Livestreaming – About the Artists

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Current Impro LAB ensemble member Susan Deming is an alumna of The Groundlings Sunday Company, a graduate of The Second City Conservatory and a legacy mainstage performer at iO West. A theatre graduate of Northwestern University, Susan has appeared onstage at The Second City Chicago, Wisdom Bridge Theatre, The Goodman Theatre, Los Angeles Repertory, Circus Theatricals, East West Players and The Odyssey Theatre. She recently starred in Tantalum, an official selection of Tribeca TV Pilot Season. Additional credits include It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Tim & Eric's Awesome Show, Good Job!, The Affair and Fresh Off the Boat plus feature films Prison Logic, An American Carol, The Husband and The Browsing Effect . Susan leads a double life as a Casting Director, specializing in comedy.

Joe Bill is widely regarded as one of the best teachers of Scenic and Comedic Improvisation in America today. He is one of the founding members of Annoyance Theater Chicago where, for 12 years, he performed in and/or directed more than 60 different shows. He is the Director of Corporate Training at iO Chicago and is a Guest Artist in Residence at The Second City Training Center where he teaches intensives in Duo Improvisation and Improvisation for Actors. Joe first learned Improvisation and in 1977 studied and worked with Del Close from 1985 through the mid 90’s. Joe is ½ of the original improvised Monoscene (we used to call it “Real Time”), BASSPROV with Mark Sutton, (Annoyance Theater Co-Founding Member and Artistic Director for Training and Development at The Second City). They have been heralded by the NY TIMES: "BASSPROV refreshingly has the feel of a quiet character study...jokes emerge organically, using wordplay, character quirks and quicksilver wit." Joe tours all over the world, teaching and headlining with extremely talented Duo partners like Jill Bernard (Huge Improv Theater – Mpls.) in their hit show SCRAM!, with Lee White (CRUMBS – Winnipeg, Berlin) in their heroic Duo show PARADIGM, with International Improv Legend Patti Stiles (AD - Impro Melbourne) in their groundbreaking show Our Play, Stacey Hallal (Curious Comedy Theater – Portland, OR) in Stacey & Joe and We Slept Together, Heather Urquhart (Improviser/Director The Maydays & Showstopper The Improvised Musical – London/U.K.) in their magical improvised Musical Blues Hammer (with the stupendous Joe Samuel on Improvised Orchestra) and with David Razowsky (Host A.D.D. Comedy Podcast) in Razowsky & Bill. He’s played with many other Duo partners, in the U.S. and abroad, in many Festival Ensemble shows and in every improvised format and/or style imaginable. For the last 6 years he has also been teaching and performing in French, in many cities in France, Belgium & Luxembourg. He is living his dream! He has played as a guest in Play Unscripted with ImproTheatre L.A., Grand Theft Impro at Impro Melbourne (Australia), The Scene at The PIT in New York City and UCB in L.A., with Let’s Have A Ball and ASSSSCAT 3000 at UCB Theater in New York & L.A. and with Kornfeld & Andrews at Magnet Theater in New York City. He has performed, directed, taught and served as an Artistic Adviser for a number of Improvisation/Comedy Theaters & Festivals all over North America, Europe, Australia and South Africa and at every major Improv Festival in The United States.

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. In Berlin she is working and coaching the improvisation groups Die Gorillas and ImproBerlin. https://inbalori.com

Edi Patterson (Impro Theatre) plays Judy Gemstone on HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones, and is also a writer for the series. Other credits include Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, Troop Zero, and Between Two Ferns: The Movie, Vice Principals, and The Last O.G. She plays Mertha and Anna Nanna on the upcoming Cartoon Network series The Fungies, and has guest written for SNL. In addition to being a company member with Impro Theatre, Edi is also a Main Company member of The Groundlings. @EdiPattersonHi

