What is Slightly Better?

We are a new group in Guelph that creates an evolving theatre piece that is just like the rest of the world… only slightly better. Every time we meet, our lives become slightly better as a result.

Do I have to be an actor to join?

No. We call it a “Theatre Group” because it is part support group, part theatre workshop. Yes, we will learn theatre techniques, and they will make us better actors — but remember that we are all actors on the stage of life. Everything we learn and do is in service of becoming better people.

What do you mean by “better”?

This is a complicated and highly individualized question. We will not preach giving away your possessions, or quitting your job and meditating on a mountaintop, in order to become a “better person”. The answer is entirely up to you. Would your life be better if you stood up for yourself more? Or if you were a more considerate partner, friend, son or daughter? If you stood taller? Or does having a better life mean being less stressed, engaging in more things you enjoy, or finding more meaning? Perhaps over time, you will discover that your idea of becoming “slightly better” shifts, just as you do.

What happens in this Group?

The Slightly Better Theatre Group meets weekly to improve our theatre skills, our outlook, and our collective imagination. We begin by checking in, where we have the opportunity to see scenes from our lives acted out by others. What follows is a lesson on a theme from the theatre world, with ample opportunity to play and practice. As we are developing our skills, we also spend time each gathering to develop the collective world of our theatre piece, which is a reflection on the rest of the world, only… slightly better.

What’s the commitment?

The Slightly Better Theatre Group meets weekly, and we ask new members to join for a minimum two-month commitment. After that, you may continue for as long as the group suits you. There is never any obligation to perform for an audience, though if we decide to, there is ample opportunity.

We meet on Monday nights for two hours. The investment is only $150 per month. There can be a limited number of spots reserved for people for whom money is a barrier, who can pay a lesser amount and offset the difference through service.

Who leads The Slightly Better Theatre Group?

Laurentina's Funhouse
Image from Laurentina’s Funhouse

Lauren Stein is an actor, writer, and therapist who has been teaching improvisational theatre for over ten years, and performing for almost thirty. She has taught and performed in ten countries on four continents. She has a Bachelor’s in Drama from the University of Guelph, ATCL in Speech and Drama from Trinity Guildhall, and a Master’s in Expressive Arts Therapy from the European Graduate School.

She has additional training in improvisational theatre from The Impatient Company of Toronto (now defunct), Artistic New Directions in New York, and has learned from some of the best, including Gary Austin (founder of The Groundlings in LA), Michael Gellman (who developed The Second City’s curriculum), and David Razowsky (who teaches improv as if it were Buddhism). She has trained in clowning with Patch Adams, Susan Parenti (who co-founded The School for Designing a Society), and Paola Coletto (one of only 40 Lecoq-trained and approved instructors).

She has written a book on the therapeutic benefits of improvisational theatre, created three one-woman shows, and performed in Fringe Festivals in Toronto, Adelaide, Australia, and Dunedin, New Zealand. For the last few years she has worked as a therapist and coach at The ADHD & Asperger’s Centre of Guelph.