Workshop Schedule

Workshops are open to anyone. See below for the opportunity to take classes with international improv superstars.

Out of Your Head and Into Your Heart

with Joleen Ballendine
How often are you in a scene and wondering how it’s going, where it’s going, and how to get out of it? Chances are you are thinking too hard while ignoring your impulses and how you and your scene partner feel. In this class, you will focus on getting out of your head and allowing your heart to lead. You’ll learn how to hone in on your emotions, instead of your brain, and bring those feelings into your relationship onstage.
Tuesday October 9th, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
At Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive)

Instructor Bio:

Joleen has been improvising since 2007, she is a senior cast member of Rapid Fire Theatre and runs the Education department serving as Director of Education. She improvises weekly at Theatre Sports, Maestro and performs with various long-form troupes, including Rå Power with comedy partner Amy Shostak, Dot Dot Dot with the incredible Jessie McPhee, and is one of the stars of Off Book the Improvised Musical, Rapid Fire’s hit shows. Teaching and performing has taken Joleen to some amazing places. She has been all over Canada, The United States and Europe performing, coaching and teaching improvisation. Recent tours include Toronto, Vancouver, Arizona, New York, Berlin, Würzburg, Munich, Vienna, Ljubljana, Zurich, Stockholm, and Oslo. When Joleen is not improvising she can be found acting and writing. She just finished writing and starring in her second season of the award-winning television show, Caution: May Contain Nuts, and began writing for the show How to Learn Anything coming out this later this year. Above all things, Joleen is most proud of her work with Rapid Fires’ Out-Reach Academy where her and her team uses improv to empower high-risk youth. She truly believes in the philosophy of improv and the amazing effects it can have on people’s lives.

Cut-Throat Cut-To’s

with TwoSon
You’re in a scene and something happens and it makes you think “I want to see that late.” Learn the art of the cut-throat cut-to. Learn to listen to your impulse and hit your fun hard in the moment.
Wednesday October 10th, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
At Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive)

Instructor Bio:

TwoSon is a sketch and improv duo that has performed at The Vancouver Int’l Improv Festival, District Improv (D.C.), Detroit Improv Festival, Stumptown Improv Festival (Portland), Improvaganza (Edmonton), MProv (Montreal), BCIF (Toronto), Toronto Sketchfest, Montreal Sketchfest, Vancouver Sketchfest, Seattle Sketchfest, and the Toronto Fringe Festival. Jackie is a member of the Emerging Creators Unit at Bad Dog Theatre, where she directed a run of the original narrative format, “Kin.” Devon is a house team coach with The Assembly, a longform collective in Toronto. They have both worked as instructors at ImprovCamp on Gambier Island.

Cut-Throat Cut-To’s

with TwoSon
You’re in a scene and something happens and it makes you think “I want to see that late.” Learn the art of the cut-throat cut-to. Learn to listen to your impulse and hit your fun hard in the moment.
Wednesday October 10th, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
At Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive)

Instructor Bio:

TwoSon is a sketch and improv duo that has performed at The Vancouver Int’l Improv Festival, District Improv (D.C.), Detroit Improv Festival, Stumptown Improv Festival (Portland), Improvaganza (Edmonton), MProv (Montreal), BCIF (Toronto), Toronto Sketchfest, Montreal Sketchfest, Vancouver Sketchfest, Seattle Sketchfest, and the Toronto Fringe Festival. Jackie is a member of the Emerging Creators Unit at Bad Dog Theatre, where she directed a run of the original narrative format, “Kin.” Devon is a house team coach with The Assembly, a longform collective in Toronto. They have both worked as instructors at ImprovCamp on Gambier Island.

