Everyone can act. Everyone can Improvise. Anyone who wishes to can play in the theater and learn to become “stageworthy.” – Viola Spolin
Improv Theatre Sydney (ITs) is a creative, inclusive and world-class school for students of improvisation.
Improvisation is a collaborative method of creating live spontaneous theatre that is always funny, often touching and frequently poignant. Players conceive original scenes in the moment, spontaneously discovering ideas, relationships and worlds between them, based on a stimulus from the audience.
Improv is by its nature participatory, and is emboldened by a diversity within its audiences and performers. ITs aims to provide a space where all people can perform together, embracing the mosaic of Sydney’s multiculturalism, religious plurality, gender and sexual diversity and thriving in the plethora of ideas they provide.
Above all, we believe that improv is and should be an enjoyable experience. Don’t think, have fun.
Welcome to ITs.
Cale Bain has been performing improvised comedy theatre since 1988 and has taught, workshopped, directed, produced and performed shows around the world ever since.
He trained through the Second City Theatre Company in Toronto and has taught for one of Canada’s first longform improv theatre groups, the Impatience Theatre Company. Since moving to Australia, Cale has directed and produced Theatresports® to sell-out audiences at the 1700-seat Enmore Theatre through Impro Australia, where he also has had the role of director of training, performed in the Sydney and Melbourne comedy and fringe festivals as well as the Perth Fringe and Canberra’s Improvention.
In Sydney, Cale also started the first longform improv show, FULL BODY CONTACT NO LOVE TENNIS that live on for some ten years (now known as Tennis Improv). In his other life, Cale is a media academic, investigating the confluence of journalism and comedy, teaching media and communications studies. Cale’s philosophy on improv is relationship focussed, and he feels strongly that the core principles we use in improv can make our everyday lives better.
Most recently, Cale acted as the Improv Director for Foxtel’s Whose Line Is It Anyways Australia.
Cale is one of the founding directors of Improv Theatre Sydney.
Kate is an improviser, actor, comedy writer and sketch comedian who has trained with Impro Australia, Improv Theatre Sydney, iO and Second City in Chicago.
As a company director, teacher and member of the ITS ensemble, she performs regularly in the ITS Soap Opera at Giant Dwarf and won the 2015 inaugural ITS Smackdown competition with Patrick Magee. She won the 2013 Fresh Cranston Cup, the 2015 Cranston Cup and the 2016 Theatresports Nationals Competition at the Enmore Theatre. Representing NSW, she won the National Theatresports Titans competition in the 2014 Adelaide Fringe Festival and performed in the Australian Theatresports Challenge for Amnesty International.
She is the director and host of Improv Theatre Sydney’s weekly student show ITS Sandpit at The Chippo Hotel. Previously she has produced the First Thursday Impro Club and Tennis Improv (formerly Full Body Contact No Love Tennis) at The Roxbury Hotel as well as Lybrary Impro. She runs improv workshops as part of IA’s Theatresports Schools Challenge and teaches students Theatresports and drama with across many schools including Kambala, Sydney Girls High, Pymble Ladies College and Reddam House. She also runs the autonomous wom*ns Theatresports jams at USYD.
In addition to improv, Kate is a solo sketch performer, making her debut with Guys, I’m Okay (Sydney Fringe, Fringe World, Sydney Comedy Festival) and touring Australia with her 2017 follow-up, Blerp.
Bridie Connell is an award-winning writer and multi-disciplinary performer, having extensive experience and training in acting, voice artistry, musical theatre and comedy.
Bridie is a former NSW and Australian Theatresports Champion, as well as a World Theatresports Championship finalist for her home country, New Zealand. She performs regularly at the Giant Dwarf Theatre as part of the ITS Soap Opera and is one half of improv duo MotherFather.
An avid writer, Bridie has written and performed several one act plays, which have toured to great success across Australia and New Zealand. Her latest solo show, “Natural Habitat”, was an official selection of Sydney Fresh! Comedy.
