Improv Wins Teachers

 Joe Bill  joe bill

Joe Bill is one of the country’s most experienced improvisers and teachers of the art. He co-founded the Annoyance Theater in Chicago, invented The Bat, teaches at Improv Olympic, Second City and The Annoyance Theater and tours internationally. He has been improvising since 1977, which is quite a long time, and is an exceptionally inspiring teacher with whom to work.

Your Power Improv Toolkit (Saturday)

This workshop will focus on my (and Mark Sutton’s!) approach to playing Powerful Characters and Scenes. You’ll play with the basic tools of Power Improvisation: Emotional and Opportunistic Listening, Focused Offers, Playing to The Top of Your Character’s Integrity, Rich Environment & Productive Thinking.  I’ll offer one tool to each participant at the end of the workshop as the one I see as most useful for them to use in the next year of their Improv lives.

Playing and Coaching The Bat (Sunday)

The Bat is the mythical and exciting improv form which takes place entirely in the dark. Learn it from the man who pioneered it and see what strange bastions of your mind might be opened by changing everything about what you expect to do in an improv show. Joe Bill says “Based on the Interests of the participants in this workshop I will tackle both the performance AND coaching of The Bat.”


 Matt Donnelly 

Currently a writer for Penn & Teller’s new Discovery Channel show: Penn &Teller Tell A Lie, Matt was also recently voted BEST MALE COMEDIAN in Las Vegas in by He co-created the live improvised movie show “The Neutrino Video Projects,” has taught at The People’s Improv Theater and the New York Film Academy, and has directed house teams at The PIT, UCB, and Magnet Theatre in New York.

Speed Harold (Saturday) 

This class re-examines the principles of the original Harold (patterns, group scenes, heightening with solid scene work), and builds a new form that advances those principles in a faster, more modern form. This class covers the Greeks’ Seven Pillars of Art as a basic form/piece vocabulary so that students can examine their performance pieces with the same articulate depth that they examine their scene work. Further, students learn how to be guiltlessly aggressive as a group and how to attain Speed! – a run of rapid fire scenes that end a performance piece rather than shoe-horning all connections into one “closer” scene.


Bull/Matador is Matt Donnelly’s signature improv scene technique that encourages scene partners to mutually accomplish the scene together while being both theatrically sound and very funny.  The technique gets performers out of their heads by reacting to body language rather than over thinking about the dialogue.  Comedy and tension are maintained in the scene by one (BULL) character exploiting the emotional vulnerability of the other (MATADOR) character and learning how to switch the role within the scene without changing the characters, perspectives or circumstances. Performers learn how to comically and theatrically enjoy the scene as the (MATADOR) emotionally vulnerable, voice of reality. Performers also learn how to enjoy the scene comically and theatrically as the (BULL) exploiting character of another character’s emotional vulnerability, while maintaining sympathy and likability. This workshop is especially liberating to those who have had trouble with “finding the game” in the past. This is Matt Donnelly’s answer to flaws of “game”-driven improv.


Andy Campbell & Christina Sukhgian Houle


Andy Campbell is a Senior Lecturer in Art History at Texas State University and an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Texas, Austin. He is a prolific, engaging, and creative scholar. Part of the Austin Femme Mafia, Queerbomb and a host of other gay-ish organisations Andy has built a life of activism, love and art. He performs with several improv groups including the 3 $bills and Gardner’s & Janson’s.
christinaChristina Sukhgian Houle has studied and worked at The Second City in Chicago, Illinois as well as performed at Second City’s Donny’s Skybox Theatre. Her performances and videos have received multiple awards and honors, including being named by the Austin Chronicle as one of the Top Ten Dance Phenomena.  Her choreography has appeared at the Southwest American College Dance Festival, Perpetual Motion Dance Festival, Big Range Dance Festival, Fuse Box Festival and Frontera Festival. Ms. Houle has toured nationally with multiple theatre companies and performed in both Spanish and English while part of Salsation Theatre Company (IL) and at the Latino Laugh Festival.
Improv as Performance Art – Performance Art as Improv (Saturday)
Andy and Christina will be lecturing on the relationship between Performance art and Improv Comedy. The radical, transformative, and activist aspects of improvisation will be teased out and played with. What is improv and what can it be?


Sarah LoweSarah
Sarah Lowe co-created (with the talented ladies Rebekka Johnson and Kimmy Gatewood) The Apple Sisters. The award winning musical sketch comedy show, The Apple Sisters played countless comedy festivals across North Amercia, including Montreal’s Just For Laugh’s. They were most recently seen most recently on Conan and were featured on Dave Attell’s The Gong Show.  Sarah teaches/coaches for Improv Vegas in Las Vegas, NV.  She has been performing in television, commercials and stage shows since childhood. Sarah is currently living in Las Vegas performing in the hit show Jersey Boys. Some of her credits include: the premiere Las Vegas production of Mamma Mia, the off-Broadway hit The Donkey Show Having been on almost every soap before they were cancelled.

