Steen Haakon Hansen – Denmark
Steen Haakon Hansen is known as one of the finest teachers and experts within the field of Improvisation. Since working closely with and assisting Keith Johnstone in Odsherred he has now – as one of the few in the world – obtained a certificate allowing him to teach Keith Johnstone Method.
Born in Copenhagen March 12, 1947, Steen made his entrance in theatre in 1971 as a stagehand and technician. He worked as such until 1973 when he started his education as director, actor and acting-teacher at Statens Teater Skole in Copenhagen.
During his education, 1973-1977, at The Danish National School of Theater, Steen studied at the studio of Etienne Decroux, and at L´Ecole Nationale Du Cirque in Paris for a term.
Steen graduating as an actor in 1977 from Statens Teater Skole he has since been directing, acting and teaching in Denmark and abroad. Steen’s focus is on developing new exercises and tasks that make Improvisation and Expression Corporelle relevant in the individual participant’s practice. For the last decade he has been teaching various diploma programs at the Scenes Art Development Center, in addition to workshops in Improvisation.
The improvisation methods and teaching ethics of Keith Johnstone, whom Steen worked with when Keith directed “The Last Bird” at the Theatre School in Copenhagen, and later was a pupil of, have had a big impact on the work of Steen. The theories and principles he teaches originate from that collaboration, along with ideas within theatre, sociology, anthropology and philosophy. His new exercises rooted in the work of Yevgeny Vakhtangov, Etienne Decroux, Yves Lebreton, Mikhael Chekov and Keith Johnstone, brings the best out of the actors he is working with. Steen says in his work he thinks “inter-artistic, intercultural and interdisciplinary. I always get inspiration from other art forms, other cultures and professions. Lately, I have been greatly inspired by, for example, Salvador Dali’s Paranoid Critical Method, which is about letting its dreams enter into a critical process, to subsequently create as realistic an artistic expression as possible.”
“Steen Haakon Hansen is a good fellow. I know him well (I first met him forty years ago). He is well qualified to teach the methods that I have developed. He is an excellent performer. I have no hesitation in recommending him.” — Keith Johnstone
Steve Jarand – Canada
Steve has been doing improvisation since 1987 beginning at Loose Moose theatre in Calgary, Canada.
Since 1991 he has produced nature and history theatre performing in schools, mountain parks museums and zoos.
Steve began working with masks in 1999 with the support of Keith Johnstone, then soon after, teaching at home and overseas.
The Masks tour Europe and North America each year in an ever-widening scope of weekend workshops, longer intensives and mask-based shows. His most recent show My Name is Johan, a full-masked improvised piece, has been seen at several European Impro festivals.
In 2016 Steve completed a six-month round the world trip with the masks, teaching and performing in Columbia, Peru, Brazil, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Japan. Last year the mask showed up in Turkey and Israel as well and this year they were off to Romania.
Steve’s other pursuits include puppetry, clown and meditation.
Dan O’Connor – USA
Dan O’Connor is the co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of Impro Theatre. For Impro, he is the director of Chekhov UnScripted and the co-director of Jane Austen UnScripted, Fairytales UnScripted, The Western UnScripted, Shakespeare UnScripted and Sondheim UnScripted. Collectively, these shows have been performed at The Broad Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Laguna Playhouse, North Coast Repertory, Falcon Theatre, Carrie Hamilton Theatre at The Pasadena Playhouse, Odyssey Theatre, Theatre Asylum and Impro Studio, among many others.
Dan’s television directing credits include the critically acclaimed ABC hybrid sitcom Sons and Daughters and Campus Ladies for the Oxygen Network. He was a writer and the improv director for The Wayne Brady Show, and he co-created the NBC television improv comedy show World Cup Comedy, which ran for two seasons on PAX. Television acting credits include Seinfeld, VEGAS, Raising Hope, Campus Ladies, Malcolm in the Middle, The Tonight Show, The Newz, Life Game, Quick Witz, Law & Order: LA, Little Britain USA and NCIS. Theatre acting credits include the Improbable Theatre’s production of Keith Johnstone’s Life Game (Off-Broadway), and productions with American Conservatory Theatre, A Noise Within, Shakespeare Santa Cruz and Taper, Too.
