Michael Harris Improv/Acting Teacher

Michael Harris Improv/Acting Teacher

5.0 (14)
1 hire on Lessons.com
16 years in business

About this pro

My name is Michael Harris, and it has been my privilege to teach improv & acting to students ranging from elementary school to senior citizens for over a decade. I have been a performing member & teacher at the Baltimore Improv Group (BIG) since 2006 where I also served as Executive/Artistic Director for seven years. I have taught improv to corporate clients including Johns Hopkins Hospital/University, T. Rowe Price & the Annie E. Casey Foundation amongst others. In addition I have taught improv workshops in schools across Maryland as a TAI 1&2 certified instructor with Young Audiences of Maryland (YAMD). I have been a faculty member at my alma mater, the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in D.C., since 2011.

In addition to teaching, I continue to work as a performer. I've been an invited performer at Comedy/Improv festivals from DC to Chicago and NYC to Austin. I have performed in over 40 professional theater productions in Florida, the Twin Cities, and the Baltimore/DC region; I've been a member of Actors' Equity since 2011; and I've appeared in numerous local, regional, and national commercials. 

My greatest joy as a teacher is seeing students gain confidence as their hard work is rewarded. Each student's journey is unique. It is not the teacher's role to push the student to some arbitrary single standard. Rather it is my job to see that each student develops to the fullest extent that their willingness to work and their goals for taking the class will allow. Improv & Acting are both based in teachable skills. Neither is dependant on talent, or any other immeasurable term. Whether a student's goal is to become a great performer, improve their public speaking, or just develop a new skill; my measure of success is simple. Are you having fun? Are you getting better? As long as the answer to those two questions is yes, then our class time has not been a waste.

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Baltimore, MD 21212
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14 Reviews


  • Paul Reisman

    Michael is an expert teacher. He's great at helping students grow, no matter what level they're at -- and they always have a good time! He's professional - knowledgeable - and lots of fun to work with.

  • Melanie Salkin

    Michael is professional, accommodating, experienced and kind. He was a pleasure to work with.

  • Susan Porter

    Michael is able to zero in on what I need to work on each session and come up with creative ways to help me with specific character development.

  • Ray Ficca - President, The National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts

    Michael Harris is one of the best Improv teachers I have worked with. His skills are without peer. He is also great with every level of student. Alway nurturing and always challenging.

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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

Ideally, I would want to talk to the student about their goals for instruction as that will shape what skills we will focus on. I'd also like to know their history and how my approach to teaching fits the student. 

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I have a Two Year Degree from the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in DC. The school exists entirely to train professional actors. I also took numerous theater classes at Bryn Mawr College

I have taken improv classes and workshops with numerous instructors from Second City in Chicago, The Magnet Theater (NYC), the Upright Citizens' Brigade (NYC & LA) as well as clowning workshops with Dody DiSanto (DC). 

I went through several months of training with Young Audiences of Maryland for both their TAI 1 & TAI 2 programs. Programs designed to work on tying Arts Education to other Educational disciplines. I also trained and taught as part of their Summer Learning Academy in 2016. 

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

Typically based on an hourly rate and the amount of preparation and travel required.

How did you get started teaching?

I began by directing sketches and coaching improv troupes. Then as BIG started to grow and we began offering more classes, I was thrown into the deep end. 

What types of students have you worked with?

Almost literally all kinds. I have taught school based improv classes for students from K-12, multiple workshops for college troupes, and regular classes that run from students in their early 20's to their 70's.

At the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts the typical student ranges from their late teens to early 60's. 

I have taught students in public and private schools, students who are from some of the poorest neighborhoods in Baltimore and students in corporate settings who make twenty times the money I'll ever make. 

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

I taught improv to four classes of 4th and 5th graders in November. As always, it is wonderful to see any of them play along even a little bit. But it is particularly great to see the quiet students, the ones who don't have the widest circles of friends, to gather up the confidence to play and then see their joy as they are rewarded with laughter.

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

First think about what your goals are for seeking training in that field. In the case of acting and improv, look for people who have a good balance of both teaching and performing. Ask for references and look at student reviews.

Lessons offered

Acting Classes Child Acting Lessons Film And Tv Acting Classes Improv Acting Classes Shakespearean Acting Classes Speaking Voice Training Stage Performance Training Theater Acting Classes