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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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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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: firstname.lastname@example.org Email: email@example.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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Improvisational Theatre Games for people with Parkinson’s Disease and their care partners is not just fun but therapeutic.
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a movement disorder that affects up to 1 million people in the US and doctors diagnose 60,000 new cases each year. Improvisational Theater Games, based on the work of Viola Spolin, are being used clinically all over the world. Improv classes are being offered for stress management, Autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and other neuromuscular diseases.
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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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Gulfshore Life Magazine
February 2019 (Pages 63-64)
The Naples Players put on a great show, as we theatergoers know. But maybe not all of us know that the 65-year-old institution seeks to educate our community as well as entertain it. There are the KidzAct youth program, internship opportunities, diverse creative workshop offerings for adults–and inclusive classes for people with additional needs, including improv for individuals with autism and those with social anxiety.
Margot Escott was familiar with the mission, so when she approached the players about bringing her own improv classes to the company, she knew the techniques she used with Parkinson’s patients would fit right in.
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Meet Marshall Stern who is an Author, Teacher, Lecturer, Public Speaker, Radio Host, Podcast Host, Musician, Actor, Songwriter, World Traveler and Improvisational Comedian and a self proclaimed living example of ADHD in action! Marshall is the author of 2 books, Meet the Buddha Kill the Buddha and Practical Buddhism Lectures. Marshall is also hosts the podcast Zenprov with his partner Nancy Howland Walker.
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