AIN 2019 Learning Journeys!
The AIN 2019 Learning Journeys are an incredible opportunity to explore and experience New York City and Stony Brook; including different neighborhoods, food, and cultures. In working with our conference theme; Communicating Beyond Borders and Barriers: Applications of Improv in Society – we’ve put together an unusual array of experiences that explore this vital theme in many different ways. We at AIN are deeply appreciative of the AIN members and supporters who have been so generous of their time and resources to make these Learning Journeys possible. Enjoy, learn, and grow!
Wednesday, August 7, 2019 — New York City
Big Apple Writers Workshop: Capturing the Power of Applied Improv in Words
Time: 10 am-5 pm
Location: Manhattan, NYC
For who: Intermediate experience with an interest in writing and book publishing
Number of participants: 22
Participants will need: Laptop, snacks, water
Explore a bit of NYC, hone your writing about Applied Improvisation, and improvise with a leading literary agent. The day begins with a playful, interactive session of doing and writing about Applied Improvisation with Caitlin McClure and Theresa Dudeck, editors of Applied Improvisation: Leading, Collaborating and Creating Beyond the Theatre at a midtown rehearsal studio. After lunch, participants will go to the offices of Jim Levine, of the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, one of the biggest literary agents in the U.S. Jim and team will lead a fun and low pressure improv session on how to pitch your Applied Improv book ideas in creative and practical ways, how to get an agent and get published. The session will end with honing our text, sharing what we’ve learned, and an invitation to keep observing and writing about the four-day conference (with an end of conference check in.) Whether you currently write – for your website, a case study, an article, grant proposal, or book – or aspire to learn the how-to’s, you will leave this Learning Journey with a deeper understanding of your own unique approach to Applied Improvisation work and how you can share it with the world.
Theresa Robbins Dudeck, Ph.D. has taught improvisation all over the world in both academic and professional settings. She is considered one of the foremost teachers of Keith Johnstone’s impro system of training. Theresa co-founded the Global Improvisation Initiative (GII) which will have its second symposium, co-hosted by Improbable theatre company and Middlesex University (London), in May 2019. Theresa is an Applied Improvisation specialist who facilitates workshops and training sessions in leadership, team building, presentation and communication, change management, co-constructed learning, etc., for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
James Levine, of the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, is one of the biggest literary agents in the U.S. Jim has spent most of his career putting together ideas, people, and money; identifying, nurturing, marketing talent; and creating projects that make a difference. Jim graduated Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude from Amherst College, winning Woodrow Wilson, Fulbright, and Ford Foundation Fellowships. He holds two advanced degrees in English Literature from UC Berkeley, where he specialized in Shakespeare and modern literary criticism, and a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has written seven books and over 100 articles for popular and professional magazines.
Caitlin McClure has been researching, studying, performing, directing and teaching improv and Applied Improv since 1995. Her formative years were spent at BATS Improv in San Francisco and studying with Keith Johnstone. For five years, she redesigned and delivered Tiffany & Company’s three core management development programs. She has also worked extensively as an external consultant, including her current role at Impact, designing and facilitating play-based experiential learning programs. Her MA is in Adult Learning and Leadership from Columbia University. She lives in New Rochelle, New York.
Foundations of Freestyle (Improv Rapping) and other Cultural Experience-Benders
Time: 10 am-5 pm
Location: Manhattan, NYC
For who: All who are interested
Number of participants: 22
Participants will need: Comfortable clothing,
We’ll start off the day with a uniquely NYC musical and or theatrical experience (think rehearsal of the awesome Shakespeare in the Park production of Corialonus, or maybe hanging out with the performers at the Metropolitan Opera House, or something else equally fantastic). We’ll share this amazing experience together, for inspiration, fun, exposure to new things and then share lunch either in the park or somewhere else fun.
Then we’ll get to a studio (either the Ars Nova’s penthouse or the Greenwich House Music School in the West Village), and we’ll start our Freestyle journey in the flesh. Participants will be introduced to hip hop history and the origins and ethos of Freestyle Love Supreme, focused on love and truth. Then on to beatbox, gibberish rap, and “portkey” skills! With careful attention to creating a comfortable environment for all, we’ll help you find your MC voice, lead group work around hooks and personal storytelling and end with a sharing out of our collective work with group musical performances.
