolion

Animation and Design by Traci Thiebaud at Dinolion

Dave Merson Hess is a diverse and talented artist, Animator, Composer and Filmmaker. He is also the Director of Rush Process, a hand-crafted animation festival presented at Aurora Picture Show.  BETA has worked with him as an Animation Educator and a Producer for various shows.

A bit of trivia, Dave produced the animation we stole a still from for BETA's logo. Here it is:

Inspired by BETA's Make-A-Movie Night, he approached us to hold an animation workshop in conjunction with the festival where people show up, divide into teams, improvise a bunch of quick scenes, pick our favorite scenes, assign them to groups, create short animations and screen them that day. And that's what we did. We met at The Waughford on the Sunday after the festival, and made the following:

Keep an eye out for our next Rush Process Animation workshop. I heard a rumor that movement is involved with the next.

Thank you to all those who participated, and special thanks to Dinolion for supplying a lot of the necessary equipment to pull off such a rush process and screening of very fun work.

What BETA Theater is All About

People ask us all the time what BETA is all about. What are its goals? How is it different from other places in town?

We could talk about how we're an incubator of local talent. We could comment on how BETA is perceived as the punk rock of comedy in Houston.  We might humble brag about the professional accolades of our leaders or the success of our original shows. I don't know if these trains of thoughts answer the questions effectively or accurately even... especially that punk rock stuff.

The questions can all be answered in one swoop. BETA Theater is all about empowering people. At work, in their communities, and on the stage, our goal is simply to help you realize your goals. 

Every individual who walks through BETA's door, comes for different reasons and goals. Some want to be a better actor or audition better. Some people want to be more creative and confident at work. Some people just want something fun to do and meet new friends.

And we believe improv is a powerful tool to empower all these people and all their unique goals. We encourage you to check out our classes and see for yourself. Improv truly changes people's lives.