Dr. Matt Tolliver – Leading through Improvisation

Dr Matt TolliverI was so fortunate to chat with Dr. Matthew Tolliver!  Dr. Matt Tolliver has a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision with a concentration in Leadership. He is a certified Professional School Counselor (Pk- adult) and elementary school teacher (K-5), a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), and an Approved Licensed Professional Supervisor (ALPS). He is the owner and operator of Tolliver Counseling and Consulting Services, LLC, which includes workshop development and delivery using applied improvisation. He is an adjunct professor at West Virginia University and a member of the Fearless Fools improv comedy troupe.
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Nathan Keates on Improv and Anxiety

Nathan Keates 1Meet the wonderful Nathan Keates with a Master’s Degree in Autism from the Tizard Centre. He is currently involved in a doctoral research project on autistic adults and anxiety, investigating changes from an improv course. Nathan began teaching improvisation in the UK in 2006 and quickly expanded 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 currently conducts research with autistic people. Learn more about Nathan on his website NathanImprov.com for his improv-related materials and information.
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Kenn Adams on Improvisation

Kenn Adams What an enjoyable and informative interview with Kenn Adams. He is a high-energy person with a wealth of experience in improv and playwriting and we had a lively chat. He is the creator of the classic short-form improv games Sit, Stand and Kneel and The Family Dinner (a.k.a. Ding/Buzz or Biography) as well as The Story Spine, a simple exercise for understanding story structure that has been embraced by improvisers, writers and teachers the world over. I got to play Story Spine with him and had so much fun!
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Gary Ware – Playing His Way to Happiness

Gary Ware Improv
Gary WareWhat an incredible interview with the playful Gary Ware! Thanks to our mutual coach, Jay Sukow for introducing us so I could learn about Gary’s inspiring story. It was exciting to chat with another believer about the power play has to transform lives. Gary’s love of helping others find the playful path in their lives resonated with me. We spoke about the blocks adults face with play and the difference between Childish and Childlike!
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Blue Cavell-Allette Improviser and So Much More

Blue Cavell-Allette Improv
Blue Cavell AlletteI was so delighted to interview my friend and coach Blue Cavell-Allette. I’ve taken many classes with her and have always learned so much! We first met on an all-women team she was coaching and then again when she was the substitute teacher for Jay Sukow. We played a scene together, and she is so much fun to play with. She speaks on her improv journey and experience in writing, directing, and teaching!
 

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From Improviser to Therapist – Beth Melewski

Beth Melewski Improv
Beth Melewski is a brilliant and generous woman who is transitioning from actor/improviser to training to be a psychotherapist. Her improv and acting career started in high school and she continued on to the main stage at Second City, traveling with them on cruises and being a part of the ETC theatre. She also played at the Annoyance and IO. She is a writer, director, and producer and loves Musical Improv. Our mutual friend, Mike Descoteaux, was her musical director at Second City where she performed with groups like Baby Wants Candy. We discussed the similarities between improv and therapy as well as improv and the 12-Steps of recovery programs. She is a delight to know and I believe you can book a session in January 2024! I know you’ll love her as much as I do!
 

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The Talented David Pasquesi

David Pasquesi Improv
David PasquesiDavid Pasquesi is considered one of the greatest improvisers today! He is a very humble and accepting spirit and his quick wit is phenomenal. With his partner, T.J. Jagodowskie, their show, T.J & Dave, has been delighting audiences for many years, around the world. David is an actor, producer, writer, and director. We chat about his time at Second City learning from legendary artists such as musical director, Fred Kaz and teacher Del Close. He was greatly impacted by Del Close and uses that education today. You may have seen him as Andrew in Veep and as Mok Shaiz’s Majordomo in The Book of Boba Fett and in a series created by Jon Favreau as a spin-off from The Mandalorian series. What a wonderful experience getting to know David! 

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Jane Morris Comedy Legend

Jane Morris Interview 2022
Jane Morris 2022What a treat to interview Jane Morris again! We first spoke with this well-respected actor, writer, improviser, and comedy legend in March 2019. Jane is a very, very funny person and I learned so much about her improv philosophy. She is also a very gifted writer and director! We spoke about her ongoing career as an actor in film and TV and also about the actors and directors she worked with that including Gary Marshall. Marshall was especially taken with her character work and they worked on several projects together. You may remember her as Nora O’Dougherty from her many appearances on the Drew Cary show.

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Dan Dumsha Improv for Parkinson’s Disease

Dan Dumsha Improv
Dan Dumsha Meet the delightful actor and improviser Dan Dumsha who is bringing improv to people with Parkinson’s disease and their care partners. He is currently involved in a research program with Mount Sinai Neurology Department in NYC where they are looking at the many benefits improv gives people with Parkinson’s. We had so much to talk about and it was exciting to get the opportunity to meet him. As we both work with improv for Parkinson’s, I had an instant sense of connection with him and his easygoing style and humor. Dan is the Director of Improv for the Workplace and for Health and Wellness at the Tightrope Theatre in Vancouver. His passion is to bring learners into the moment together, where co-creation can happen. A graduate of Queen’s University Drama (B.A.H) and Artist in Community Education (B.Ed), Dan has been performing and teaching theatre and improv for over twenty years.

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Jonathan Pitts Award-Winning International Improv Theatre Artist and Storyteller

Jonathanpitts2

What a delight to chat with beloved improviser, Jonathan Pitts. We chatted about improv, mythology, Joseph Campbell, and psychiatrist Car Jung who were some of his influences.

My interview with Jonathan was so much fun, I’m posting it as a two-part interview with our fascinating guest!

I’d taken a few classes with Jonathan, whose 30-plus years as an improviser and coach make him a master artist.

Jonathan is an award-winning international improv theatre artist and storyteller. He’s performed and/or taught in 25 countries and 81 cities in more than 1,200 improv performances. He’s the former Executive Director of Chicago Improv Productions; Co-Founder/Producer – Chicago Improv Festival; Creator/Producer – College Improv Tournament; Founder/Producer – Chicago Podcast Festival; Founder/Producer – Teen Comedy Fest.  His experience also includes being a teacher/Director of children and teens with physical and/or cognitive disabilities. 

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