In addition to creating and performing work, Bridie has shared her love of comedy with students from New Zealand to the UK. She has taught improv and sketch comedy at several high schools across Sydney, and ran the Theatresports program at the University of Sydney for three years. She is thrilled to be a part of such a stimulating, enriching industry and loves to share her passion with her students.
Most recently, Bridie has been filming episodes as part of the ensemble cast for Whose Line Is It Anyways Australia.
Jim Fishwick – on loan to Melbourne
Jim is an award-winning director, performer and 2017 Maestro National Champion Improviser. He began improvising at the sorry age of seventeen with Impro Australia, and went on to train at the iO Theater, Chicago, and at the Loose Moose Theatre, Calgary. He directed and produced Fresh and the First Thursday Impro Club from 2011-2014, directed and taught Theatresports™ at the University of Sydney from 2015-2017, and directed the 2017 National Theatresports Championships at the Enmore Theatre. He regularly teaches and performs at national and international improv events.
As the General Manager of Jetpack Theatre Collective, Jim specializes in theatre experiences that are interactive, immersive, and intimate. His 2015 production Pea Green Boat won the Sydney Arts Guide’s award for Compelling Concept and Immersive Production. He recently directed Art Heist, an immersive escape-room-style adventure that had a sell-out run in Sydney, and is in demand as a design consultant on immersive and interactive work.
Jim is passionate about exploring improv that is artful, articulate, and attentive. He champions presence, support, inclusion and freedom in his craft. In his spare time he constructs cryptic crosswords, hosts a music podcast, and wishes he had more spare time.
“Jim is a caring, nurturing and inclusive teacher. I always learn so much in his classes and leave wanting to improve my own practice. His feedback is always bang on and productive. The gold standard in teaching, knowledge and people.”
Ravenna Gregory has been a secondary school Drama teacher for nearly two decades and has taught in the UK and Australia in girls’, boys’ and coeducational schools in the public and independent systems. She is currently Head of Drama at Cranbrook School. She was the Professional Learning Coordinator for the Association of Independent Schools from 2012-2014 and is an experienced HSC Drama teacher and examiner. Ravenna began her association with ITs before it had a name; working with Cale, Steen and the Faculty to build a strong and vibrant school improv programme in her former position as Head of Drama at The Scots College. She is passionate about improvisation and has witnessed the transformative and enduring impact it has had on the lives of her students in the classroom and beyond.
Laura has been performing for over fifteen years – focusing on improvisation, devising, cabaret & standup comedy. She has worked creatively with not for profit organisations such as Camp Quality, The Starlight Children’s Foundation, Ted Noffs & Milkcrate Theatre. Laura is a 2017 Young Social Pioneer with the Foundation for Young Australians – developing and sharing her improv comedy program for people with anxiety. Laura has written sketch comedy for shows such as Sketchy At Best (2016 & 2017 Giant Dwarf Theatre) and The Cusp, and was a 2016 State Finalist for Triple J’s Raw Comedy Competition. She has trained at Impro Australia, Improv Theatre Sydney & UCB. Laura is a member of all-female improv troupe Confetti Gun and recently toured to New York to perform in the shows Queer, Far, Wherever You Are & Confetti Gun. Laura is particularly interested in how improvisation and mental wellbeing intersect. She sees humour as a tool to build resilience, and uses improv as a mindfulness practice.
Edan Lacey is an award winning actor, director and improviser and co-founder of Improv Theatre Sydney. He trained in Spolin Theatre Games at the New Actor’s Workshop in New York City, a school founded by legendary director Mike Nichols, George Morrison and improvisation pioneer Paul Sills. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney majoring in Psychology and Philosophy and is a graduate of the directing program at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS).
He studied long form improvisation at The Upright Citizens Brigade and the People’s Improv Theatre in NYC and clown at Ecole Phillipe Gaulier, is the creator of two original web-series, and has written, performed and directed shows at The Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festivals, and ImprovOlympic in Chicago.
He was the winner of the 2013 ImproAustralia Theatresports Cranston Cup, and 2014 National Theatresports championships. Edan also teaches improvisation in the NIDA Open program.
