Alana joins the ITI from the crazy world of Entertainment Journalism for Canadian Film and Television. With a passion for all things arts, she is also an award winning fiber artist, designer and instructor for knitting and crochet enthusiasts and beginners. Once upon a time she wrote an honours thesis in Social Anthropology exploring world youth, music and global/local dynamics. While she herself isn’t very funny she is a die hard fan of classic British comedy. As the Office Administrator, she would like it known that being organized is no laughing matter.
Karen Brown Fournell
Karen Brown Fournell has been the General Manager of Rapid Fire Theatre, the third oldest Theatresports company in the world, for the past 13 years. She has seen the company grow from one weekly show and fewer than 10 corporate bookings per year to three weekly shows, a bi-monthly teen program, four annual festivals and about 100 corporate bookings per year. As an administrator, Karen’s role is to support a highly energetic and slightly attention-deficit-afflicted group of artistic directors and performers, whose first objective, always, is to be funny. Karen is a very serious person.
A native San Franciscan Dan is a co-founder of BATS Improv and co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of Impro Theatre home of LA Theatresports. Dan is happy to back on the ITI Advisory Board after serving in the late 90’s on the original one! Dan has overseen Impro Theatre’s growth from a successful short form improv troupe to a critically acclaimed, nationally recognized improvisational theatre company.
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. Theatre acting credits include the Improbable Theatre’s production of Keith Johnstone’s Life Game (Off-Broadway), and he has appeared in productions with American Conservatory Theatre, A Noise Within, Shakespeare Santa Cruz and The 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 at many other corporations, theatre companies and improvisational theatre festivals around the world.
He is a graduate of the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London and a member of SAG-AFTRA, DGA, AEA and WGA.
Rebecca Northan has been improvising for 28 years. She has been a member of the Loose Moose Theatre company since 1988, and although she no longer lives in Calgary, she shows up at the Moose several times a year. In recent history, Rebecca created the hit-show, Blind Date, which marries improvisation, theatre and clown training in a performance that features an audience member in a lead role. The success of Blind Date has spun off into what Rebecca has dubbed “spontaneous theatre”, and she now has several other projects in development, including “An Undiscovered Shakespeare” at the Stratford Festival of Canada. She has a BFA in Theatre, has been a Sessional Instructor at the University of Calgary, and is a mentor for the Master Acting Class at the Canadian Film Centre. Rebecca also works in mainstream theatre, film, and television.
John Gilchrist is best known for his thirty-eight years as a restaurant critic for CBC Radio Calgary and as a prolific writer on food and restaurants. He also taught Food & Culture programs at the University of Calgary for many years. A native Albertan, he attended the U of C with most of the original members of Loose Moose, graduating in 1977.
Gilchrist was also the first manager of Loose Moose (1979 – 84) and created the role of Commentator for TheatreSports. He performed in many Loose Moose productions including Waiting for Godot and The TheatreSports Hamlet, both directed by Keith Johnstone; Blithe Spirit, directed by Mel Tonken; and the original Moose production of Ben-Hur. He acted as producer on many of the productions and organized the first TheatreSports tournaments between Calgary and Vancouver as well as Moose tours to Quebec and New York.
Gilchrist returns to the Moose for special occasions – the Calgary Winter Olympics, the 25th and 35th Anniversaries – and is now happily enjoying retirement in Calgary with his lovely wife Catherine Caldwell.
Jay Ono was the former Executive Director of world-renowned Vancouver TheatreSports since 1994. He has been instrumental in directing the artistic growth of the organization, while having the vision and business acumen to establish a strong and stable infrastructure. This year, as a result of Jay’s leadership, Vancouver TheatreSports is celebrating 40 years of laughter, making it a pillar of the Vancouver arts community. Jay stepped down from hos position in late 2019 to pursue new opportunities.
His 37 years in the entertainment industry includes producing, consulting, directing, teaching, administrating, and performing. He was chosen as one of B.C.’s Top 40 Under 40 by Business in Vancouver. Jay was instrumental in the purchase and renovation of the historic Stanley Theatre in 1999 and the renovation of a new theatre, The Improv Centre on Granville Island.
During his career has sat on the board of director of the Firehall Arts Centre, Greater Vancouver Theatre Alliance, International Theatresports Institute, La Luna Productions, Pacific Space Centre, Rumble Productions, and Tourism Vancouver. He has directed and produced 13 Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards, and 8 UBCP/ACTRA Awards.
