Kelly Leonard – Author and Creative Executive at The Second City in Chicago

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.”

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Sandra Bruce – Autism Improvised Pioneer

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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Stephanie Anderson – Improvisor

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 – 2nd Generation Improv Pioneer

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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Ted DesMaisons – Mindful Improv

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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TIPS ON RECOVERING FROM TRAUMA

Although it has been 2 months since Hurricane Irma devastated Collier County, many people are still feeling the effects of this traumatic event. Today I was with some friends who continue to suffer daily due to Irma. Some are homeless for an indefinite amount of time, some are seeking welfare and Food Stamps (something they never thought would happen in their lives), and spending their days on the phone with government agencies, insurance companies, etc. A traumatic event is a life-threatening occurrence and post-trauma stress is a normal response to an abnormal event, such as Irma. Living through a trauma affects the body, mind, and spirit. Continue reading “TIPS ON RECOVERING FROM TRAUMA”

PARKINSON’S & ME

In 1997 my father, Ivan Escott, Jr. was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It was a lucky coincidence that this was the year that the Parkinson Association of South Florida (PASFI) was founded. I had the opportunity to speak at a meeting with the founding members of PASFI before they were incorporated so knew about their mission. A few weeks after that, my dad received his PD diagnosis. How fortunate we were to know there was a place where he could be involved, receive education and support. Continue reading “PARKINSON’S & ME”

Play Isn’t Just for Kids-Improv for people with Parkinson’s Disease

You don’t have to want to be a performer on stage to learn improv games! We can play them just for the fun of it. There is growing research on the therapeutic benefits of Improvisational Theatre Games for people with PD. The Neurology Department of Northwestern University has partnered with Second City since 2015 researching the benefits of teaching improv to people with PD and their caregivers. Their research showed that improvisational theatre games help to cultivate focus, improve communication, and promote well- being. Continue reading “Play Isn’t Just for Kids-Improv for people with Parkinson’s Disease”