Edan is one of the founding directors of Improv Theatre Sydney.
Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd is enjoying a varied and diverse career as a multi-award winning actor, comedian, improviser, puppeteer, musician, director and a founding member of Weeping Spoon Productions.
As half of the Logie nominated and Astra award-winning comedy duo Luke & Wyatt he has written, acted and presented for Nickelodeon, helmed the X-Factor web series Fan Factor and performed in standup rooms around the country.
He’s dedicated to developing as a writer, having workshopped with Ellen Sandler, Steve Kaplan, Jennifer Grisanti and Carole Kirshner and attended lectures by Glen Mazzarra and Vince Gillian and studying Sketch 101 at UCB and Late Night TV writing at Second City.
Wyatt has performed as part of Written It Down, an LA WebFest nominated aussie series that has the rare honour of making it onto Funny or Die. Additionally, as an improviser, Wyatt has been performing since 2005 and has improvised with the majority of Australia’s established improvisation troupes, including Impro Australia and The Improv Conspiracy and internationally with Uncalled For (Canada) and Theatre st Catherine Improv.
He’s worked under the tutelage of Pattie Stiles (Keith Johnstone), done workshops with Lyndsay Hailey (iO Chicago) and shared the stage with David Razowsky (Second City LA).
As a director, he has led a number of Weeping Spoon Productions including Pollyanna, Bruce, (now both produced by The Last Great Hunt) Deathtrap, Tomas Ford Vs the Audience, The Love Pirate, The Forlorn, and Greed.
As a musician Wyatt is performing at Illawara & National Folk festivals this year, and as a puppeteer Wyatt has performed at Fringe festivals all around Australia and the world.
Maddie Parker is an improviser, actor, writer and comedian who stumbled upon improv at the tender age of fourteen and never looked back.
Since then, Maddie has been a regular fixture on stages around Sydney, performing with the ITS ensemble and her troupe Confetti Gun. She is a Sydney University Theatresports champion and winner of the Jordan McClellan Award for Best New Improviser, has appeared in multiple Cranston Cup grand finals at the Enmore Theatre and in 2017 hosted the 2017 National Theatresports Championships alongside Julia Zemiro. She has taught Theatresports in high schools across Sydney, and is the director and host of Impro Australia’s First Monday Impro Club.
Maddie has also performed internationally with ComedySportz Berlin, Berlin-based longform troupe Good Luck, Barbara, and PlayShop. In 2017 she travelled to New York with Confetti Gun to perform as part of the Del Close Marathon.
A strongly intuitive improviser, Maddie takes a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ approach to improv, believing that the best way to learn it is just to get up and do it. She believes that there is no ‘right’ way to approach improv, and encourages her students to experiment, explore and occasionally get it oh-so wrong, to help figure out what works best for them. Her style of play is strongly relationship- and character-based; she strives at all times to make her improv collaborative, playful and joyful.
One half of Australia’s most dynamic improv duo, ‘The Bear Pack’ with his fellow ITs director Carlo Ritchie, Steen Raskopoulos has been writing and performing in sketch comedy and improvised stage shows since he was eighteen, and was crowned the youngest ever Theatresports National Champion of Australia.
In 2013 his debut solo sketch show ‘bruce springSTEEN LIVE IN CONCERT!’ received a nomination for Best Newcomer at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and won the same category at the Sydney Comedy festival. In 2014, a new show, ‘I’m Wearing Two Suits Because I Mean Business’ sold out seasons in Melbourne, Sydney, London and Edinburgh and was nominated for the Fosters Comedy Awards Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In 2015, ‘Character Assassin’ earned him a Barry Award nomination for best show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. As well as being the lead in a brand new BBC comedy ‘Top Coppers’, Steen has appeared on ‘Utopia’, ‘The Code’ and ‘This is Littleton’ on the ABC and ‘Legally Brown’ for SBS.