Veena Sood Board Member
Veena Sood is an award-winning actress, known for her versatility in theatre, film, television, impro, emceeing & teaching impro. Veena was one of the co-founders and developers of Calgary’s Loose Moose Theatre Company, best known for their development of the world renowned Theatresports format. By age 20, she had completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at The University of Calgary, where she studied acting with Keith Johnstone. She is the Vancouver artistic director of Keith Johnstone’s improv format The Life Game, which she co-produced 10 podcast episodes of this format for CBC Canada. 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 acting work over the years. She’s also been awarded numerous honors for her body of work, & contributions to the artistic community in Vancouver, B.C. Veena primarily works acting in film & television, as well as teaching impro at Capilano University. Veena recently enjoyed working with Oscar-winning directors Peter Farrelly and Robert Zemeckis, along with appearances in numerous TV series; Twilight Zone, The X-Files, Lucifer, Battlestar Galactica, The Indian Detective, & the upcoming Netflix drama ‘Away’. Veena’s also an outdoor enthusiast; kayaking & hiking the British Columbia coastline and heli-hiking & horseback riding the Canadian Rockies. www.veenasood.com
Mariana Lima Muniz
Mariana Lima Muniz is a Brazilian improviser and Professor at the Department of Theatre, Cinema and Photography at UFMG, one of the most important University of Latin America. She’ve been working with improvisations groups in Spain and Brazil since 1999. She’s the author of the Improvisação como Espetáculo, the first book in Portuguese about improvisation ever published. She’s also a author of many papers about improvisation published in Brazil, Spain, Mexico and Argentina and the producer of an important Brazilian International Impro Festival called FIMPRO.
Emil is based in Trondheim, Norway, where he currently serves as Artistic Director for the voluntary impro company The Impro Operators. When not improvising, he spends his time diligently tapping away on his Master’s thesis in Antarctic history and travelling the world looking for mountains to climb, both metaphorically and literally. Aside from history and climbing, he also enjoys good books, chocolate, and dancing, even though he isn’t very good at that last one.
Emil accidentally stumbled across the work of Keith Johnstone in a high school drama class, and he has since sought out Johnstone’s work wherever he could find it, both in print and in workshops with the man himself. All of this gave him a taste for further exploring improvised theater, and he has spent much of his time since then both seeking out new teachers, and organizing, acting in, and directing improvised shows – among them all of Keith’s formats. He is thrilled to get the chance to help the ITI in its mission to build a sharing and caring global impro community.”
Elena is a graduate in international law. She then became a visual designer, combining these skills with journalism writing, directing and acting, with particular attention to the technique of improvisation.
The mission she likes most is the one of Muse, the cultural association she cofounded, promotes the cultural, historical and artistic Italian richness using new technology. She is a webmaster, a web designer and deals with the content management. These skills help her to create full multimedia products, such as websites, books, videos, promotional campaigns and applications.
She started improvising in 2006 with Teatribù. In 2010 she founded, together with other stage fellows of Brianza, the Cultural Association Improvincia, which is a school and a theater company. She’s now the President of the association.
In 2011 she wrote, directed, starred in and produced MOBY 451, a play dedicated to the tragedy of the fairy Moby Prince, with shows in Milan, Genoa, Taranto and Livorno. In 2013 she founded FRIDA, a sustainable economic reality based on the communication of culture. In July 2015 she organized MITICO – Milano International Theatresports Institute Conference. Since 2015 she is working with I Bugiardini on “Shhhh! An improvised silent movie”, with whom she was at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016.
Arjun Mehra Africa & Middle East Region Representative
Arjun accidentally stumbled upon improv through a meetup group for ‘Improv in the Park’ in Barcelona, and he hasn’t turned back since. He volunteered and performed as part of the ensemble cast at The Courtyard Playhouse in Dubai, where he worked on numerous formats, including Maestro, Gorilla, and TheatreSports. While at the Courtyard, Arjun also produced and directed a comedy duo act named ‘Hummus and Raju’, and a group format named ‘i-Object’. He moved to Bangalore in 2018 and joined Improv Comedy Bangalore (ICB), which hosted India’s first Improv Festival in 2018. He began teaching intensive improv courses for beginners, advanced practitioners, and corporates.
When Arjun is not working on improv, he works as a food critic, restaurant reviewer, and a writer of everything related to gastronomy. His philosophy of life basically revolves around ‘Yes, and’, and ‘Could I have some more, please?’.
Martina Pavone and Kivanç Özdemir
Europe East Regional Representatives
Martina Pavone has been professionally working on Improv for the past 7 years as a performer, teacher, and applied Improv coach. She is specialized in vocal improvisation and tours around Europe with her #improvvocal workshop. Martina is a part of the SABIR Mediterranean group, who work on socio-political Improv. She is also part of the Pandora Festival board and she is the Coordinator of Improwow Project – Women & Inclusion in Improvisation. She collaborates with Assetto Teatro, AZOT Improv, Harlekin Theatre and International Theatresports Institute. As a singer, she works with Maestro Eser Taşkıran in Turkey and Maestro Luca Ruggero Jacovella in Italy.
