Improv Interviews with Margot Escott, LCSW

Welcome to Improv Interviews with Margot Escott, LCSW. Improv Interviews are podcasts with innovative improvisors 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 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.

Kay Ross Imagining Possibilities through Improvisation

Kay Ross was born in Scotland, grew up in Australia, and has lived in Hong Kong for 25 years. She has been acting since she was a teenager, did stand-up comedy for a while, has been performing with short-form improv team People’s Liberation Improv in Hong Kong for 11 years, is a member of the Applied Improvisation Network, and leads Applied Improvisation workshops in Hong Kong and around Asia for companies, universities and community organizations.

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Ed Asner

Over the course of his seventy plus year career, Ed Asner has simultaneously established himself as one of the most legendary actors alive while championing social and charitable causes. Ed was born in Kansas City, Missouri, attended the University of Chicago, and served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, appearing in plays put on for the troops as they toured around Europe.

Ed Asner Roles as Lou Grant and Rich Man Poor Man

After the war, Asner joined the Playwrights Theatre Company in Chicago, but left for New York City before members of that company regrouped as the Compass Players in the mid-1950s, a company that included Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Sheldon Patinkin, Rolf Forsberg, Mike Nichols, Joyce Piven, Josephine Forsberg, Barbara Harris and Del Close and eventually developed into The Compass Theatre then Second City.

Asner came back to guest star frequently on Second City’s stage, but also developed his acting career by appearing in plays and later unforgettable characters in influential television shows that include The Untouchables, playing Lou Grant in both the long running Mary Tyler Moore show and Lou Grant, as slave-ship captain Thomas Davies in Roots, Santa Clause in Elf, Carl Fredrickson in the animated film Up and most recently he can be seen in Netflix new series Dead to Me. For the past several years he has been performing one-man shows all over the country for several years including “A Man and his Prostate” written by Ed Weinberger.

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Carol Bleackley Sills

Carol Bleackley Sills, director of Sills/Spolin Theater Works has been an influential force behind improvisational theater since she left Montreal and came to Chicago in 1959. Carol studied with Viola Spolin, acting as her editor since 1983. With her husband Paul Sills, they created many innovative theaters, beyond Paul’s The Compass, Playwrights Theater Club and The Second City. namely The Game Theater, Story Theater, The Body Politic, Century Hall, The Learning Theater and Sills & Co. Carol and her daughters present workshops at the Wisconsin Theater Game Center and other places nationwide. She is a painter and arts educator.
You can learn more about Carol Sills at: www.paulsills.com/sillsspolin-theater-works/

Carol studied with Viola Spolin, acting as her editor since 1983. With her husband Paul Sills, they created many innovative theaters, beyond Paul’s The Compass, Playwrights Theater Club and The Second City. namely The Game Theater, Story Theater, The Body Politic, Century Hall, The Learning Theater and Sills & Co. Carol and her daughters present workshops at the Wisconsin Theater Game Center and other places nationwide. She is a painter and arts educator.
You can learn more about Carol Sills at: www.paulsills.com/sillsspolin-theater-works/

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Sean Mulvihill Act Social Movie – Improv for Conflict Resolution

Sean A. Mulvihill is currently directing the documentary feature film, “Act Social” featuring Colin Mochrie (Whose Line is it, Anyway?). The film follows Sean and his team on a mission to bring improvisation-based peacemaking skills to world leaders and communities in need.

Sean is well known around the globe for creating and starring in the 2007 docu/drama feature film, Living Luminaries: On the Serious Business of Happiness. The film stars Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now), Marianne Williamson, don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements), and Michael Bernard Beckwith.

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Aretha Sills 3rd Generation Improvisation

Aretha Sills is the granddaughter of Viola Spolin. She studied theater games for many years with her father, director Paul Sills (creator/director of The Second City and Story Theater), and has conducted workshops for Paul Sills’ Wisconsin Theater Game Center, Bard College, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Stockholm International School, Sarah Lawrence College, and Northwestern University. She has worked with Tony- and Emmy-Award winning actors and has trained faculty from Northwestern, DePaul, Columbia College, The Second City, The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, LAUSD, CETA, and many other institutions and schools. She is the Associate Director of Sills/Spolin Theater Works and she directs The Predicament Players.

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Gary Schwartz Part 2 of 2

Part 2 of my podcast with Gary Schwartz, an award-winning TV and film actor, director, comedian and a master improvisational acting coach whose 30 years as a performer and improv teacher has helped transform the lives of thousands of people, both on- and off-screen. He studied and worked with Viola Spolin,the mother of modern improv, and is the only master teacher to have ever earned an endorsement from both Viola Spolin and her son, Paul Sills, the co-founder and director of The Second City.

Click to listen to Part I

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John Dawson (Part 1 of 2)

I met John Dawson through our mutual friend Nick Johne from Chicago’s Second City. They had worked together at Toronto’s Second City before they both immigrated to Chicago and Dublin. His first foray into using improvisation for improved mental health was 7 years ago when he was approached to design and facilitate a series of Dramatic Arts for Wellness Workshops for D.C.U. (Dublin City University) in association with St. James Hospital Dublin’s mental health division. John’s taught his improv-based workshops in Critical thinking, Creativity and Effective Communication/Collaboration Skills for corporate and institutional clients such as Google, Airbnb, DropBox, Twitter Ireland, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, and H.S.E. (Health Service Executive, Ireland). You can learn more about John Dawson at: www.dawsondramaworks@gmail.com Email: dawsondramaworks@gmail.com

In part one of our podcast we talk about John’s development as an improvisor and also his connection with our dear friend Nick Johne.

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John Dawson (Part 2 of 2 )

I met John Dawson through our mutual friend Nick Johne from Chicago’s Second City. They had worked together at Toronto’s Second City before they both immigrated to Chicago & Dublin. His first foray into using improvisation for improved mental health was 7 years ago when he was approached to design and facilitate a series of Dramatic Arts for Wellness Workshops for D.C.U. (Dublin City University) in association with St. James Hospital Dublin’s mental health division. John’s taught his improv-based workshops in Critical thinking, Creativity and Effective Communication/Collaboration Skills for corporate and institutional clients such as Google, Airbnb, DropBox, Twitter Ireland, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, and H.S.E. (Health Service Executive, Ireland). In part 2 John talks about his work in mental health. You can learn more about John Dawson at: www.dawsondramaworks@gmail.com Email: dawsondramaworks@gmail.com

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Craig Price – Changing Lives through Improv

Join me as I speak with improv master Craig Price who is using his 30+ years of improv experience (including training with the great Del Close) in wellness classes that use improv to improve the lives of those who are differently abled. Craig shares with us the wisdom he learned from both Second City and IO with Del Close – To always play at the top of your intelligence, to encourage each other and to lift each other up. You can learn more about the classes Craig Price offers at The Sugden Theatre in Naples Florida by clicking here.

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