What a pleasure to catch up with Kelly Leonard, longtime Creative Executive at The Second City in Chicago who speaks with us about the power of improvisation to transform people’s lives . His book, “Yes, And: Lessons from The Second City” was released to critical acclaim in 2015 by HarperCollins and was praised by Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair who called it “…an excellent guide to the lessons that have bubbled up in Second City’s improv workshops.”
Sandra Bruce is the Founder and Executive Director of Autism Improvised, Inc., a nonprofit serving the autism community through the principles of improvisational theater. She was inspired by her grandson, who was diagnosed ASD at age 2, to find a creative, fun way to address the social challenges of autism. Because her grandson had a love for film and theatre, she suspected this area would benefit her grandson. Not coming from a theater background, she did her research, discovered improvisational acting, and was excited to discover how improv seemed to be a perfect modality to address the social challenges and rigid thought patterns of autism.
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Meet the fabulous Wendy Rush, improviser, popular radio DJ and mom along with the delightful 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.
Meet the delightful Stephanie Anderson, a muli-talented and beloved improv teacher in Chicago who brings joy and laughter wherever she goes! Stephanie 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.
About Stephanie 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. . 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.
Michael Golding has been improvising for over 40 years. Michael is a writer, director and improv teacher who 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 and is the 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.
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Meet Ted DesMaisons, 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.
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Meet 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.
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. Continue reading “Stephanie McCullough – Improvisor/Psychologist”