One Weirdo, Two Weirdos

with Vinny Francois
Ever find yourself wondering: What the heck is happening in this scene?? This workshop explores the idea that scenes can often be broken down into one of two categories: one weirdo or two weirdos. We will cover how to recognize which kind of scene you’re in and what you can do in either case. One Weirdo, Two Weirdos teaches you to listen carefully so you can identify and build your scenes from a strong position. This way you can develop an instinctive awareness of exactly what the heck is happening in your scene.
Saturday October 13th, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
At Instant Studios – Studio A (529 East Broadway)

Instructor Bio:

Vinny Francois has over 20 years of experience as a professional improviser and is an award-winning instructor. A founding director of the Montreal Improv Theatre, he has performed in more shows and venues across Canada than he cares to count. He also is Executive Producer of Mprov: The Montreal Improv Festival.
He has co-produced four improv shows for the Montreal Fringe Festival and directed the tragic improv show “It’s Not You, It’s Me” in Canada, the US and the UK. He has appeared in improv festivals in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Austin, Ottawa, Toronto, Victoria, Winnipeg & Vancouver (Best Workshop, 2016) and was the inaugural Ensemble Director for the Improvised Play Festival in 2017 (Austin, TX). Vinny has also performed and held workshops in Dublin, London, Paris, Antwerp, Geneva, Tallinn, Canberra, Melbourne, & Wellington.

Sustaining a Scene

with Craig Cackowski
Sure, your scenework’s pretty good. But can you do a 10-minute scene? A 20-minute scene? An hourlong scene? Craig Cackowski shares some of the techniques he’s learned about long. slow, patient scenework from his years working with such groups as Dasariski and Quartet.
Saturday October 13th, 11 AM – 3:30 (Four hours with a half hour break for lunch)
At Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive)

Instructor Bio:

Craig Cackowski is an actor, improvisor and teacher based in Los Angeles. He has been involved with the iO and iO West (RIP) theaters since 1992, and was the three-time winner of the Del Close Award as Teacher of the Year at iO West. He has played numerous improv festivals around the country with his long-running three-man troupe Dasariski (with Bob Dassie and Rich Talarico) and his duo Orange Tuxedo (with his wife Carla!). While in Chicago, he appeared in and co-wrote 5 revues for The Second City, and helped create such improv forms as JTS Brown and Close Quarters. As an actor, he has been seen in recurring roles on such shows as Community (as “Officer Cackowski”), Bajillion Dollar Properties (as “Todd the janitor”), Veep (as “Cliff”) and as part of the ensemble cast of Drunk History. Other film and TV credits include The Mayor, Son Of Zorn, Girlboss, Comedy Bang Bang, Newsreaders, Welcome To The Family, The Mindy Project, How I Met Your Mother, Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Year Of The Dog, 21 And Over, The Kings Of Summer, Murder Bury Win, and Wine Country. He may be heard frequently on such podcasts as The Thrilling Adventure Hour, Spontaneanation and his own podcast Craig’s List, in which he makes Carla watch his 100 favourite movies.

Sustaining a Scene

with Craig Cackowski
Sure, your scenework’s pretty good. But can you do a 10-minute scene? A 20-minute scene? An hourlong scene? Craig Cackowski shares some of the techniques he’s learned about long. slow, patient scenework from his years working with such groups as Dasariski and Quartet.
Saturday October 13th, 11 AM – 3:30 PM (Four hours with a half hour break for lunch)
At Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive)

Instructor Bio:

Craig Cackowski is an actor, improvisor and teacher based in Los Angeles. He has been involved with the iO and iO West (RIP) theaters since 1992, and was the three-time winner of the Del Close Award as Teacher of the Year at iO West. He has played numerous improv festivals around the country with his long-running three-man troupe Dasariski (with Bob Dassie and Rich Talarico) and his duo Orange Tuxedo (with his wife Carla!). While in Chicago, he appeared in and co-wrote 5 revues for The Second City, and helped create such improv forms as JTS Brown and Close Quarters. As an actor, he has been seen in recurring roles on such shows as Community (as “Officer Cackowski”), Bajillion Dollar Properties (as “Todd the janitor”), Veep (as “Cliff”) and as part of the ensemble cast of Drunk History. Other film and TV credits include The Mayor, Son Of Zorn, Girlboss, Comedy Bang Bang, Newsreaders, Welcome To The Family, The Mindy Project, How I Met Your Mother, Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Year Of The Dog, 21 And Over, The Kings Of Summer, Murder Bury Win, and Wine Country. He may be heard frequently on such podcasts as The Thrilling Adventure Hour, Spontaneanation and his own podcast Craig’s List, in which he makes Carla watch his 100 favourite movies.

