What a fabulous time I had chatting with the effervescent Laxmi Priya! We chatted about her work and I learned so much from her! I’ve also studied with her and I heartily recommend her to everyone for a lively and joyous experience!Laxmi is a Playback Theatre performer and has been improvising for a decade in and around Bangalore, India. She performs with The Adamant Eves (India’s first all-female improv company) and is a co-founder of Citylamps Playback Theatre.
Stephen Davidson – Joyful Improv
What a delight to get to know Stephen Davidson! Stephen is a totally joy-filled improviser who is the Artistic Director of The Improvised Play, Improvable, QI: Queer Improv, Carmen: A gender-swapped Film Noir Fantasy, and of Zeal: The Pride Improv Festival. Stephen is the author of two books about improv, Play Like an Ally and Improvising Gender. Stephen teaches improv independently and through Improvable, with the Free London Improv Project, City Academy, and Hoopla Improv. He has taught and performed all over the world. We chat about his improv origin story and so much more. You’ll understand why his students love him.
Velvet Duke Empowers through Improv
Velvet Duke is truly a multi-talented presence in the Improvisational Theatre world today. In our interview, he shares his love of theatre and performing. Here is what his improv colleagues have to say about him. “Velvet consistently works to look at things from different viewpoints and has one of the most widely accessible broadcasts I’ve ever seen.” Michelle J Gilliam. And from improv legend, Jay Sukow, “Velvet Wells is amazing! He’s a ball of fun and a very talented performer and teacher. He is such a great ambassador for, and a leader in, the improv ecosystem.”
Meet the really funny lady, Brenna Judkins
Brenna Judkins (they/she) is an improviser and artist from San Diego, CA in the United States. She currently plays with the Queen City Comedy team “Smells Like Ghosts”, and teaches their children’s improv courses. She also provides one on one improv tutoring for children. She regularly crafts her own costumes, props, puppets, and visuals arts projects at her home in California, including improvised cartoons and stop-motion videos. She also runs the page Brenna Judkins Improviser and a bi-monthly all LGBTQIA+ improv jam for the global improv community. We had so much fun in the podcast and could not stop laughing!
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Maria Schaedler-Luera – Actor, Improviser, Community activist
Join me and the delightful Maria Schaedler-Luera as we discuss her life as an actor and improviser. She studied with the legendary Augusto Boal and continues to teach his work today. We discuss her move to the states and how that impacted her continuing work with diverse and immigrant folks. For many years Maria, a Brazilian-born educator, and artist studied to be an actor. When she was 15, instead of having a traditional quinceanera, the celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday, she asked for a trip to New York City. After college, she returned to NY to study at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy. We talk about the challenges she faced as an actor, who would audition for Latin roles, but due to looking “too white” was cast as European needing German, French and other accents.
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Koray Tarhan Global Improviser
Koray Tarhan has an infectious smile and laugh! He is a generous and talented man who brought Improv to his home in Instanbul, Turkey in 2000 and author of the first handbook on improv in Turkish, Dogaclama Icin Elkitabi (2013). We had such a fun time chatting and playing with him and his wife, Zeynep Özyurt Tarhan. Koray works as an actor, musician, and project coordinator at Istanbulimpro and also applies improvisation in business, education, and social projects. He works with children, teenagers, and adults in different foundations and organizations. Koray authors improlog.blogspot.com is the coordinator of Istanbul International Improv Festival and a member of the Applied Improvisation Network (since 2009) which has invited him to present and/or lead workshops at several international conferences. He has also participated as an actor and workshop leader for improv festivals in Amsterdam, Berlin, Chicago, Beijing, and Ljubljana. Koray is a graduate of Ankara University Theater Department (2001).
Siddharth Venkatesh is a beloved improviser with Improv Comedy Bangalore who has fans all around the world. He loves the “Globalization” of improv in the present scenario, as he gets to improvise with and learn from amazing Improvisers from all over the world. We had a wonderful chat with him and did a fun scene with our friend Landon Kirksey at https://youtu.be/LwOBmU2BTco In early September he co-created the ICB FB Community with the objective of enhancing peer to peer interactions, learning, and supporter of Improv. He loves to play Indian classical percussion, which also has an element of improvisation embedded in it. I know you will enjoy this gentle and fun man as much as I did!
Cheng Zeng – Applied Improv Facilitator
I first saw Cheng Zeng at a Black Improvisors and People of Other Cultures improv webinar. Listen to Cheng Zeng’s story of growing up in a traditional Chinese family and how that shaped his first career path. Because there were no arts or drama in his schools and universities, he studied engineering, with no thought of the arts. He describes getting in trouble with his teachers because he “asked too many questions”. He first encountered Improvisational Theatre when he moved to Bejing. He was hooked right away, as so many of us are!
Will Luera Champion’s Improvisational Theatre
Will Luera is a champion of bringing theatre art to all people, especially those who haven’t had access or ever hear the words, Improv Theatre! He recently became a CrossFit Coach and adds Conflict Mediator to his resume. Although he grew up in Chicago, for 18 years he didn’t know about Improv! It was only when he went to Boston College to study Physics and Computer Engineering, that he learned about improv. Returning home every summer he would study at places like Second City and the IO. And after college, he was part of Improv Boston and now is the Director Emeritus of ImprovBoston.
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Jonathan Nguyen and Britain’s all Asian improv ensemble “Comediasians”
Jon Nguyen is an improviser living in Norwich, England. He is a beloved improviser and teacher and has trained with various improv companies such as Dogface Improv, The Nursery, the Maydays, Hoopla Impro, and numerous independent coaches worldwide. Jon’s parents came to the UK in the 1970s after the Vietnam war. He discusses being bullied because of his “difference” and how that helped him develop a great sense of humor and his commitment to education with groups like BIPOC. Jon believes it is the responsibility of those who understand their privilege to help others see it and how they can affect the world in a positive way whether they are young or older minds.
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