WENDY RUSH & TOM MCCOURT- IMPROV IN JUVENILLE JUSTICE

Meet the fabulous Wendy Rush, improviser, popular radio DJ and mom and the deightful Tom McCourt. Together they have developed a program for the Las Vegas Juvenile Offender Court to use improvisational theatre skills to help these teens and their families.

This podcast was recorded in Las Vegas where I had presented a workshop on “Improv & 12-Step Recovery” for the US Journal & Health Communication National Counseling Conference.

Tom McCourt is a writer and consultant based in Las Vegas, Nevada. His experience with Specialty Courts began in Philadelphia’s Emergency Services Unit, working with victims of Domestic Violence. He also consulted with the First Judicial District Mental Health Court and was part of the all-volunteer Task Force formed to establish Philadelphia Veterans Court. More recently Tom served as a founding Director and Incorporator of the Las Vegas Justice Partnership.

Tom’s non-profit experience includes assisting in the creation of six new organizations. He has served in volunteer, Board, and leadership roles with an additional eleven charitable organizations.A Philadelphia native, Tom is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He consults regularly in disciplines including Document Management, Business Process Improvement, Strategic Philanthropy, Non-Profit Management, and Resource Development.

Wendy Rush is the Founder/Director of Improv For Life. ImprovForLife.org &  Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ImprovForLifeLV/ She studied improv and sketch comedy with Second City Las Vegas and Improv Vegas. She performed in “Free Beer The Improv Show” in Las Vegas and performed/wrote in “Sketchy Mofos” Sketch Comedy Troupe in Las Vegas. She Produced/Directed The Improv Jam (like an improv open mic) for two years in Las Vegas.

She is the popular midday host for  96.3KKLZ in Las Vegas on 963kklz.com and Singernger/Keyboardist for Daze Gone By classic rock cover band. Facebook.com/DazeGoneBy

I know you’ll enjoy hearing these two pioneers in Applied Improvisation!

STEPHANIE ANDERSON – IMPROVISER

Meet the delightful Stephanie Anderson. She is a muli-talented and beloved improv teacher and brings joy and laughter wherever she goes!

Stephanie Anderson is an Innovative Learning Consultant who has worked with individuals and interdisciplinary teams in a variety of industries. She attended The George Washington University in Washington, DC, where she earned dual degrees in Psychology & Philosophy. She teaches at Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development, designing interactive enrichment curriculum and facilitates storytelling and improv workshops for MBA students at the University of Chicago. Ms. Anderson is a Chicago-based writer/actor/improviser and teaches improvisation as a faculty member at The Second City Training Center. Her passion for performance combined with her love of facilitation has led her around the country sharing the benefits of applied improv/ storytelling/ performance skill-based workshops for clients working in education, healthcare, and corporate settings. Check out her improv and sketch duo with Alex Bellisle at Girlish.

LENNY RAVICH – LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE!

Meet the hilarious Lenny Ravich and hear his incredible journey over the past 8 decades. Lenny is an expert on the subject of humor and laughter and facilitates workshops and presentations on the subjects of “Upgrading Your Humor Quotient as a Work Ethic,” and “Optimism For Self Esteem and Peak Performance,” throughout the world. He is the author of the best selling book, “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Enlightenment.”

He recently published his second book, Everlasting Optimism and gives workshops and speeches around the world. To learn more about Lenny, visit his website at Lenny Ravich.

MICHAEL GOLDING – 2nd GENERATION IMPROV PIONEER

Michael Golding has been improvising for over 40 years. He is a writer, director and improv teacher.He studied with the “father of Improv” David Shepherd and pioneered many innovative improv programs.  Michael participated in the evolution of the Improv Olympics & Canadian Improv Games. Artistic director of the Comic Strip Improv Group in N.Y. & created the Insight Theatre Company for Planned Parenthood, Ottawa.  In addition to being a performer and coach, Michael is an accomplished writer and his book Listen Harder is a wonderful collection of essays on his journey in improv and working with at-risk youth in various settings. His blog can be found at All Things Michael .He wrote and co-produced the documentary  David Shepherd: A Lifetime of Improvisational Theatre  This film is the most thorough history of improvisational theatre I’ve ever seen. Many of the founders of improv are featured in this video. He is a faculty member at El Camino College in Los Angeles, working with at-risk teens and traditional students

Michael holds a BFA degree in Drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts & an MA degree in Educational Theatre from NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human

Michael and I had a wonderful chat about his journey in the wonderful world of improvisational theatre!