Martina has made her life all about Improv, using applied improvisation with corporations, NGOs, and schools for the past 10 years. Currently, with her program “Let’s Improv to Improve – Improvisation in Life, Improvisation in Business” she works with Professor Andrea Montefusco and LUISS BUSINESS SCHOOL. As a communications coach she works on interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, public speaking. She also has a special program for Women’s Empowerment: WonderFULL Women and one for teenagers: WonderFULL Teens. Martina is also a Life Coach through Drama and Improv in the IMI middle school in Istanbul, working as a support for teenagers and prevention on violence and bullying. Since 2013 she has been the director of Onar Istanbul, working to fight GBV and empower women.
Kıvanç Özdemir has been working on Improvisation for the past 10 years as a member of AZOT IMPRO. He has been teaching Improv for 5 years, inTurkish and English. He was in the organizational team of the first two Istanbul International Improv Festival. He is a member of SABIR Mediterranean group, who work on socio-political Improv with Italy, Spain, Algeria and Tunisia. With his group he won the first national Improv League in 2016. He is collaborating with the International Theatresports Institute, translating the Theatresports guide in turkish and, together with Martina, bringing different Improvisational Cultures and guests to Turkey (Improvworkshopsinistanbul). He is currently collaborating with Assetto Teatro as a trainer for the master program “La Cantina”. In his free time he is a lawyer, specialized in criminal law and has master of art on forensic medicine working for his own law practice in Istanbul.
Since 2013, he is a board member of ONAR Istanbul working to fight Gender Based Violence and empower women as the Head of the Law Department and Trainer in Universities and Schools about GBV, Divorce, Foreigners, child protection, Integration & Inclusion.
Cam is a school teacher turned improvisation teacher, director, performer and forever-student based in Brisbane, Australia. She started improvising in 2010 with ImproMafia and went on to hold the positions of President and Training Director with the company. Cam has been around Australia and the world teaching, directing and performing improvisation, including her original formats Fears by Firelight, Swipe Right and The New Tales of Quinn. Cam has also produced, directed and performed in Maestro™, Theatresports™ and Gorilla Theatre™ shows. In Brisbane, she teaches impro for personal development, performance and corporate teams. She believes that nothing connects you to the present moment and to other people like improvising theatre.
Jeff was first introduced to improv at the University of Calgary by his acting teacher, Keith Johnstone (creator of Theatresports and author of IMPRO). Jeff joined the Loose Moose Theatre Company that same year and has never looked back. The following year, Jeff began teaching specialty courses in Improv through Status and Mask at the U of C. Jeff relocated to Vancouver in 2000 where he joined the Vancouver TheatreSports. In 2009 along with Veena Sood, Jeff founded Truth Be Told Theatre, a Vancouver company dedicated to performing Keith format, The Life Game.
Jeff works with numerous improv groups including Sour Dog Productions, the producers of the Maestro Impro format in Vancouver. He also is the chair of the Artistic Committee for the 2019 iTi Conference and Festival in Vancouver, Canada. Jeff also has numerous credits in film, television, and live theatre. Jeff is very passionate about improv and Keith Johnstone’s work. He is enthusiastic, articulate, and well organized.
Amy McKenzie is a founding director and General Manager of Oakville Improv Theatre Company in Ontario, Canada, which is in its tenth year. She participated as writer/associate producer of Train 48 (a televised improv serial) and wrote and performed in all five seasons of History Bites as well as voicing and writing sketches for CBC Radio with the Six Flying Hamsters. She works with ArtHouse, teaching improv to youth in the region of Halton. The work of Keith Johnstone has influenced many of her life choices, including her husband of almost thirty years (Duncan McKenzie), who she met at Toronto Theatresports in 1987. She’s honoured to participate in an organization that promotes and disseminates Keith’s work to as many artists and audiences around the world as possible.
Thank you to our past board members!
Daniel Orrantia, Dennis Cahill, Erik Van der Liet, Felipe Ortiz, Frank Totino, Geoffrey Dolan, Helene Abrahamsen, Jukka Lindstrom, Michael Durkin, Nadine Antler, Nathalie van Renterghem, Patti Stiles, Shawn Kinley, Terra Hazelton, Vera Achatkin, Vid Sodnik, Volker Quandt, Jun Imai, Chirs Wells, Doug Wong, Kylie Schultz, Steve Jarand, Neal Leaheey, Marko Mustac