Stephen Kearin (Impro Theatre) began his career in 1987 with Bay Area Theatresports in San Francisco, where he was a company member for 14 years. He was a founding member of Improv Theater and True Fiction Magazine. Stephen is currently a member of the critically-acclaimed improv ensembles Impro Theatre in Los Angeles, (Nominated for an Ovation Award for The Western UnScripted) and 3 FOR ALL (celebrating their 24th season) Other stage productions include the stilt-walking Iago in San Francisco Opera's Otello, Sally-Sue Weber in A Weber Family Christmas and he originated the role of Movie Mega-Superstar, Blaine Bustier in An Evening With Dirk & Blaine. Stephen is the co-creator of "Simlish" and was the principal male voice of The Sims, Sims 2 and Sims Medieval. He created the Martian languages for Disney’s Mars Needs Moms and Supergirl. He is featured in the DreamWorks Animation films Kung Fu Panda 1-3, Madagascar 2&3, Monsters Vs. Aliens, Megamind, The Penguins of Madagascar and Home. He portrays the role of Sergeant Geller on Amazon Prime’s WAYNE. He has performed his solo show INSIDE OUT to sold-out houses in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Stephen has served as a visiting instructor at Stanford University, The US Olympic Ski Team, Disney & Dreamworks Animation and Cirque Du Soleil. Stephenkearin.com

Luke Sorba is an improviser, actor, writer and facilitator who co-founded legendary UK impro group Spontaneous Combustion, and was also founder member of Theatresports in the UK. He also devised “The Improvasprint”, hosted the impro podcast "Sounds Right" for Lush Life and chaired the impro panel game "You asked for It" for BBC Radio 4, He has performed all over the UK, USA, Canada and Australia and shared the stage with Paul Merton, Josie Lawrence, Tony Slattery, Eddie Izzard, Cariad Lloyd, Greg Proops, Ruth Bratt, Ross Noble, Pippa Evans, Marcus Brigstocke, Rachel Parris, Mike McShane and Patti Stiles and recently completed a four year residency at The London Improv Theatre. He is also the writer and lead actor in BBC Radio sitcoms “The World as We Know It”, and “Losers” (with Niall Ashdown) and was a writer on the BBC TV Sitcom “Mad About Alice”. A globally experienced teacher, he is also Director of Improvisation at London’s The Comedy School. Luke lives in London, UK. www.lukesorba.com

Patti Stiles is an actor, director, playwright and teacher who specialises in improvisational theatre. She is a member of the ITI Artistic Committee (CA), a founding member of the award winning Die Nasty – improvised soap opera (CA) and former Artistic Director of Rapid Fire Theatre (CA) and Impro Melbourne (AU). Her tutelage was a spark of inspiration for the birth of London’s Spontaneity Shop and she is a regular teacher / director for Closer Each Day (UK), Improverket (SW), Smoking Sofa (FR), Teatro A Molla (IT) and I Bugardini (IT), B.L.U.E – the musical (IT), Courtyard Playhouse (UAE) and the award winning Austentacious (UK). Her mentorship has strongly influenced many improvisors and improvisation companies all over the world.

Jeff Thompson (IG/TW - @oneblackjeff) is an actor, writer, professor and tax professional from Los Angeles. He teaches sketch at The Ruby LA (https://therubyla.com/) and improv at Impro Theatre and the Westside Comedy Theater (http://westsidecomedy.com/). His favorite part about improvising is the ability to create a feeling of connection between oneself and your teammates in the moment, and being able to give the audience the ability to experience a wide range of emotions.

Rebecca Stockley Co-Founder of BATS Improv in San Francisco, Rebecca played TheatreSports in Seattle at Unexpected Productions for several years before moving to San Francisco where she and her husband Paul Killam live in a forest and teach and perform improvisation. Since March 2020, Rebecca has been teaching online, and has created an online improv performance format called: EavesDropping.

Nadine Antler has been involved with improvisation since 1998. She is actor, host, director, teacher and loves to develop concepts for the stage. She co-founded the improvisation ensemble Der Kaktus in Wuerzburg. She now mainly works with the company Steife Brise in Hamburg and lives in Hausen – a small village in the beautiful and peaceful centre of Germany. Nadine is a passionate teacher for improvised theatre as well as for applied improvisation. She is one of the officially recommended teachers by the ITI for Theatresports™. Nadine has performed and taught at festivals in South and North America as well as Australia and Africa and regularily performs at various improvisation festivals around Europe. Nadine loves improvisation, because of the commitment to the moment and to the people around you. There is no right or wrong, just what is truly in front of you right now. It is always new and the best school for life one can imagine. www.nadineantler.de www.derkaktus.de www.steife-brise.de

Kelly Holden Bashar (Impro Theatre) was most recently seen on Marlon, just shot a pilot for Disney, and she played Martin Freeman’s wife Pearl Nygaard in the Golden Globe and Emmy-winning hit miniseries Fargo on FX. Some of her other recent credits include Scorpion, Speechless, Parks and Recreation, 2 Broke Girls, Dog With A Blog, and Gilmore Girls. She co-starred with Rita Rudner in the film Thanks and just appeared with her Off-Broadway in Two’s A Crowd. Kelly is also a writer, and one of the credits she is most proud of is being the co-writer of (and portraying “Pippin” in) the critically acclaimed play Fellowship! The Musical Parody of “The Fellowship of the Ring.” In addition to being a Main Company member at Impro Theatre, Kelly is also part of the teaching faculty. Her best role, by far, is mom to Brooke and Maggie.