Character Blitz

In this hour long workshop, Sarah Lowe will get you out of your head and into your bodies by building new characters from the outside in.  You will “yes and” your gestures and body language and get more information into your scene by making bold assumptions of your scene partners body language.  This short little workshop will help you tap all the characters already hidden inside you.

Chadwick Smith

Chadwick Smith has hosted, taught, and performed at The New Movement Theater in Austin for several years. He is a regular cast member of the Megaphone show and has his own occasional show at the theater, Megaphone Public Access. An all around cool guy, Chadwick also knows Kung Fu.

Kung Fu In Your Improv (Saturday)

We’ll be getting physical and learning some techniques for your body and mind and how to apply it to your improv.  We’ll also learn some basic Chi Sau or ‘sticky hands’ or ‘playing hands’, it’s like Yes And with your body!


Shyla Ray

Shyla is the director of The New Movement Houston, the Improv Wins website, and co-producer of the Improv Wins Conference. She has taught and performed improv on tour, at festivals, and as a full-time instructor at TNM Austin and TNM Houston.

Improvising for Maximum Pleasure (Saturday)

Let’s not tolerate even a second more of not going for it! This art form we call improv is about expression, pleasure, & joy at the highest concentration we can muster them. Strip off your safe pedestian choices and expectations!Let’s forget the “rules” for a while and follow whatever is exciting us in the scene. In this workshop you’ll learn how to take your improv strengths (whether those are acting prowess, verbal cleverness, analytical adroitness, or silly voices) and use them to get your party-on all the time. We will also stress finding the opportunity to realize when what you’re doing is not the most fun thing in the scene, and insuring that you don’t miss getting off on your partner’s sweet offers by trying too hard.


Amy Birkhead & Lisa Friedrich Amy & Lisa

Amy Birkhead has performed with her Harold troupe Rogue at several festivals, is one of the most charming people on the planet, and has been performing the Harold weekly for over three years.

Lisa Friedrich is an instructor at The New Movement Houston. In Houston Lisa also hosts Block Party and regularly books and hosts numerous other shows. She has been performing the Harold for over two years.

My First Harold (Saturday)

Are you pretty new to the Harold? Or is it a form which hasn’t quite “clicked” for you yet? Amy and Lisa will show you how to gather information easily, play fiercely, and get the most out of a traditional Harold. Most importantly, they’ll make it really fun to get your Harold-feet on solid ground. So if you’re interested in walking away from the Improv Wins conference with an introduction to this famous form, or if you want a primer for Matt Donnelly’s Speed Harold Intensive, check out this workshop!


Amanda Austinamanda austin

Co-founder and owner of The Dallas Comedy House, Amanda Austin has performed and taught at numerous national festivals, including Improv Festival Oklahoma, Hawaii Improv Festival, and San Francisco Improv Festival, as well as co-producing The Dallas Comedy Festival. She teaches, coaches, and performs regularly as a leader in the Dallas long-form improv scene.

Love Your Partner (Sunday)

Ever been in a relationship where it felt like it was just the two of you on top of the world and you hardly noticed anyone else around you? Creating that same feeling on stage with your scene partner makes improv infinitely more fun for you and the audience. We’ll learn how to truly focus on our scene partner and treat them with the utmost respect, like we’ve known and loved them for years! When you stop worrying about everyone and everything else around you and start caring for your scene partner, you can effortlessly heighten and explore every gift they give you. After all, there can never be too much love in improv!

Derek Dupuyderek

Derek performs with The New Movement and improv/sketch group Stupid Time Machine in addition to teaching at The New Movement New Orleans conservatory. He has also been invited to and performed in the Chicago Sketch Festival, a run of shows at iO West, the New York City International Fringe Festival, the Dallas Comedy Festival, Hell Yes Fest, Hollywood Fringe, the New Orleans Improv Festival, the New Orleans Comedy Arts Festival, the New Orleans Fringe Festival, and other notable events.

Becoming a Great Worker (Sunday)

In professional wrestling, a “worker” is a term for someone who can have a good match with an opponent of any size, talent level, or athletic limitations. The elite rappers can ride any beat, the best actors can transcend the material they are given, and a great artist can paint on any surface.  However, becoming a good “worker” in any creative art takes the right mindset. This workshop explores how to reboot your improv mind to quietly grow by leaps and bounds, to watch and perform with a confident trained eye, to start looking at scene work in a different way, and to become a “worker” that everyone wants to be on stage with.