Michael can be contacted for workshops, festivals and private consultations at migaluch@yahoo.com

 

Ted DesMaisons – Mindful Improv

Speaking with Ted DesMaisons was truly a joyful experience. This podcast was recorded in August 2017. Due to technical difficulties, we are releasing this great interview now. Thanks to Ted for helping with this project!

Ted is a beloved improv and mindfulness teacher who is internationally recognized for his work. His students describe him as someone who “teaches with clarity, creativity, and effective ritual”.  After completing graduate his MBA at Stanford Business he attended Harvard Divinity School. Ted has studied and performed improvisation across North America, including with  Patricia Ryan Madsen at Stanford, BATS Improv in San Francisco and Loose Moose Theater in Calgary, Alberta. All that experience supports a simple truth: Ted’s passion for teaching and learning leads him to share that passion with others like you. He is the founder and principal of ANIMA Learning.  You can find his thoughtful writings on improv, mindfulness, and spirituality at  Anima Learning Blog. Ted and his co-host,  Lisa Rowland chat about the beautiful, surprising and unruly intersection between mindfulness and improvisation at  Monster Baby Podcast.Ted is part of the Applied Improvisation Network  and a frequent workshop presenter (Applied Improvisation employs the principles of improvisational theatre in non-theatre settings: life, work, relationships, group dynamics, and the like. The skills and qualities that make good improv—spontaneity, presence, boldness, humility, collaboration, storytelling, and playfulness—also make great leaders and powerful teams).  Check out his presentation at the AIN 2015 Montreal Conference on  Improvisation as a Spiritual Practice.

FANTASTIC FUNNY FEMMES

Meet this great time Fantastic Funny Femmes a wonderful group of Canadian improvisers –  Brie Watson   Candace Meeks, and Alicia Douglas. They are dedicated performers and improv teachers who teach improv for anxiety issues and mindfulness. They also teach improv to help women, women-identifying/trans, and non-binary persons feel empowered. We discuss the issues that woman improvisers continue to face in improv classes and teams, often feeling alienated and isolated. We got a chance to meet at the “Yes, and Mental Health Conference” and watching them play was a fantastically fun experience.

PAM VICTOR – IMPROVISOR/AUTHOR

Listen to Pam Victor, co-author of IMPROVISATION at the Speed of Life along with TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi, talk about her work in improv and her goal to help students live a happier, more productive life. She describes several improv games that might be new to you! She is an enthusiastic and very fun guest!

Pam Victor has been improvising professionally since 2003 when she founded The Ha-Ha’s, who continue to perform at The Happier Valley Comedy Show which she also produces. Pam performs every summer with The Majesters (Majestic Theater, West Springfield, MA) and whenever she gets a chance at Improv Boston. Pam has improvised and done her live interview show at numerous festivals, such as The Women in Comedy Festival, Boston Comedy Arts Festival, Detroit Improv Festival, and Chicago Improv Festival.
She is also the author of Baj and the Word Launcher: Space Age Aspergers Adventures in Communication a children’s chapter book that uses sci-fi to teach social skills. Pam writes The Zen of Improv Essays ” a sassy (and often saucy) exploration of the place where improvisation and Zen thinking joyously meet. Pam writes mostly true, mostly humorous essays and reviews of books, movies, and tea on her blog “My Nephew is a Poodle.”