MORE

with Kristen Schier

If we only explore and play in our comfort zone, we’ll never know what we’re truly capable of. In this workshop, improvisers will be asked to push their level of emotional and physical commitment past their usual zone of performance, making sure no performance is casual and letting no offer remain mundane. Through various exercises and scene work, improvisers will not only be asked to give MORE, but to think about where to put their energy to best yield powerful results.

Saturday October 13th, 1:30 – 3:30 PM
At Instant Studios – Studio A (529 East Broadway)

Instructor Bio:

Kristen Schier is a teacher at the University of the Arts as well as a performer, instructor and Improv Producer at the Philly Improv Theater. She is also the Artistic Director of The Philly N Crowd, which performs weekly short form improv shows at The Actor’s Center. Kristen has a B.F.A. in Theater Arts from the University of the Arts and has been working in Philly as a professional actor, improviser and teacher for several years. Kristen has also studied physical theater intensively with the Movement Theater Studio and clowning with Virginia Scott and Giovanni Fusetti. She has taken classes with both The Second City and the Annoyance Theater in Chicago and the Magnet Theater in NYC.

Inner Conflict: An Improv Workshop

with Martin Gustafsson from Sweden

Learn how to find more complexity in your characters. We will explore how to play with subtext, hidden intention and your character’s duality. In this 2 hour workshop we will dig into a whole range of silent and verbal scene-work that focuses on acting skills and communicating what is left unspoken. The exercises are inspired by dramaturgic writing and a Swedish improv style that tend to go towards a more heavy and dramatic kind of comedy. Some improv experience is preferred.

Sunday October 14th, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
At Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive)

Instructor Bio:

Martin Gustafsson is a professional improviser and teacher, for Gbgimpro in Sweden (Gothenburgs impro theater). He also was a director for the group Primalimpro that also is based in Gothenburg.

Inner Conflict: An Improv Workshop

with Martin Gustafsson from Sweden

Learn how to find more complexity in your characters. We will explore how to play with subtext, hidden intention and your character’s duality. In this 2 hour workshop we will dig into a whole range of silent and verbal scene-work that focuses on acting skills and communicating what is left unspoken. The exercises are inspired by dramaturgic writing and a Swedish improv style that tend to go towards a more heavy and dramatic kind of comedy. Some improv experience is preferred.

Sunday October 14th, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
At Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive)

Instructor Bio:

Martin Gustafsson is a professional improviser and teacher, for Gbgimpro in Sweden (Gothenburgs impro theater). He also was a director for the group Primalimpro that also is based in Gothenburg.

Poetic Play:

Level up your play with symbolism, metaphor, rhythm, and artistry
with Domeka Parker

This fun workshop introduces players of all levels to exercises that develop and refine projection, articulation and performance savvy. Participants play with the art and craft of poetic improvisation in both scene work and solo work. The workshop contains many innovative tools for quickly developing group mind, pattern recognition, creating musicality of speech and strengthening timing. Its fun and useful stuff, yo.

Sunday October 14th, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
At Instant Studios – Studio B (529 East Broadway)

Instructor Bio:

Domeka Parker is a captivating performer and exceptional teacher of improvisational theater. She teaches, directs and performs around the globe. With a specialized and radically different approach to improvisational theater Domeka breathes new life into the work and empowers the performers she trains and directs. Domeka has 31 years of performance experience, 13 years of teaching experience and a voracious appetite for continuing education and growth.