Anthony Veneziale (aka Two-Touch) has been performing and teaching improv for over twenty years and is a leader in the field of musical improvisation. He is a founding member of Freestyle Love Supreme (NYC) and American Immigrants (SF). He has used these techniques to help create endeavors with Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, In the Heights, The Electric Company), Daveed Diggs (The Freeze), numerous networks (HBO, TBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, PBS) and companies (Radical Media, Google, Salesforce). Veneziale co-founded Speechless, an improv thinking company based in San Francisco and has appeared on Sex and the City, All My Children, Looking and The Electric Company, as well as the tv show Freestyle Love Supreme.
Community Building, Playing Across Boundaries, and Improvising on Stage and Off
Time: 1 pm-8:30 pm
Location: 42nd Street – Indoors and outdoors
For who: Everyone and anyone
No. Participants: 24
PART 1: Spend the afternoon improvising, performing and growing at the National Headquarters of the All Stars Project on 42nd Street — a center for performance, youth development, and activism. This unique community-based, privately-funded nonprofit transforms the lives of youth and poor communities using the developmental power of performance, in partnership with caring adults. Along with AIN members, this Learning Journey will include All Stars program staff and community organizers, youth participants, adult students, teachers, performers, and volunteers. After a tour and an interactive panel of All Stars constituents, participants will have a chance to experience some of the creative, improvisational activities and programs of the All Stars, including its unique grassroots fundraising model by joining a community outreach Street Performance on 42nd Street! Playing Across Boundaries, a group improv game share, will happen concurrently.
Part 2: NYC is filled with talented improv comedians – all with a story and a life offstage! We can learn from other improvisers, especially those performing many shows per week, about how they’re living and sharing the improv principles even if they aren’t teaching or focusing on applied improv training specifically. And so for our second part of Community Building, Playing Across Boundaries, and Improvising on Stage and Off, improv comedians from the UCB, The Pit, The Magnet, and elsewhere will come together for an improv jam, and afterwards participate on a panel/roundtable discussion with audience members to talk together about how they/we are applying improv philosophy in our lives offstage.
Mary Lemmer is an entrepreneur, improv comedian, and the founder of Improv4, leadership trainings applying improv comedy to training leadership skills, team effectiveness, and communication. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Minor in Environmental Science, and Certificate in Entrepreneurship from the College of Engineering. She also studied improv and comedy writing at The Second City and The Annoyance in Chicago, UCB and People’s Improv Theatre in NYC, EndGames Improv and Bay Area TheatreSports in San Francisco, and other workshops with Groundlings and the Vancouver Improv Festival. Mary has performed improv and comedy all over the country, including at Gilda Radner’s Laughfest, The Punch Line in San Francisco, and the Lady Laughs Comedy Festival.
David Nackman is the Creative Director and a co-founder of Performance of a Lifetime. He has dedicated his career as a director, Broadway actor, trainer, improviser, and coach to revealing to the “non-performers” of the world that the tools of theater are a powerful force in professional and personal development. David has been an innovator in introducing the skills of improvisation as a method for creating effective, authentic, and powerful presentation, leadership brands and business communication. He has created and delivered a wide range of experiential education programs for a global portfolio of clients, and through his decades of work with the All Stars Project he has been instrumental in bringing the transformative power of improv and performance to inner-city young people and poor communities.
Gloria B. Strickland has a forty-year record of commitment, innovative leadership and service to youth growing up in poor communities. She is currently VP of Youth & Community Development for the All Stars Project, Inc., providing coaching and training to All Stars youth program team members across the country. For the past twenty years she has led the All Stars Project of New Jersey’s Afterschool Development programs and initiatives in Newark and surrounding communities reaching 2,000 poor youth annually with high quality and popular after-school programs, financially supported by more than 1,000 individuals and corporations. Gloria received her B.A. from Hofstra University and an M.A. in Educational Psychology from New York University.