Tami Nelson

Tami is a founder and the conservatory director of The New Movement Theaters in Austin, New Orleans and Houston and has taught improv since 2006. She has been recognized by The Austin Chronicle’s Best of Austin Awards, The B. Iden Payne Awards and won Best of Fest at the 2008 Frontera Fest. In addition to her stage work, Tami has appeared in videos and shorts with TNM’s production branch, Los Angeles based In 2009 she made her Comedy Central debut with Studio8 (Atom TV). Tami tours and teaches nationally, is a serious improv powerhouse, and (fair warning) learning from her might change your life.

Let’s Go on a Date (Sunday)

We take the frame of Date Night and work on how to heighten character, dynamic, premise and elasticize our scenes to the max.  Come with some one you love to play with because we’ll focus primarily on 2 person scene work.


Lindsey Taylor

Lindsey Taylor is the choreographer for Little Stolen Moments, a dance troupe that creates a visual and kinesthetic representation of popular music. This dynamic live performance group has found a supportive home in a vast array of Austin scenes, including comedy clubs, rock venues and gay events. In 2010 they were given The Austin Chronicle award for Best Dance Company, in 2007 they were awarded an Austin Chronicle Critic’s Pick for “Most Creative Use of Three Small Trampolines” and were also named one of the “Ten Gayest Things” of 2008. They have also produced one evening-length show, appeared at SXSW and Fun Fun Fun Fest, opened for comedy legend Neil Hamburger, and produced a music videos for indie rockers Wild Beasts and No Age.

Improv to Choreography (Sunday)

This workshop will explore the process of using physical improvisation as a jumping off point for choreography. Concepts of musicality and comedic timing will be addressed. The group will spend two hours to develop a short movement piece to be performed that evening.


Cris Skelton


Cris is an actor, writer, and improviser based out of The New Movement Houston. He performs regularly with Rogue Improv and recently returned from The New Movement OcTourber, a 10 city tour of the Midwest with improvisers from all three TNM cities. Outside of improv, he recently starred in the world premiere of Houston playwright Leighza Walker’s newest work When the Day Met the Night and lent his voice-over talents to My Life as a Doll, an art installation by Tara Conley & Tria Wood at Houston’s DiverseWorks. He holds a degree in Theatre from Texas State University.

Dialects For Improvisers (Sunday)

Empower your play with a study of dialects! Interesting vocal choices are fun, easy ways to define a character in scenes. An understanding of the anatomy of dialects can deepen the impact of these choices and open a multitude of heightening options. Give yourself the gift of having that choice! This workshop is tailored with the improviser in mind and will cover how dialects work, what makes them unique, and how to utilize this knowledge in subtle ways to define character and status in scene work.


Ariel Greenspoon & Alex Berry

Ariel Greenspoon is the director of the sketch show TNM10, has written for, and studied sketch at The Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater. She started performing improv in Washington DC and Baltimore while still in high school. Was at the UCB 2008-2010 where she was on several teams, sketch and improv, and since coming to The New Movement in Austin has gone on a 10 city tour with OcTourber, performed with Disco Box and Joy Behar’s Book Club.

alexAlex Berry is the Artistic Director of The New Movement Austin. She teaches the Sketch Comedy Writing class and edited Lowlights Magazine. Her comedy start came in the way of a one act playwriting festival in Cleveland, Ohio where she won Best of the Great Lakes Theater Festival for two consecutive years (’02 and ’03).  Most recently she had a one act play in the FronteraFest in 2009 and this year she directed a sketch show for the same festival at Hyde Park Theater called Mechanical Bullsh*t.

Writing Character Driven Sketches (Sunday)

Alex and Ariel will show you how to use your improv skills to create sketches which are character driven. This workshop will cater to improvisers who are new to writing sketch but also offer some directed insights about what makes a character based sketch different and successful.

Chris Trew

Chris Trew is a nationally-touring standup comedian, improv teacher and rapper. He’s performed at a fuckton of comedy festivals and toured the country with a variety of projects 7 times. He is the co-founder of The New Movement and co-producer of the Improv Wins Conference. He’s done things like finish last in a Most Eligible Bachelor poll, host Veggie Hot Dog Eating Contests and wiggled his way onto The Bad Girls Club.

Patterned To Death (Sunday)

We’ve all used patterns games as a warm up – but what if you approached each and every line in your scene with a strict respect for the pattern that you and your scene partner are mutually establishing while avoiding “word association improv”? In this workshop Chris will show you how he approaches every line in every scene – and by the end of the workshop you will have an alternative road map to take with you into all the improv you do, making your job as an improviser a little easier and a lot more fun.

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