Zenprov & Musical Improv with Nancy Howland Walker & Marshall Stern

Class Descriptions


Learn how to do great, honest scenes effortlessly, using the Zenprov Unified Theory. 

The practice of Zen Buddhism and Improvisation are similar and complimentary. At the core of both is the concept of being in the moment, and on stage this leads to effortlessly DISCOVERING what is already there, rather than using a more stressful and less authentic technique for CREATING. This Zenprov workshop uses fun, creative exercises to open participants up to the present moment and thus the Source of Genius. Taught by the hosts of the popular Zenprov podcast and author of Meet the Buddha Kill the Buddha.

“The exercises we did got me out of my head, allowed me to respond with an emotional honesty that my characters often don’t have and very importantly for me, it allowed me to make a group of people laugh without having to try hard…What [the workshop] did for me was give me a sense of freedom in my scene-work that I’d encountered before, but had never been able to deliberately elicit for myself.”

                                  -Lloydie James Lloyd, MissImp, UK


Musical Improv

This jam packed, fast paced, and fun workshop teaches the secrets of creating and performing excellent musical improv. You’ll learn the basics (melody, rhyming, lyrics, emotions, movement, etc.), and the different skills needed in performing songs in both short form and long form improv shows. Taught by a professional songwriter and the author of Instant Songwriting: Musical Improv ” from Dunce to Diva. No matter your level, your songs will be better.

“People snuck into Nancy’s full to the brim Song Improv class because word of mouth about them was so great! I sat in on one of the classes (as producer of the Fest) and was impressed by Nancy’s teaching style, her great personality and knowledge of the subject.”

                                 – Susan Santainiello, Producer, Funny Women Fest

Nancy Howland Walker is a SAG/AFTRA actor, writer, teacher, and trainer. A full-time professional improviser, she has been performing, teaching, directing, and producing improv since 1989. In Boston, she was the Artistic Director of ImprovBoston. In 1995 she moved to Chicago, performed with dozens of groups, and created the critically acclaimed show MUSICAL! the musical, the country’s first two-act completely improvised Broadway-style musical. Nancy was head of the ImprovBoston and Free Associates improv schools, rewrote Players Workshop of the Second City entire six level curriculum with Marshall Stern, and has taught for Second City, Players Workshop, at festivals and for groups all across the world. She is currently Executive Director of Chicago Improv Associates and since 2009 has been performing improv comedy shows for Celebrity Cruise Lines. She is the author of Instant Songwriting: Musical Improv from Dunce to Diva.

Marshall Stern has been performing, teaching, producing and directing Improv since 1986 with various groups and theaters in New York, Nashville and Chicago. Marshall has been involved with Consciousness and Zen for the past 35 years and has taught all over the United States and overseas on these subjects. A professional songwriter in Nashville, Marshall moved to Chicago in 2002 and that same year started teaching at the Players Workshop of the Second City. By the end of the year he was the director there. He currently teaches Zen Buddhism for Celebrity Cruise Lines on their Asian itineraries, as well as performing improv comedy shows for them around the world. He is co-host of the popular Zenprov podcast which began in 2007. Marshall is the author of the highly praised book Meet the Buddha Kill the Buddha which explains Buddhism clearly and simply.

Event Details

Saturday, 6 April
12pm - 3pm

Musical Improv
Sunday, 7 April
12pm - 3pm

  • Start
    April 6, 2019
  • End
    April 7, 2019
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