Seven Senses Stroll, and Following the Follower with Tango and Improvisation
Time: 10 am-5 pm
Location: Outside in NYC, and in a rehearsal studio
For who: All who are interested
Number of participants: 16
Participants will need: Comfortable clothing, rain gear in case it rains
Part One begins with a Seven Senses Stroll; a tour of you, set in New York City. We visit places that personify aspects of New York, for each of your five senses: Taste, Smell, Touch, Hearing, and Sight. But did you know you have unlimited senses? Along the way, we’ll explore what other senses are important to our special AIN group, e.g. a sense of play, intuition, freedom, confidence, safety, intimacy, strength, etc. Each person chooses two, and we improvisationally explore those en route between our locations. New York is a city in constant creativity. Discover New York like artists. Experience your peak senses piqued!
Part Two: With our senses fine tuned and warmed up we’ll segue into a different kind of “senses-making”. Viola Spolin coined the phrase “follow the follower” to describe the moment in a mirror when neither partner knows who is leading, and it seems, magically, to lead itself. Basic tango is simply two people walking together. One is the “leader,” one “follows.” A world-class tango instructor will teach two simple tango walks. We will walk as pairs and have the experience of trading lead/follow roles. Periodically, we will ask some process questions. The focus of the workshop is not to learn dance steps, but to try to understand our experience of leading, following, and partnering, when we look through a different lens than usual. We will explore our ability to remain open to the partner, even when things don’t go “as expected.” Can lead/follow work refine our ability to become better improvisors and trainers? These, and other questions will be explored in a group debriefing at the end.
Barbara Ann Michaels is a performance artist who creates humorous participatory artworks that foster deep human connection – via people feeling seen, heard, and celebrated. She is a “jester of the peace”, and also trains facilitators on the universal rules of body language and humor, in both corporate and community settings. As an artist, she has appeared at The Miami Project with Claudine Maidique Gallery, New York Clown Theatre Fest, 20th chashama gala, GlassHouse ArtLifeLab, International Human Rights Arts Festival, Susan Eley Fine Art, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Museum of Science, San Francisco Fringe, and secretly as a rogue artist at MoMA. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Massachusetts College of Art. She was born on November 14th, and chooses to believe she was conceived on Valentine’s Day, thus born to love.
Terry Sommer performed for 8 1/2 years in Chicago City Limits. She logged 1500 performances, and co-created about 40 corporate industrial shows. She is currently directs the Morchand Center at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, using a type of applied improvisation in medical education. She also teaches improv to medical students.
The Quest NYC
Time: 10 am-5 pm
Location: Indoors/outdoors in Manhattan
For who: Everyone, no experience required
Number of participants: 20
Participants will need: Comfy shoes, rain gear in case of rain
What better way to experience this iconic city than to embark on an improvised adventure across the urban landscape of New York City? The Quest is a one-of-a kind experience where improvisation, storytelling, urban exploration, and magic meet. An improvisational structure developed by the legendary improv guru Del Close, The Quest will help you become a more engaged listener, be more present, curious, and attentive, increase your self-awareness and be more open to new experiences. The Quest takes the “improvisational mindset” (normally reserved for the stage) out into the everyday world and culminates in casual conversation and storytelling, sharing experiences, insights, and discoveries that unfolded during that process. It will help you understand the significance of the larger patterns that unfold on the stage, in your life and the world.
Jeanne Lambin of Lamb Ink has performed, presented, and conducted workshops and training in the US, Europe, and Asia, exploring how improv and storytelling can help us create better places to live, work, and play. She has spent much of her career in heritage conservation, helping people to rescue things they care about, whether random archaeological sites, abandoned buildings, discarded documents, forgotten histories, overlooked periods of architecture. A common thread in her Jeanne’s work is a desire to connect people to people, places, and things that they care about and give them the tools that they need to take meaningful action and inspire change. She has facilitated the Quest at several of our past AIN conferences.
Learning Journeys on Thursday, August 8 — NYC and Stony Brook
Introduction to Applied Improvisation
Time : 10 am-5 pm
Location: Wang Center at Stony Brook University
For who: Novice and up
Number of participants: 24
Are you taking your first steps into the world of Applied Improvisation? Would you like to learn more and/or refresh your practice? This full-day session is a delightful blend of immersion, information, and play experience. Facilitator Patrick Short will cover getting started, core concepts, client needs, and content customization. The day will include learning new tools, new ideas, reflection on it all, and also how to get the most out of your AIN Conference experience. Participants will play and discuss, with the emphasis on play!