STEPHANIE MCULLOUGH – IMPROVISER/PSYCHOLOGIST

Stephanie McCullough  is a music director, teacher, and composer at the Second City Training Center. Stephanie was the coordinator for the First Annual “Yes, and Mental Health” conference. For many years psychotherapists have been using improv comedy games and exercises in their practice, but this was the first time we gathered together to share our experience, strength, and vision. Clinical Social Workers, Psychologists, Mental Health Counselors and improvisers from all over the country and abroad, presented inspiring workshops on using improv in clinical and other settings.
In this podcast, Stephanie shares her story of interviewing Del Close before she became an improviser, her history in improv and much more!
She is an amazing, powerful and beautiful woman!
Stephanie McCullough, Psy.D. has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and practiced for three post-graduate years before tossing it to the wind and touring as the music director for Second City’s BlueCo in 2004. Prior to all of that, she had attended the College Conservatory of Music for her undergraduate degree in Music Composition and Piano performance in Cincinnati, Ohio which helped her decide that she’d never make a living as a musician and changed her career path to psychology in the 1990’s. Stephanie wrote her first piano piece, Clown Waltz in F, at the age of 4 and has been putting together both silly and sincere songs ever since. Moving to Chicago and becoming exposed to the improv scene is what brought her full-circle to making music again on a daily basis. Stephanie has been co-writing musical comedies, averaging one-per-year since 1999, and to some critical acclaim. Four musicals alone were co-written with SC alum Peter Gwinn who went on to be an emmy-award winning writer for The Colbert Report. Her music improv roots began with iO and ComedySportz, and eventually led her to work along side some phenomenal Second City alum like Jim Zulevick and groups like GayCo and The Galileo Players. She is also the Director of Finance & Music Director at  MCL Chicago Comedy Theater  Stephanie now counts her blessings daily that she has the opportunity to work as a music director, teacher, and composer at the Second City Training Center on a full-time basis. Collaborating on original comedic songs, improvising musical scenes, and being surrounded daily by some of the top comedic and musical talent in this country is a dream-come-true.

PATRICIA RYAN MADSON-IMPROV WISDOM

Join us for a delightful talk with a woman who has brought improv to so many people.She is the author of the award-winning book, IMPROV WISDOM: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up (Bell Tower, 2005). Improv Wisdom
She shares how she discovered improv through her passion for Tai Chi, which led her to study with Keith Johnstone. She is a Professor Emerita from Stanford University where she began teaching in 1977. In the Drama Department, she served as the head of the undergraduate acting division and developed the improvisation program. She founded and coached the Stanford Improvisors and taught beginning and advanced level courses in improvisation for undergraduate as well as adults in Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program.

In 1998 she won the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Outstanding Innovation in Undergraduate Education. In 1996 she founded the Creativity Initiative at Stanford, an interdisciplinary alliance of faculty who share the belief that creativity can be taught. She taught the Design Improv for the School of Engineering and has been a guest lecturer for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program and for the Mayfield Fellows Program.
She is truly a pioneer in the applied improvisational field.
Visit Patricia at her website at:Patricia Ryan Madson
Listen to Patricia discuss The Creative Process of Innovation
Twitter: improvwisdom

KAT KOPPETT-IMPROVISOR, TRAINER, AUTHOR

Kat is a dynamic improviser, consultant, actor and mother who I met through her book,”Training to Imagine”. Listen as Kat describes her life as an actor, improviser and popular trainer. If you’re near New York state be sure and visit the Mopco Theatre with lively improv shows and classes!

Kat Koppett is the CEO & President of Koppett a coaching and consulting company specializing in the use of theatre and storytelling techniques to enhance individual and organizational performance.
Her book on how to use improvisational theatre techniques for organizational development, Training to Imagine: Practical Improvisational Theatre Techniques to Enhance Creativity, Teamwork, Leadership and Learning, is considered a seminal work in the field of Applied Improv, and is used in organizations around the world. She holds a BFA in Drama from New York University and an MA in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University.
Kat has designed and delivered training such diverse clients as Apple, Facebook, Prezi, the Clinton Global Initiative, Chanel, GE, Ellis, St. Peters Hospital, JPMorgan Chase, Eli Lilly, Skidmore and Havas Health.
She has spoken twice at TEDx conferences, and has lectured at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, RPI and Skidmore.
She is on the board of Northeast Ballet and the Consulting Alliance.
Kat is a founding member of the Applied Improvisation Network and a member of co-owner of the Mopco Improv Theatre, the Capital Region’s premiere improvisational theatre company producing shows and classes daily on N. Jay St. (www.mopco.org)
TheatreWeek Magazine named Kat one of the year’s “Unsung Heroes” for her creation of the completely improvised musical format, “Spontaneous Broadway”. To learn more about Kat, visit her website at:
Kat Koppett