Welcome to Improv Interviews with Margot Escott, LCSW. Improv Interviews are podcasts with innovative improvisers from all over the world and therapists who are using improvisation in their clinical practice.
More about Margot Escott, LCSW: Margot Escott incorporates over 35 years of experience as a counselor, speaker, and teacher in her wellness classes that are designed to use humor, play and improv to achieve well being. In addition to teaching and performing improv professionally, Margot has presented workshops and seminars on “Therapeutic Value of Humor and Play” on a national level and was a featured speaker at the Chicago “Yes, and” conference on Improvisation and Mental Health.
What a treat to speak with Lisa Kays, LCSW who studied improvisational theater prior to becoming a master’s level social worker. She has been using improv as group therapy and to train therapists in this exciting art form. Lisa leads Improv This, Improv Thatprograms and groups that integrate principles and practices of various modalities to support individuals in trying out new behaviors.
Join me and meet a man who is lovingly known as the Godfather of improv. During his thirty-nine-year engagement in Improvisation Robert Lowe has been a player, an Improv dancer, a teacher, a director, a producer, and a pioneer in the uses of Improvisation for purposes other than performance. He has taught Improvisation, and stand-up comedy, in addition to personal advocacy.
Join me and meet Lacy Alana and learn about her innovative work with Yes and Brain. The Yes And Brain framework is the creation of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, circus artist, and improviser Lacy Alana. As Lacy spent time in the clinical, educational, corporate, and expressive arts worlds over the last decade, she recognized that she was having great success blending facets from each discipline into the others.
Meet Rob Snow who is the Creator and Director of The Improvaneer Method and Executive Director of Stand Up for Downs, he also performs his one-man show nationally. Rob began his comedy career in the late 90s while training at the famed Second City Theatre in Chicago, performing at comedy clubs and colleges in the Midwest. In 2009 Rob and his wife Ellen had their second son Henry who was born with Down Syndrome. In 2013, they created Stand Up for Downs, whose mission is to enhance the lives of those with Down syndrome through humor.
Join me and meet the award-winning improv master Michael J Gellman who now resides in Ontario Canada and is Artistic Director of The Process Theatre. He teaches at Loyalist College as well as Master Workshops for Second City International and Artistic New Directions NYC. He is an alumnus of the Second City mainstage and was a resident director for Second City in Canada and the USA for 25 years. He was Artistic Director of the Second City Toronto where his shows were nominated for 7 Dora Mavor Moore Awards including twice for Outstanding Direction, nominated for Best Director for Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award, and won a Chalmers Award for Best Director. He is a senior faculty and founding member of the Second City Training Center where he was a Program Head and also Director of the NY training Center.
Today we speak with Lisa Bany and Angela Nino, trained Improv directors, performers and creative professionals who teach and facilitate the use of applied Improvisation in the improvement of mental health. Their organization is called Improv Therapy Group and I am proud to have recently been added to their advisory board. Lisa and Angela are not therapists, but they work with licensed therapists and group treatment facilities to bring Improv into the mental health environment.
Meet the wonderful Nathan Keats who has a Master’s Degree in Autism from the Tizard Centre. He is currently involved in a research project on using improvisation to support individuals with Autism. Nathan began teaching improvisation in the UK in 2006 and quickly expanding his teaching to the United States. In 2007, he found a love for applied improvisation for autistic people and his enthusiasm continues to this day in his practice, teaching and his research. Nathan’s classes have been taught in festivals, schools, colleges, community centers and theatres to students from seven years old to students who are now retired. As a qualified teacher in the UK, Nathan brings a spontaneous and rationalizable approach to his teaching and now offers consulting services on using applied improvisation with individuals on the autism spectrum. Learn more about Nathan on his website NathanImprov.com
The husband and wife team, Carla and Craig Cackowski are the creators of the two-person improv show “Orange Tuxedo” in Los Angeles, California. The perform “Close Quarters”, with a focus on creating grounded relationships formed by eccentric characters. If you like comedy, you may have seen Craig wear various mustaches and costume pieces on Comedy Central’s Drunk History. If you like drunken history, you may have seen Carla drink various beers on Instagram.
They say no one has done more for the art of improvisation than Jane Morris, and when you listen to this interview you will learn why. Jane has improvised, written, performed, and directed shows around the world. Beginning in Chicago, Jane helped found the Second City ETC with her husband Jeff Michalski, and later formed her own theaters in Los Angeles.
As an actress with over 58 credits to her name she is best known for her roles in Raising Helen, True Lies, Frankie and Johnny and recently in Veep.