Every Scene A Painting

with Nick Gillette
Live improv performance is a visual medium, let’s start activating that creative space! If you’re bored by ‘talking heads’ scenes, this workshop will break you out of your rut. Students will learn and practice physical theatre tools to gain insight into how to animate their scenework. This workshop plays with comedic tension, comedic timing, and stage composition to make every scene look and feel like something grand is happening.
Sunday October 14th, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
At Instant Studios – Studio A (529 East Broadway)

Instructor Bio:

Nick Gillette is a physical theatre artist, a co-founder of Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, and for the past ten years an instructor and performer at the Philly Improv Theater. He is a graduate of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training, a 2014 New York Live Arts Fresh Tracks resident artist, a 2016 Colgate University Christian A. Johnson resident artist, and currently a resident artist at the Philadelphia School for Circus Arts. With Almanac he has collaborated to devise and perform Communitas (2014), Nightfall (2014), The Fleecing (2015), Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes (2015 & 2017), IAMMADEOFSTARS (2016), Exile2588 (2016) and Demon Magick Seminar (2017). He has performed with Cabaret Red Light, BRAT Productions, Lighting Rod Special, Pig Iron Theatre Co., Alex Bechtel, and Philly Improv Theater. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two children.

Every Scene A Painting

with Nick Gillette
Live improv performance is a visual medium, let’s start activating that creative space! If you’re bored by ‘talking heads’ scenes, this workshop will break you out of your rut. Students will learn and practice physical theatre tools to gain insight into how to animate their scenework. This workshop plays with comedic tension, comedic timing, and stage composition to make every scene look and feel like something grand is happening.
Sunday October 14th, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
At Instant Studios – Studio A (529 East Broadway)

Instructor Bio:

Nick Gillette is a physical theatre artist, a co-founder of Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, and for the past ten years an instructor and performer at the Philly Improv Theater. He is a graduate of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training, a 2014 New York Live Arts Fresh Tracks resident artist, a 2016 Colgate University Christian A. Johnson resident artist, and currently a resident artist at the Philadelphia School for Circus Arts. With Almanac he has collaborated to devise and perform Communitas (2014), Nightfall (2014), The Fleecing (2015), Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes (2015 & 2017), IAMMADEOFSTARS (2016), Exile2588 (2016) and Demon Magick Seminar (2017). He has performed with Cabaret Red Light, BRAT Productions, Lighting Rod Special, Pig Iron Theatre Co., Alex Bechtel, and Philly Improv Theater. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two children.

Felt Tips

with John Gebretatose
This improv workshop focuses on emotions as a focal tool to help free your brain from stressing out over what to do or say. We will use emotions as a compass to start scenes and also as a way to create momentum and energy to move your scenes along with direction. Emotions are a universal language, use them to add truthfulness, clarity, power and depth.
Sunday October 14th, 1:30 – 3:30pm
At Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive)

Instructor Bio:

John Gebretatose rose from the ranks of a HUGE Improv Theater student, to a HUGE Improv instructor and now also the Director of Diversity and Inclusion. He trained and worked at Brave New Workshop and has been performing stand-up, improv and sketch comedy in the Twin Cities for over 10 years. John is a founding member of one of the hottest new improv groups, Blackout. He is the co-creator of the Black and Funny Improv Festival. He is also one of the founding members of the sketch comedy show, Late Nights Minneapolis. He has traveled the world performing and directing improv along with teaching workshops.

Storytelling from Different Perspectives:

Support, Empowerment, and Getting Out of the Way
with Quinn Buckner

Each story is unique, however, when telling stories improvisers often default to the majority perspective and in doing so other voices can be overlooked or even silenced. Knowing how to communicate with our partners and the audience and ask for help in circumstances where we feel disconnected from their unique experiences can give both the improvisers and audience a deeper, enlightening, and more vibrant experience of the world created. An application of the tools utilized by improv duo Twins in It’s Ok to Laugh, this workshop teaches students to develop those tools and -more importantly- starts conversations to refocus the perspective of improvised stories in order to empower the muted experience of marginalized people.