Patrick Short began performing and teaching improvisation with Comedy Sports (CSz), San Jose in 1993 concurrent with a high-tech career. In 2000, he left high tech sales and launched CSz Portland, an improvisational company. A longtime member of the Applied Improvisation Network, Patrick has guided companies with Applied Improvisation training since 1989, including Nike, Intel, Google, IBM, Apple and hundreds more. He is also the co-author (with Jill Bernard) of Jill and Patrick’s Small Book of Improv for Business, wrote the Customer Service chapter for Yes And Your Customer Service, and has taught many Train the Trainer sessions for AIN and CSz.
Improvisation Yes! The Art of Risk
Time: 10 am-4 pm
Location: The Jazz Loft in Stony Brook*
For who: Music enthusiasts, or wanna be enthusiasts
No. Participants: 24
Improvisation, exploration, and New York are some of the embedded genetic traits of jazz music. So what better way to expand your applied improvisation skills than through one of the great artistic contributions the world has seen? This is a performance based session open to all voices, sounds and instruments. Taught by Stony Brook University Artist in Residence, Dr. Tom Manuel, we’ll explore sources and techniques of musical improvisation: practice and skills, playfulness, emotion, courage, will, concentration, risk, the power of limits, patience, trust and dedication.This interactive session will be hands, feet, voice and body on — participants with no or lots of experience will improvise from moment one, learning the importance of improvisation in Jazz as well as in life. We’ll be exploring the art of spontaneous, improvisatory, jazz improvisation and musicians (and non-musicians) of all levels of ability are invited to attend! A variety of exercises and techniques will be explored with the goal of expanding each musicians pallet of individual creative expression.
* this Learning Journey takes place in the town of Stony Brook, off campus. Transportation options will be made available to and from the Wang Center if needed.
Tom Manuel is a Jazz historian, music educator and trumpet player. As the recent recipient of an endowed Scholar in Residence Chair within the Jazz department at Stony Brook University, Manuel directs the Stony Brook University Young Artist Program jazz program, in residence at the Jazz Loft. Manuel has been cited for his accomplishments by The NYTimes, Downbeat Magazine, Newsday, Jazz Inside Magazine, Jazz Ed Magazine and has been featured with his Big Band ensemble on radio and television. Most recently Manuel established a music program for underprivileged students in Port Au Prince, Haiti, and was honored as the guest speaker for the graduation ceremony for the Greater Vision Christian School in New Kru Town, outside the capital city of Monrovia in Liberia, Africa. Manuel dedicates his professional efforts to both the preservation of Long Island’s jazz history as well as presenting it to future generations.
Changing How We Perform Healthcare: The Joy Of Dementia And Improvising With Autism
Day & Time: 9 am-2 pm
Location: Harlem, NYC
For who: People in the healthcare field/those who want to humanize healthcare
No. Participants: 24
Note: Participants will plan to travel together to the conference site in Stony Brook by Long Island Railroad following this Learning Journey.
There is a growing movement of practitioners who are finding creative and joyful ways to create inclusive and developmental environments and activities for two growing populations — people living with dementia and individuals on the autism spectrum, and the people in their lives.
Part one of this Learning Journey is an opportunity to challenge the stigma-inducing “tragedy narrative” of dementia. The day will begin with an experiential workshop — which will be held with residents of Harlem, NYC. Participants will engage in improvisational games, creative exercises and philosophical conversation to explore what it means to create an environment and culture which supports everyone involved in the “dementia ensemble” to enjoy the “non-knowing growing” that is possible when improvisational play is how we are doing everything in our lives.
Part two is a workshop in the use of improvisation to create inclusive environments that support the individual differences and communication needs of individuals on the autism spectrum and with related conditions and disabilities. This will be an informational and play-based workshop in which we will learn about the unique differences of individuals with autism, and explore modalities of engagement with neurodiverse individuals using the playbook of improvisation.
Aaron Feinstein is the Executive Director and Founder of the inclusive performing arts program Actionplay, and a film/theater director and entrepreneur based in NYC. Aaron has over 15 years of experience working in the arts with individuals on the autism spectrum, and is the creator of the AIMS inclusive improvisational musical comedy workshop program, and the Actionplay Chorus that was featured on the HBO and Comedy Central Broadcast of Night of Too Many Stars. He co-directed the widely celebrated pilot program The Miracle Project with Elaine Hall which was the subject of the 2006 HBO 2-Time Emmy Award Winning Documentary Autism: The Musical. Aaron is author of several books, articles and journals focused on changing the stigmas surrounding disability.