Dan was an adjunct professor for USC’s BFA program, and he has taught at Duke University, Pepperdine University, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA Extension, and the MBA Program at UT Austin. He has conducted improvisation and creative workshops at Dreamworks, Disney Animation, Cirque du Soleil, and for theatre companies around the world. Dan is also a co-founder of Los Angeles TheatreSports and BATS Improv in San Francisco. He also wrote the book ‘Life UnScripted’ with noted psychiatrist Dr. Jeff Katzman, about using improv to live a happier more fulfilling life. He is a graduate of the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London and a member of SAG-AFTRA, DGA, AEA and WGA.
Felipe Ortiz – Colombia
Felipe Ortiz is a performer, director and teacher interested in exchanging, interacting, playing and sharing experiences with different artists around the world. He´s curious about the body in movement and its possibilities, that´s why he explores it through acrobatics, improvisation, clowning, physical theater and object manipulation to create new forms of expression in performing arts.
As a performer he´s been touring around the world with different projects in festivals, companies, and collaborating with artists in these areas. He´s a well-known in the international scene as an impro, physical theater and clown teacher.
He´s currently working as a clown, acrobatics and impro teacher at the Javeriana University in Bogota.
He´s being the artistic director of La Gata Cirko (new circus) for 16 years and has directed and codirected shows in different formats like: the opening ceremony of the world games in Cali and the closing ceremony of the Football FIFA world cup sub-20 in Bogota, and all the shows from the company.
He´s one of the founding members of PICNIC – IMPRO and one of the directors of the impro MONKEY FEST in its 9th versions. He’s also one of the creators of SPEECHLESS an improvised show without words that has being touring in more than 15 countries around the world.
Lisa Rowland – USA
Lisa is a lecturer at Stanford University in the Theatre Department, teaching the very class that put her on the path of improvisation. Compelled to pass on the joys of improvisation, Lisa began teaching as part of her experience with the Stanford Improvisors, and continued as a member of the faculty of the BATS School of Improv. She has traveled around the country and world, teaching in America, Saudi Arabia (the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. Seriously), New Zealand, Mexico and as a two-time guest instructor at the International Impro Festival in Würzburg, Germany. Lisa teaches privately in the Bay Area and was a high school improv coach.
Lisa’s first love is performing. Her background in scripted theater gives her a strong grounding in truthful performance and the allure of discovery and delight that improvisation offers has kept her scriptless since she began improvising professionally in 2006. Straight out of Stanford University, where she performed with the Stanford Improvisors, she joined the mainstage company at BATS Improv, Northern California’s most acclaimed and longest running improvisational theatre company. At BATS, she created the renowned format The Bechdel Test, a show which puts complicated, multi-faceted women in the center of stories. She is a founding member of Improv Playhouse of San Francisco and Awkward Dinner Party. In 2012, Lisa was voted Best Actor by the SF Bay Guardian’s Reader Poll. She has traveled the world to perform on international stages with international casts and finds particular delight in the global improv community.
Lisa believes improv makes the world a better place. Being a lover of words and people and the ways they affect one another, she finds particular joy in breaking down what makes it so powerful in ways that can encourage people to live a life of generosity, compassion, playfulness and connection. She co-facilitates retreats that help people approach life playfully and trustfully, and has given talks on the power of improv at schools and conferences. She and her colleague Ted DesMaisons are the creators of Monster Baby, a podcast exploring the crossover between mindfulness and improvisation.
Patti Stiles – Australia
Patti is a professional actor, improviser, director, educator and playwright specializing in improvisational theatre. She was trained by Keith Johnstone and served her theatre apprenticeship at the Loose Moose Theatre Company (CA). Her understanding of Johnstone’s work and philosophy, combined with a wealth of experience on the world stage, has made her a “must have” teacher and director.
