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 is a 20+-year veteran of arts administration, and a 20+-year journalist before that. She has most recently served with Rapid Fire Theatre, the third-oldest Theatresports Company in the World, taking that organization on a 10-fold evolution of production, staff, artists and budget to become one of the busiest, most diverse and energetic theatre producers in Edmonton, with tendrils across the globe. President of the International Theatresports Institute for the past eight years, she works to strengthen the service model, increase education opportunities and boost the network that is the global improv community. She fully embraces the improv tenet to make the other guy look good. Since stepping back from her role with RFT in the fall of 2020, she has taken on smaller projects with arts groups and non-profits in Edmonton. She fully embraces the improv tenet to make the other guy look good.
John Gilchrist Board Member
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.
Veena Sood Board Member
Jill Johnson Treasurer
Helén Vikstvedt Board Member
Helén Vikstvedt is and actor, dancer and comedian. She is a graduate of both the Norwegian National Ballet School and the Norwegian National Theatre School. She has been working for many years as actor, dancer and choreographer at, amongst others, the National Theatre of Norway and the Oslo New Theatre. Helén has specialized in improvised theatre and has several times been Nordic champion in Theatresports. In 2005 Helén had great success in the role of Selma in the Norwegian film comedy “37 ½”. She played the roll of Raspa in the childrens film comedy “Dr. Proctor and the Time-travelling Bathtub” and in 2018 Helén featured in the Finnish heavy metal comedy “Hevi Reissu” She is currently in production on a new Norwegian sitcom to be released in 2021. As a curiosity Helén is also the Norwegian champion (veteran class) in Kettlebell sport.
Martina Pavone Board Member
Martina Pavone has been on a stage since she was 5 years old, she studied Theatre, Musical Theatre, and Music. Later she became a professional Improvisor touring all around Europe thanks to her special project #improvvocal, the marriage of vocal improvisation and improvisational theatre. She is currently based in Istanbul, Turkey and she also works as a Corporate Trainer, Consultant and Coach collaborating with Universities and NGOs using Applied Improvisation techniques and playful approaches on topics such as communication, leadership, change management, group behaviour, diversity and inclusion. She co-founded the WonderFULL Academy - an online platform for digital learning and she is the creator of WonderFULL Women, an initiative that promotes and empowers women.
Hashm Nasser Board Member
Hashm began improvising at the Loose Moose Theatre Company in 1985 and has been involved in the improvisation and comedy community in Canada in a variety of roles including performing, writing, directing and administration. He also spent ten years with Rapid Fire Theatre, working with outstanding individuals at Edmonton’s most well-known and oldest improvisational theatre. He has worked in the private sector and owned his own businesses. Recently retired after a thirty year career with the Government of Canada, Hashm received his Bachelor’s of Commerce from the University of Calgary in 1988 and his MBA from Queen’s University in 2007. He is also very involved in his community, coaching hockey for nearly 20 years, and as the current vice president of Hockey Operations for his local hockey association. Hashm currently lives in Ottawa, Canada with his three wonderful daughters and is honoured to be working with the ITI.
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 and Artistic Director
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?’.
Europe East Regional Representative
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. Jeff joined the Loose Moose Theatre Company that same year and has never looked back. The following year, Jeff began teaching specialty courses in Status and Mask at the U of C. Jeff relocated to Vancouver in 2000 where he joined the local improv scene, performing in sold out shows for multiple companies. In 2009 along with Veena Sood, Jeff founded Truth Be Told Theatre, a Vancouver company dedicated to performing Keith’s format, The Life Game.
Jeff works constantly in theatre and film, while investing all the rest of his time to improvisation, both as the director of education for the new Tightrope Impro Theatre in Vancouver, and as a regional representative and Artistic Director for the International Theatresports Institute.
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, Jay Ono, Vid Sodnik, Jun Imai, Chris Wells, Doug Wong, Kylie Schultz, Steve Jarand, Neal Leaheey, Marko Mustac, Dan O'Connor, Rebecca Northan