Have you noticed all the cool stuff going on in Utica? The latest, classes being offered by the folks at the newly-revived Uptown Theater for Creative Arts.

After spending more than a decade studying and performing improv comedy in Los Angeles, the Uptown Theater for Creative Arts (UTCA) Co-Founder Devin Mahoney decided to bring his passion to his home town of Utica. As part of the ongoing restoration and programming efforts at the Uptown Theater, UTCA transformed the old diamond shop adjacent to the theater into a studio space and classroom to begin teaching a variety of classes, including improv, sketch writing, and storytelling.

Credit: Briana Mahoney/UTCA

Devin says no experience is required, "Improv is a great way to get out of your head, learn to live in the moment, develop communication and leadership skills, build confidence, and have fun with likeminded people. Improv requires no experience, no acting ability, no star quality. It just requires participants to be ready and say yes."

I'll admit, I've been taking Improv classes with Devin - and while I was terrified to walk into that first class, it's the most fun I've had in a long while - and a great opportunity to meet new (really cool) people, and to stretch personally and creatively. Everyone in the class is there for a different reason, ranging from better "peopling" skills, to working toward their professional acting goals.

Classes being offered include:

Teen Improv (ages 14-18), ideal for teens who like to write, perform and create, no matter how introverted or outgoing.

Improv for Kids (ages 9-13) This 5 week course builds on the basics we've played with in our Saturday classes, adding lots more scenework. (But you can certainly sign up even you're new to improv.)

Storytelling 101 focuses on the art of 1st person storytelling designed for public performance. At the completion of the course, students will have a stage-ready story which will be performed in the final class show.

Level One Improv class. Now's your chance to learn the fundamentals of improv.

Register on their website utcany.org/classes. If you have any questions, email classes@utcany.org with any questions.