Training at iO in Chicago, Steen is passionate about teaching improvisation and has a proven track record of getting the best out of his students, creating three high school student shows, which were all sell out seasons at the Sydney Comedy Festival.
Before heading back to Edinburgh and London for more BBC filming, Steen was recording Whose Line Is It Anyway Australia as part of the core ensemble.
Carlo Ritchie is one half of acclaimed improvised comedy duo ‘The Bear Pack’ alongside fellow ITS director Steen Raskopoulos. Since 2008 Carlo has performed in various long and short improvised formats both at home and abroad, including ‘Tennis’, ‘Soap’ and ‘Director’s Mind’ in Sydney, ‘Snort’ in Auckland and ‘Good Luck Barbara’ in Berlin as well as the Sydney, Melbourne and Edinburgh Comedy Festivals as ‘The Bear Pack’.
Carlo holds a BA (Hons 1) in Linguistics from the University of Sydney, where he was a teacher from 2011-2014. This linguistic background is an important influence not only on Carlo’s individual performance but also his teaching style, exploring language use and norms, habitus and discourse within the framework of long form improv. The core of Carlo’s teaching style is the use of physicality and space to define characters, finding, rather than creating narrative and embracing the flow of the scene.
Carlo is one of the founding directors of Improv Theatre Sydney.
Jane is an actor, improviser and writer. She has trained with Impro Australia, The Big Hoo-Haa and completed three years of intensive actor training at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).
During her time at WAAPA she starred in the ABC TV miniseries The War that Changed Us. Since graduating, Jane has become an active member of Sydney’s independent theatre, film and comedy scenes. In 2015 She performed in ATYP’s critically acclaimed War Crimes (dir. Alex Evens), nominated for three Sydney Theatre Awards winner of Best Theatre for Young People. Jane is a member of the Improv Theatre Sydney (ITS) Ensemble and performs regularly at the Giant Dwarf theatre in both sketch and improv.
Jane is director and creator of ITS Bang Bang Rodeo a new ITS co-production with Redline Productions at The Old Fitz in Wooloomooloo. Her solo work ‘Bonanza’, a comedy split bill is set to debut as part of Sydney Fringe Comedy in September.
In early 2017 Jane starred in the comedy web pilot ‘The Virgin Intervention’ and lead the Australian independent feature film ‘The Greenhouse’, both currently in post-production.
The essence of Jane’s teaching comes from years of theatre practice and ensemble building. It is based around the importance of trust and vulnerability and creating a warm working environment that allows performers to take risks. Some guy once said “to be interesting you have to risk looking foolish”, so if we can trust each other enough to take that risk, without fear of judgment, we open the doors to far greater creative expression.
Susie Youssef is a Sydney-based comedian, writer, actor, MC, improviser and producer. She has performed, trained and hosted for both the commercial and corporate markets in Sydney and around the world since 2005. She has also written, performed and produced comedy for radio and television in Australia.
As a comedian and improviser, Susie has performed to sell-out crowds at the Melbourne & Sydney Comedy Festivals since 2006 in improvised comedy shows Scrabble Unscripted, iMPro3 Shuffle and Ultimate Board Game Unscripted and sketch comedy shows as part of The Delusionists.
She worked as a producer and tour manager for Australian comedy rock band, Axis of Awesome, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has produced live shows for local and international comedy acts on the Australian festival circuit with Century Entertainment.
In 2010, Susie was invited as an international guest to join the ensemble at Improvaganza in Edmonton, Canada. That year Susie also performed at The Del Close Marathon in New York.
In 2013, Susie studied at the iO Theatre in Chicago and performed with Dad’s Garage Theatre Company in Atlanta. Susie returned to Australia to host the TEDx Sydney Youth event in December 2013.
Susie’s solo shows has played to sold-out audiences at the Sydney Fringe Festival, the Comedy, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Sydney Comedy Festival.
Susie is making her way to Edinburgh for her first fringe festival directly after finishing up filming as part of the core ensemble cast in Foxtel’s Whose Line Is It Anyway.
ITS Headshots were taken by Bree Bain at breebainphotography.com.