Sunday October 14th, 1:30 – 3:30 PM
At Instant Studios – Studio B (529 East Broadway)

Instructor Bio:

Quinn Buckner began teaching in 2011 at Merlin Works Institute for Improvisation in Austin, Texas under the guidance of Shana Merlin and Ted Rutherford. From there he transitioned to the Hideout Theatre where he currently is a faculty member and teacher of all seven levels of classes. In addition to teaching classes he has also taught workshops locally and internationally on subjects such as spacework, naive games, groundedness, emotions, and diagnostics.
Quinn’s teaching is rooted in mindfulness and self-awareness. He believes learning how choices and defaults affect yourself and those around you is key to maximising fun and developing positive relationships with both the audience and scene partners.
As a performer Quinn has been improvising since 2009 and has attended over 25 festivals such as DCM (New York), Improvaganza (Edmonton), Improvaganza (Honolulu), and Out of Bounds (Austin). He performs regularly in mainstage shows at both the Hideout Theatre and Coldtowne Theater in Austin, Texas. He is also the producer of the Hideout Theatre’s Improvised Play Festival, which is focused exclusively on theatrical, narrative improv.

Storytelling from Different Perspectives:

Support, Empowerment, and Getting Out of the Way
with Quinn Buckner

Each story is unique, however, when telling stories improvisers often default to the majority perspective and in doing so other voices can be overlooked or even silenced. Knowing how to communicate with our partners and the audience and ask for help in circumstances where we feel disconnected from their unique experiences can give both the improvisers and audience a deeper, enlightening, and more vibrant experience of the world created. An application of the tools utilized by improv duo Twins in It’s Ok to Laugh, this workshop teaches students to develop those tools and -more importantly- starts conversations to refocus the perspective of improvised stories in order to empower the muted experience of marginalized people.

Sunday October 14th, 1:30 – 3:30 PM
At Instant Studios – Studio B (529 East Broadway)

Instructor Bio:

Quinn Buckner began teaching in 2011 at Merlin Works Institute for Improvisation in Austin, Texas under the guidance of Shana Merlin and Ted Rutherford. From there he transitioned to the Hideout Theatre where he currently is a faculty member and teacher of all seven levels of classes. In addition to teaching classes he has also taught workshops locally and internationally on subjects such as spacework, naive games, groundedness, emotions, and diagnostics.
Quinn’s teaching is rooted in mindfulness and self-awareness. He believes learning how choices and defaults affect yourself and those around you is key to maximising fun and developing positive relationships with both the audience and scene partners.
As a performer Quinn has been improvising since 2009 and has attended over 25 festivals such as DCM (New York), Improvaganza (Edmonton), Improvaganza (Honolulu), and Out of Bounds (Austin). He performs regularly in mainstage shows at both the Hideout Theatre and Coldtowne Theater in Austin, Texas. He is also the producer of the Hideout Theatre’s Improvised Play Festival, which is focused exclusively on theatrical, narrative improv.

Improv Boost

with Jay Flewelling
Are you ready for a new perspective on your improv? Does your play feel stuck and you want a kick in the pants while still having fun? Jay Flewelling, a Portland improviser who has performed with Colin Mochrie and Kevin McDonald, has a unique teaching style that will provide direct feedback to all participants from beginners to more advanced students. Spice up your ‘prov while learning new warm-ups, having fun, and receiving individual notes to give your improv journey a boost.
Sunday October 14th, 1:30 – 3:30 PM
At Instant Studios – Studio A (529 East Broadway)

Instructor Bio:

A native of Portland, OR, Jay showcases his broad comedic prowess in several different rodeos around town. Jay is not only a cast member of Curious Comedy Theater but also performs in the power house troupe, J Names (SF Sketchfest, Out of Bounds Comedy Festival).

There are many facets to Jay’s comedic talents. He is not only a performer, but a multitalented comedian with a knack for storytelling as well. Jay has been featured on NPR’s LIVE WIRE!, Kevin Allison’ RISK!, Mortified, and has performed with Kevin McDonald (The Kids in the Hall) and Colin Mochrie (Who’s Line is it Anyway?). Work Shmerk, Jay’s one-man storytelling show received rave reviews from The Oregonian and The San Diego Reader.