Mary Fridley is pro-bono Director of Special Projects at the East Side Institute (ESI), a workshop leader and designer, a playwright, theater director and non-profit fundraising consultant. She is trained as a social therapeutic practitioner, a post-modern humanistic and group-oriented therapeutic and education approach. Mary co-leads two popular workshop series, The Joy of Dementia (You Gotta Be Kidding) and Laughing Matters, for people of all ages and life circumstances across the country.
Susan Massad is a retired physician with 51 years of practice and teaching in internal medicine. Susan was one of the early pioneers to bring the teaching of improvisation into her training of medical residents in the late 1990s. As a practitioner, working in both the poorest communities and middle class communities, she was honored as one of the best doctors in NYC in 2004. In 2006, Susan launched a multi-racial, multi-gender, multi-class theater and improvisation workshop program for seniors called the New Timers. She leads ongoing conversations on health, wellness and growing older as a faculty member of the East Side Institute. Susan has also written her first play, Remember? Remember!, that deals with aging and memory loss.
Improvising with Anthropology with Margaret Mead as Our Muse
This unusual Learning Journey is a personalized, intimate, visual and conversational exploration of improvisation and anthropology through the work of the most famous anthropologist in history, Margaret Mead. Beginning at the home of Mead’s grand daughter (AIN’s very own Sevanne Kassarjian), and then moving on to the magnificent American Museum of Natural History, we’ll explore, discover, and interact with anthropology with Margaret as our muse. If you thought you knew Mead, or perhaps have never heard of her at all, you’ll be thrilled to learn how she highly valued improvisation — and the creative ability of human beings to create culture, language, and to make and break rules. You’ll get an inside and outside view of her ideas, research, personal artifacts, through words, films and stories. We’ll explore how Applied Improvisation is perhaps a beautiful branch of her pioneering work, learn what a rebel she was in life and love, explore the Hall of Pacific Peoples (dedicated to Mead), and more.
Sevanne Kassarjian is a Principle at the award winning consulting firm, Performance of a Lifetime (POAL). In her leadership role there, she does it all: oversees multiple client relationships including Standard Chartered Bank, PwC, Twitter, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tiffany, Rolls Royce, to name just a few. She’s an actor, improviser, designer, executive coach, salesperson and facilitator, and the mom to Cyrus and Anton. She possesses a passion for lifelong learning and a desire to explore the ways in which the stage frees people to discover new ways of understanding and navigating their world. In addition to her 15 years of work at POAL , Sevanne has partnered with her mother, anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson to create workshops within organizations that marry cultural anthropology tools with acting and improvisation techniques.
Learning Journeys FAQs:
When: Wednesday, August 7 and Thursday, August 8
Where: Some will be in New York City, some will be in Stony Brook
How much: One Day: $120 Two Days: $180
Finally! You can now register for The Learning Journey (LJ) of your choice. As there is space limitation in each of the LJs, please specify your 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th choices. If you’ve already paid for a LJ, you will be in “the front of the line” already for your preferred choices.
- Learning Journeys on Wednesday, August 7 will all take place in NYC, Learning Journeys on Thursday, August 8 will take place in Stony Brook, and, some half or ¾ day Learning Journeys in NYC that day as well. Those will be timed so that you can make it to the conference before it begins.
- All Learning Journeys are the same price, regardless of length of day
- Learning Journeys DO NOT include the cost of meals, however, there will be lunch and dinner breaks.
- Almost all Learning Journeys in NYC require walking and or public transportation. This means you will need a NYC Metrocard which you can purchase in almost any subway/metro station.
- Please let us know if you will need assistance with walking and or any help with physical access and we will make sure you have what you need.
- Within a month (or less) of when you register for a specific Learning Journey we will let you know which LJ(s) you are in. By mid-June, the AIN facilitator running that LJ will be in touch to let you know specific details, answer any questions, etc.
- We are still in process regarding evening activities in NYC on Wednesday, August 7. We are working on (across all LJs) an improv show and post-show conversation at UCB or another theater, a culinary sampling of food across cultures in Queens, and more.