Mike Rock (Impro Theatre) is a Wisconsin native whose TV credits include Black-ish, The Goldbergs, Modern Family, Chelsea Lately, After Lately, The Mentalist, Monk, Conan O’Brien, Law & Order and many commercials & voiceovers. Mike’s extensive background in theatre, improv and sketch comedy includes being the former Artistic Director of Madison, WI TheatreSports and co-founding/co-producing the NYC sketch group The Bert Fershners, seen on Comedy Central, MTV, VH1 and Ch4 UK. He has worked with the Educational Theatre Association and International Thespian Society for many years, presenting improv, acting and voiceover classes at festivals and schools all over the U.S. Mike performed as a guest artist with Impro Theatre for over 5 years before joining the main company in January 2017, and he is also a faculty member at the Impro Theatre School.

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Jun Imai lived in California for 8 years and served as the Asian Region Representative for the International Theatresports Institute’s Board of Directors for 8 years. 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. He has taught in Canada, Germany, Italy, China and Hong Kong, and Dubai. He has been coaching and directing improv since 1995 and in 2005 he began to direct and produce 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 is invited to teach improv, acting, and mask work in eight cities in Japan other than Tokyo each year. A prolific writer, he published “It’s Hard to be Free- an Impro Manual” based on his experience with bringing improv to the Japanese in 2006. It’s been a long-term best-seller in the theater community since then. He followed up in 2009 and 2010 with the three-volume “Japanese Who’ve Begun to Improvise: Keith Johnstone’s Impro”, and “Keith Johnstone in Japan” in 2013. Imai’s books have earned him praise as a thoughtful and incisive teacher and director. 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-know film and television actors in Japan. He feels strongly that Japanese actors and Japanese society as a whole can benefit from what impro has to offer and is currently working on several books, including one with Zen and improvisation to bridge the gap between this most Western of arts and traditional Eastern philosophy.

Eric Carthen is from Highland, CA and is an Actor, Improvistor, and Storyteller. He has done Improv and Sketch at Impro Theatre, California Lutheran Improv Troupe, and Second City Hollywood. Through all the plays, short films, shows, and auditions; progress and the enjoyment of the work is what gets him through. Life Motto: "Live and be a blessing unto someone else"

Lena Breuer studied acting and journalism and lost her heart to improv 10 years ago. Since then, she is teaching and performing in Germany and all over Europe. She taught at the international festival in Amsterdam and will teach at the Moscow improv fest 2020, the Vancouver improv festival 2020 and the swiss improv festival SPUNK 2020. She worked with improv superheroes like Keith Johnstone and Patti Stiles, performed and on festivals in Finland, France, Poland, Ireland, Romania, Greece and all over Germany, worked in physical and scripted theatre and clowning. In 2019 she spent the summer in the US, studied improv and comedy at the IO and travelled to Texas and Florida to perform and teach. She is the founder of Impro Köln, a professional improv company in Cologne / Germany and the Impro Fest Online, the first ever online improv festival, created in times of the Corona Pandemic. Recently she is concentrating on corporate work, hosting panel discussions and development events, coaching young professionals and executives. In her workshops, she is using improv techniques to make professionals think out of their boxes, give them the possibilities to be creative and adapt to new processes. Lena is also working as an actress for assessments centers and development events. Some of her clients, Lena worked with in the last years: Evonik, Archdiocese Köln, Lufthansa, Allianz Versicherung, University of Dortmund, University of Cologne, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (federal ministry of education and research) and many more. Lena is also working as a professional tv producer for Germany ́s biggest tv stations like ZDF, WDR, ARD and Arte. She is producing documentations and reports about political and social topics, working worldwide. She is also working for the weekly primetime political talk show “Hart aber fair”. Lena has been in many radio shows in German radio – as a host, but also, as a reporter and sidekick. Nowadays she is working as a live reporter for the public radio station WDR2 and 1LIVE.

