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Susan Messing

Susan Messing, a NJ native and graduate of Northwestern University’s Theatre School, has been an improviser and comedian for over thirty eight years.


She is an alumna of the iO Theatre, Second City’s Mainstage, and a founding member of Chicago’s infamous Annoyance Theatre.


Susan created and has taught her curriculum at iO and iO West, The Annoyance Theatre, The Second City, and around the globe.


Susan has been an adjunct instructor for Loyola University, DePaul University, The School at Steppenwolf, and currently teaches for The University of Chicago. 

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John Lehr is the star/creator/writer for “10 Items or Less” (TBS), “JailBait” (Sony/Crackle) and “Quickdraw” (Hulu).


He created/produced pilots for Fox (“Team McPhearson”), TBS (“John Lehr’s Movie Club”) and Comedy Central (“Let it Ride”). Script/development deals include “Retreat” (NBC), “The Loop” (HBO), Troubadour (MTV), “Life on Mars” (Sony/BBC), “King of Beers” (EUE/Sokolow), “Tommy Chong’s Pipe Dreams” (TBS).

John has appeared in numerous television series, including “Friends” and was a series regular on “Jesse,” both for Warner Brothers/NBC. His feature film roles include “The Sweetest Thing,” and three Noah Baumbach films, “Kicking and Screaming,” “Mr. Jealousy,” and “Highball.”


John’s hosting credits include “News Weasels” for E!; “I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!” for ABC; CBS’ special “Clash of the Commercials” with co-host Heidi Klum; and “John Lehr’s Movie Club” for TBS.

Lehr’s critically acclaimed “Comedic Lectures” solo performances have had sold out runs in LA and New York. He is also a respected improvisational performer having worked at the Organic Theater and Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, the Montreal Comedy Festival, Chicago Improvisational Festival and multiple venues in Los Angeles and New York. Lehr regularly performs stand-up comedy and MC/Hosts events around the country.


Stacey Smith

Stacey has worked in the field for over a decade. She is currently a mainstage cast member at the famous Boom Chicago Theater in Amsterdam and as of September 2022, she is the Artistic Director.

Before that, she taught and managed training centers in Chicago and Boston, including ComedySportz Chicago, ImprovBoston, The Second City, and iO Chicago.

As a performer, Stacey has toured with The Second City and was a featured performer for two of the company’s theatricals, Life Hacks and #DateMe. She has performed shows with renowned talents like Jason Sudeikis (SNL/Ted Lasso), Brendan Hunt (Ted Lasso), Taran Killam (SNL), Arjen Lubach, Chris Redd (SNL), 


Stacey has performed and taught in Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Estonia, Greece, France, Belgium and Canada. She has made 67 appearances at 25 international improv festivals, many of them as a headliner.


Stacey is also the creator of Stacejam, an improvised solo musical extravaganza that has earned her critical acclaim.

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Jules started improvising while studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

After graduating, he was a founder member of the Nursery, where he was Artistic Director for over a decade. During that time, he ran the Nursery Theatre, Broadgate as well as the house team and corporate training programmes. He also co-created Slapdash, London’s first international improv festival.

Jules directed the first run of Impromptu Shakespeare and is still a cast member. He also performs with the Maydays, both in Brighton and with their touring show, Happily Never After.

He co-runs AndAlso Improv, an improv school with classes in Brighton and online. 

As a teacher and coach, Jules specialises in scenework, team dynamics and classic longforms such as the Harold, Deconstruction and Armando. He loves to work experimentally and push the boundaries and expectations of the form.

Heather originally trained in physical theatre and went on to study improvisation at Chicago’s I.O and Annoyance theatres. She improvises with the Olivier award-winning ‘Showstopper! The Improvised Musical’, ‘Blues Hammer’ - an improvised blues show with the legendary Joe Bill, and London’s premier all-female improv team ‘Yes Queens‘. Heather also co-wrote a book on the subject of musical improvisation called ‘Sing it!’ with Maydays colleague and BFF Joe Samuel.

Heather was winner of the award for best female performer in the Brighton Fringe & of the Argus Angel Award for artistic excellence. In a previous life she wanted to front an indie band and has been a vocalist with the Mercury music prize nominated Electric Soft Parade and improvised many a concept album with Fred Deakin of Lemon Jelly.

As a teacher and coach, Heather specialises in musical improv; Singing and movement, but also what musicality can teach us about the ebb and flow of longform improvisation. Her style is that of a nurturing drill sergeant and she loves helping people develop and keep surprising themselves.




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Vincent Van Nieuwenhuyze


Vincent is a professional improv teacher, player and coach from Ghent, Belgium.  By day he’s kicking ass in the corporate world as a project and process manager for a major telecom operator.

By night, and sometimes even in the daytime, he’s playing improv.  
He has performed in over 10 troupes for over 15 years and has been teaching improv in Belgium and on the international improv circuit for over 9 years. 

Some key elements to what Vincent brings to the scene are intimacy, warmth, safety, vocals and a ton of energy to surf on. Within the field of improv, he loves refreshing the basics and keeping the fun in the fundamentals. With a background in social work and education, he loves to find ways to educate society through improv and together create a more diverse, more accepting, warm, and loving environment for all of us to play in.

Throughout the last couple of years, Vincent has taken a deep dive into the  topic of intimacy on stage as well as on the topic of gender in improv and on stage. And what he doesn’t want you to forget is, “you be you!”.


Sara Soukal


Sara Šoukal (Slovenia) is a well seasoned theater artist with years of experience. As an actress and as a pedagogue she is most active in the field of theatrical improvisation, for which she says is her first love.

She fell in love with improv when she was 9 years old and they have been together ever since. Her improv aesthetic is poetic, physical, dream-like and full of details. Nothing escapes her eye. She tends to break patterns, she challenges herself and others with bold offers that are out of the box.
She is determined to put improvisational theater on the map of theater sub genres as an established and recognized performative art.

Lately, she has been setting her foot in other performative fields with great joy and interest. She has been flirting with street theater, devised theater, contemporary dance, object theater and clowning. She is one of the most active and prominent improvisers in Slovenia, working also abroad, in many impro collectives, theatres and associations.

She is part of Ohana and Project Eve collectives respectively. 
Sara has taught and/ or performed in: Seattle, Berlin, Rome, Milano, Uppsala, Gotheborg, Copenhagen, Dublin, Budapest, Prague, Leuven, Amsterdam, Paris, Strasbourg, Graz, Bydgoszcz, Wurzburg, Lyon, Canberra, Sydney, Bogota, Mallorca, etc.

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