Patti is Artistic Director of Impro Melbourne (AU), past Artistic Director of Rapid Fire Theatre (CA), a founding member of Die Nasty (CA), creator of Momentos De La Vida, Quotable Women and How The West Was Improvised. She has taught in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Middle East, Scandinavia, The Nordic Region and Australasia. Teaching credits include LAMDA (UK), RADA (UK), National Theatre of Performing Arts (DK), University El Bosque (CO), Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (CO), Actors Centre (UK), National Institute of Circus Arts (AU), National Theatre (AU), Citadel Theatre (CA) and Loose Moose Theatre (CA) to name a few.
Patti’s writing has been translated into 3 languages, she is a contributor to the book Art of Mistakes and was interviewed for The Improv Handbook (which is dedicated to Patti in recognition of her mentorship.) Add to her list of credits three nominations for an Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award, plus she holds the record for being the first female to improvise for 53 hours in a row in the famous Die Nasty soap a thon.
The Canadian press dubbed her “Impro Doyen” and “Queen of Improvisation”.
Video: Listen to Patti talk about the Circle of Possibilities
Joe Bill – USA
Joe Bill is one of the co-founders of the Annoyance Theater, where he performed in and directed over 50 productions from 1987-2000, including smash hits “Co-ed Prison Sluts”, “The Real Live Brady Bunch” and “The Screw Puppies”. At iO, Bill has coached and performed with numerous ensembles since 1985, including the legendary team “Georgia Pacific” and the innovative lights out long-form, “The Bat”. Bill can be seen performing with fellow Annoyance co-founder Mark Sutton, in the nationally touring production “Bassprov”, (which headlined the 2003 Chicago Improv Festival with special guest Fred Willard). “Bassprov” has toured the United States since 2002, and also was named one of the top 10 comedy shows in Toronto in that same year. Bill teaches improvisation for iO, the Second City Conservatory and Training Center, the Annoyance, the Playground and around the U.S., Canada, UK and Netherlands.
Rebecca Bollwitt – Canada
Rebecca built her first website in 1997 and she has been blogging about life in BC since 2004 on Miss604.com. Over the last 15 years, Miss604.com has become the most award-winning blog in Western Canada with 20 local “Best Blog” and “Best Twitter” awards, a national award from Notable.ca, and an international media award from Variety – The Children’s Charity. Rebecca has co-authored 2 books for Pearson/Que (Blogging to Drive Business) and published nearly 10,000 blog posts about fun things to do, local insights, travel and history. She is member of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, a member of Women in Tech and Communications BC, a Board Director at Variety BC and sponsor of over 25 community events and festivals each year. Join one of Rebecca’s 115,000 followers on social media @Miss604.
Laura Doorneweerd – The Netherlands
Laura is an Amsterdam-based teacher, performer and director. She is a star of shows including all-woman action epic The Ferocious Four, several international two-handers, and co-founder of the multi-lingual Ohana project for European improvisers.
With a background in theatre and dance, she has been teaching for 16 years and, for 10 years, ran her own drama school in the Netherlands. In 2019-2020 she and her spouse Gael Perry are on ‘The Honeymoon Tour: a year-long world tour of teaching, performing and geeking over improv.
Also, her last name is a castle. True story.
Derek Flores – New Zealand
Inspired by masters such as Groucho Marx and Bugs Bunny, Derek has pursued a life in comic theatre. At a young age he was introduced to the teachings of Keith Johnstone which saw him through a life as a street performer and cabaret act throughout festivals in Canada, Australia, Europe, and NZ. Eventually finding himself on the mainstage at The Second City Toronto and sharing the stage with Colin Mochrie and Robin Williams.