Rebekah Chang is an Impro Theatre fan-for-life and is forever grateful for being an Impro student and supporter. She is available immediately for any work as long as there’s a craft services table readily available. Her most noteworthy role (and most favorite) to date is that of “Nurse Yee” where she worked with the infamous Dan O’Connor and Stephen Kearin.

Veena Sood is one of the co-founders and developers of Calgary’s Loose Moose Theatre Company. By age 20, she had completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at The University of Calgary, where she studied drama with Keith Johnstone, and helped originate Calgary’s Loose Moose Theatre Company. She is the Vancouver artistic director of Keith Johnstone’s impro format The Life Game, which she co-produced 10 LifeGame podcast episodes for CBC Canada. Veena primarily works acting in film & television, as well as teaches impro to film students at Vancouver’s Capilano University. She’s also been awarded numerous honors for her body of work & contributions to the artistic community in Canada. Veena recently enjoyed working with Oscar-winning directors Peter Farrelly and Robert Zemeckis, along with guest appearances in numerous TV series; Twilight Zone, Netflix’ Away, A Million Little Things, The X-Files, Lucifer, Nancy Drew, & the upcoming Netflix series Super Pups. Veena’s an outdoor enthusiast; kayaking & hiking the British Columbia coastline and heli-hiking & horseback riding the Canadian Rockies. www.veenasood.com

Lisa Rowland has been improvising for more than twenty years. She is the Artistic Director of BATS Improv, Northern California’s most renowned improvisational theatre company, and a lecturer teaching improvisation in the Theatre and Performance Studies department of Stanford University. A performer, teacher and trainer of improvisation, Lisa is a member of acclaimed improv groups Improv Playhouse of San Francisco and Awkward Dinner Party, and has taught and performed at several international improvisation festivals, most recently, as a guest at the International Theatresports Institute conference and festival in Vancouver, teaching a format she created at BATS -- The Bechdel Test -- which centers multi-faceted women as the protagonists of patient, grounded stories. Lisa is a believer in the power of improvisation principles to make life richer and more joyful, and she explores these ideas as a co-host of the podcast Monster Baby: A Curious Romp Through The Worlds of Mindfulness and Improvisation.

Leanna Dindal, a Los Angeles native, is a member of the Impro LAB and a graduate of The Second City Conservatory. She loves the sense of connection improvisation fosters between players and the philosophy that the smallest of offers can lead to something great. She also writes for television animation (Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse).

Stella Duffy has been improvising since the late 1980s primarily with London Theatresports, Improbable Theatre and Spontaneous Combustion. She is also an award-winning novelist, playwright and short story writer, and is currently training as an Existential Psychotherapist. Which fits perfectly with 40 years of impro.

Feña Ortalli began his acting career in 2001. In 2006 he created Global Impro, an improv troupe dedicated to national and international collaboration and exchange. He's currently based in Madrid where he performs and teaches with the most important companies in the city. Since 2011 he writes, edits, and directs Status, a digital magazine about improvisation, published in seven languages. He's also the author of the book Impro: Dynamics of the Unexpected (2018). Since 2001 he has taught and performed in different cities in over 20 countries. Currently based in Madrid, Spain. I love improvising because I get to learn from other people on stage. www.globalimpro.com https://www.facebook.com/fena.ortalli

Michele Spears, a founding member of Impro, is an actor, improviser, stage director, choreographer, and arts educator. Her work has been presented at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival, London’s Covent Gardens, The O’Neill Theater Center, The Ojai Playwrights Conference, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, L.A.’s Musical Theatre Guild at the Pasadena Playhouse, The New York Musical Theatre Festival, Disney/ASCAP Workshop, REDCAT, Cornerstone, The El Portal, The L.A. Gay Men’s Chorus, Jacaranda, and the Migrant Youth Theatre Project, among others. She has received New York Nightlife, L.A. Weekly, Saturn, UNIMA, StageScene L.A., Dramalogue, and Santa Barbara Independent awards, as well as Ovation and American Choreographers Award nominations. Most recently, she guest starred in the Fox/Hulu pilot The Ms. Pat Show. Michele is a graduate of NYU/TISCH, a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab West, and teaches theatre at Harvard-Westlake School. michelespears.com

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