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 That programs 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.
Meet Mary Guzzy, professor of Humanities and Theatre at SUNY Corning Community College I Corning, New York. I had the pleasure of hearing Mary present at Dr. Daniel Weiner’s 4th Annual Conference for Growth Conference this past October, Rehearsals for Growth.
Mary has been a student of Rehearsals for Growth for several years and is finding a way to use improvisational therapy in her work. Mary’s presentation was on her visit to the Greek Island of Samos where refugees from the conflicts in the Middle East have been relocated.
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.
Finding Support & Information
While the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) may be frightening, it is important to remember support and interventions are available right here in Naples, Florida both for those diagnosed with this disease and those family members who now find themselves in the role of Care Partner. Many people are familiar with Parkinson’s disease, which affects one million Americans, with 60,000 new diagnoses each year. But there are several other neurodegenerative disorders that have Parkinson’s like symptoms called A-typical Parkinson’s or Parkinsonism that are important to be aware of.
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
Jeff Michalski is an actor, director, improviser, teacher, mentor and so much more. He worked in comedy clubs across the country with the Original Comedy Ranger and was a member of the Groundling in Los Angeles before settling with the Chicago Second City in 1980. During his years with the Second City, Jeff studied with Paul Sills and his historic Story Theatre. While traveling the country with Second City’s National Touring Company he continued training with Second City founder Paul Sills, and artistic directors Del Close, Fred Kaz, and Bernie Sahlins.
Join me and meet the incredibly likable Howard Jerome who is a walking encyclopedia of Improvisation history. Howard calls himself an actor, voice guy, and a seminar and workshop leader as well as an MC, work he has been doing for decades with great gusto. Howard’s amazing understanding and dedication to improvisation have led to 111 film and acting credits. He has worked with some of the world’s most creative and innovative minds, including Dr. Jean Houston, a principal founder of the Human Potential Movement, and the great spiritual leader Ram Dass. Howard worked with David Shepherd in the early 70s on projects including Community Makers, Responsive Scene Radio Show, Improv Olympics to name a few.