Derek regularly plays Improv Festivals, Comedy festivals, and comedy clubs internationally in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Germany, Dubai and here in New Zealand. After founding the New Zealand Improv Festival in 2009 Derek moved to Christchurch and taught kids and adults at The Court Theatre and played Captain Hook in the summer of 2015.
He team teaches internationally with Michi, together they have taught in Wurzburg, Dubai, Wellington, Australia, Italy and Norway and China.
Michi Flores – New Zealand
Michi graduated from Gastown Actors’ Studio in Vancouver, B.C. and The Second City Conservatory in Toronto. While living in London she spent a year training with clown teacher Philippe Gaulier and was fortunate to also study with Improbable Theatre, Keith Johnstone, Theatre De Complicite, Told By An Idiot, and Angela De Castro. She has performed improv, stand-up and sketch and was half of the duo The Bad Habits. Since 2012 Michi had directed and produced work for Meegwai Productions in Australia and New Zealand. In Christchurch she produces The Annual South Island Raw Stand Up Competition and has taught improv and TheatreSports for The Court Theatre.
Michi is passionate about inspiring and mentoring new comedians and performers, applied improv, and therapeutic clowning.
Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg – Canada
Tara is an award winning creator, performer, educator and Artistic Director of Tara Cheyenne Performance. As an educator Tara is fueled by the desire to help performers embody text, character, and creative inspiration and bring integration, joy and freedom to our voices and dynamic bodies. Tara is known for her unique and dynamic hybrid of dance, comedy and theatre. She has choreographed for Bard on the Beach, The Arts Club, Studio 58, The Firehall Arts Centre, Ruby Slippers Theatre, Theatre Under the Stars, and Decidedly Jazz Dance Works among others. When she isn’t teaching and creating innovative movement for theatre she is performing her critically and audience acclaimed full length solos and ensemble works around the world (highlights: DanceBase/Edinburgh, South Bank Centre/London, On the Boards/Seattle USA, High Performance Rodeo/Calgary etc.). Tara lives on the unceded and traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səlil̓wətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation)/East Vancouver with her partner composer Marc Stewart and their son Jasper.
Jeff Gladstone – Canada
Jeff Gladstone is an actor, director and teacher from Calgary where he earned BFA in Drama from U of C. He joined the world-renowned Loose Moose Theatre Company in 1994 where he was a part of the first Maestro & Keith’s series of short surrealist plays, Unzipped. Now living in Vancouver, Jeff is best known as a senior mainstage performer with Vancouver TheatreSports (2000-present), and a director, mentor, teaching artist & actor with Bard on the Beach. Jeff was also a producer, director & actor on The Life Game on CBC Radio. Jeff has led workshops at VTS, UBCP, Capilano University, Trinity Western University, Next Act Theatre Festival, Upfront Theatre, Amsterdam & Prague.
Elena Lah – Turkey
Elena began her relationship with theater in 1992, in the workshop of her high school in Vimercate, near Milan, and during the University at the “Libera scuola di teatro” of Beppe Bettani, with whom she founded the “Compagnia dell’Aria”. In 2006 she began the experience of improv theatre in Teatribù school of Milan. In 2010 she founded, together with other Brianza stage mates, “Improvincia”, a school and company of improv theatre.
Since 2014 Elena has been teaching improv theatre to children aged 7 to 10 and to adults, but she never stops doing internships with masters such as Omar Argentino Galvan, Antonio Vulpio, Randy Dixon, Patti Stiles, Joe Bill, Felipe Ortiz and many others. Since September 2015 she is in the cast of the show “Shhh, an improvised silent movie” by the company of I Bugiardini from Rome. Since November 2015 she has been the representative for Western Europe of the International Theatresports Institute which also represented at the Dubai Conference in November 2017.
In August 2016 and 2018 Elena performed with Bugiardini at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for two weeks each year. In 2017 she created with Martina Pavone, Annalisa Arione, Lara Mottola and Mari Rinaldi Improwow (www.improwow.org), a global initiative that wants to improve the Improv scene from a gender perspective for a more diverse, inclusive and fair Improv community. In may 2019 she has presented her workshop “Silence and other precious metals” In Istanbul.
Inbal Lori – Israel
Inbal Lori is a graduate of Jerusalem Art High School (1994) and Nissan Nativ acting studio (2000). Since then she has been writing and acting for television and theater and has won prizes and scholarships for her acting and writing.
Inbal started improvising in Tel Aviv in 2001 where she had her group 3FALLING and ran an improvisation school in the city from 2013 – 2017. In 2015 Inbal moved to Berlin and since then she has taught and performed all over the world in places like: USA, Canada, Australia and Europe.
Her performances include her solo show “Fragments of Life” and duo shows such as “CLICK” with Tim Orr (San Fransisco), “The Lorilees” with Lee White (Canada), “The Fun Fatales” with Paula Galimberti (Spain) and “Playing with the Enemy” with Arab improviser Zaki Zikani.
Jun Imai – Japan
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Jun Imai lived in California for 8 years and is the Asian Region Representative for the International Theatresports Institute’s Board of Directors. He has studied acting with various teachers, specifically Method Acting with Frank Casaro, Artistic Director of the Actor’s Studio, and improvisation with Keith Johnstone, creator of Theatresports. He has had the pleasure of being the simultaneous interpreter for method acting and improv workshops led by Keith Johnstone, Roberta Wallach, Lyn Pierce, Dennis Cahill, Shawn Kinley, Steve Jarand, and Mark Lamb.
Jun has been coaching and directing improv since 1995 and since 2005 he has directed and produced shows at the Tokyo Comedy Store, in Shibuya, Tokyo. With a cast of over thirty talented improvisors, TCS is one of Japan’s premiere improv groups. He tours Japan regularly and has taught improv, acting, and mask work in six cities this year.
In addition to directing at TCS, he teaches impro, scripted acting, and mask workshops through his own company, in the moment, ltd., and for Tokyo talent agencies. He has worked with both new and well-known film and television actors in Japan.
Kati Schweitzer – Germany
Kati has been a regular performer for various improvisation companies throughout Germany for 12 years. She improvises for all groups with an equal passion – from kids to corporate managers (which, btw, in her opinion hardly differs), and performs in various interactive theatre productions.
She teaches improvisation classes regularly to all ages and backgrounds, infecting as many as she can with the impro virus. Since 2017 she has also been doing this on a grand scale as one of the Artistic Directors of the International Improvisation Festival “Improtheaterfestival Würzburg”.
Veena Sood – Canada
One of the original co-founders of Calgary’s Loose Moose Theatre Company, Veena Sood is an award-winning actress, known for her versatility in theatre, film, television, improv, emcee-ing & teaching improv. She has taught Improv workshops to the animators of Lucas Film & Disney, provides personalized acting coaching for film/TV productions – including the upcoming reboot of The Twilight Zone, and teaches Improv for Actors in various cities.
In 2017 Veena was honored by UBCP/ACTRA with The Lorena Gale Woman Of Distinction Award. UBCP/ACTRA also awarded Veena the Sam Payne Award for her contributions in humanity, artistic integrity and encouragement of new talent.
Veena is a 3-time Jessie Richardson nominee/winner for her theatre work, as well as a 2-time Leo Award nominee/winner for her film/television work over the years.
Currently Veena is the Artistic Director of Keith Johnstone’s The Life Game(Vancouver), which she co-produced 10 episodes for CBC.
Chris Wells – Japan
Chris has been a Tokyo resident since 1994, when he became a founding member of the Tokyo Comedy Store, where he directs Improvazilla, Tokyo’s longest-running monthly improv show, and teaches intro and long-form workshops. He has a BA in Psychology, but years on speech team led him to become a narrator. He is heard around the world on NHK World, in Japan’s national museums, and by passengers of Shinkansen, telling them when the next train for Kyoto or Sapporo departs in a soothing voice.