About the Instructors

“As art imitates life, I have found that the techniques used in improv has improved my quick “respond on the spot” timing in social situations where there is that tiny window of time to interject with a humorous quip. Also, in work related situations dealing with disgruntled clients, I can diffuse a confrontation before it escalates into an argument. Improvisation classes are truly confidence building and the most endorphin releasing fun I have ever had in a long time.”

Cher Morari

Stephanie Herrera (3)Stephanie Herrera has been working professionally in the arts for over ten years. Mediums have included film, TV and theatre. While in the musical theatre world she received rave reviews in such shows as “Chorus Line” and “Fame” (which also toured Italy and won her the THEA for Best Leading Actress in a Musical that year). In the improv world she performed in various shows including “Curtains Up”, “Neil Muscott’s Comedy Debates”, and as a cast member of Second City’s “Tony & Tina’s Wedding”. She graduated from Second City’s Conservatory program after having won their cross-cultural improv scholarship and also went on to become a main-stage cast member of Theatre Sports Toronto.

She founded two successful improv/sketch troupes in Toronto, “On the Count of Three”, which specialized in musical comedy sketches, and the Canadian Comedy Award nominated troupe “The Lamb Chops” (who performed full length improvised musicals!). The Lamb Chops taught and performed at the Labrador Creative Arts festival and at the Orlando Comedy Festival as well as were heard on CBC radio and were featured in Eye and Now magazines as one of the hotest groups in improv.

Stephanie has been teaching since 2002 and has extensive experience in producing, writing, and directing shows, with both children and adults.

In 2004 and 2005 Stephanie was the Director of Improv and Interaction at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire (www.parenfaire.com).

Since 2003, Stephanie has produced the “Teen Improv Tournament” which gives teenagers the opportunity to perform improv in a professional theatrical setting which also was the catalyst for her nomination for a Latin American Achievement Award and it took an entire Latin American Film Festival to beat her.

In Fall 2006 Stephanie designed the improv classes at Durham and Fleming Colleges as well as founded “Durham Improv” as Durham Ontario’s first and only improv school.

In 2011 she began writing and producing Durham Improv’s Interactive Dinner Theatre shows, which continue to receive rave reviews. In the same year she was nominated for an Art of Transition award in the category of “Best entertainment” and it took a whole theatre company to beat her.

Also in 2012 she became a nominee for the “Mr. & Mrs. Comedy Auction” and won the “Business of the year” award home from the Durham Home and Small Business Association, the “Business for the Arts” award from the Scugog Arts Council, and the “Best Entertainment” award at the Durham Region Art of Transition awards ceremony.

She co-hosted “Hurry Up Love” with New York Bestselling author Nicholas Boothman, which can be seen on Rogers TV (Oshawa) along with her own show “Stephanie’s Comedy Chat”.

Stephanie’s experience and talents, combined with her desire to share her knowledge, makes her an enthusiastic teacher. She approaches her teaching with dedication and with a strong intent to make each participant comfortable.

Whether her students have been children or adults they have always found her classes, not only challenging, but more importantly, a ton of fun!

Her demo reels can be found at www.stephanieherrera.com

 

 

Adam Lloyd Wilkinson is a graduate of Humber College: School of Comedy. Where he was nominated for the Mike Myers Award for excellent achievement in comedic studies. He went on to perform all over Toronto in a number of sketch troupes including Turn Down the Grill with Second City cast member Marty Adams, and Yuk Yuk’s Comedian Andre Arruda.  He won the “Toronto 24 hour film challenge” with the comedic troupe Geronimo Deadly and Adam was honoured with best comedic performance for a worldwide “100 hour film race”.

      In the last 10 years Adam found his love of helping people and teaching. Adam toured for 7 years with the company Mad Science Productions, performing across North America in live interactive educational performances. In the meantime he became a co-creature of an amazing puppet production company Rock The Arts, currently running out of Ottawa, Ontario.
Adam studied as a Developmental Services worker at Loyalist College, and is currently providing respite support to people in need across Durham region.
Which has led to Adam’s current amalgamation of all the things that truly matter: helping people, having fun, and performing. Adam has found his way to Durham Improv and, along with Stephanie Herrera,  has been able to create Durham’s only “Mixed Abilities” Improv team. Adam is teaching regular classes in which everyone is welcome. This year Adam will be working with Social Solutionz creating “Accessible Arts” which will help to bring all forms of performing arts to those of any ability, well improving the quality of life, with FUN!

 

 

Ray's improv crewRay James  is a talented improv trainer with years of acting experience in TV projects such as McGyver, War of the Worlds, Hichcock Presents, and Adderly. His unique program, Improv Comedy Workshop for the TERRIFIED!!!, has benefited people of all ages and professions across North America.  It is a six week course followed by a theatre performance.  Each participant agrees in advance to sell six tickets to the final show.

Over the period of six weeks, James uses improv games popularized on the TV show, ‘Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, to teach participants to partner with others on stage in order to create a relationship and story. Once their point of focus shifts from themselves to their partner they can discover their own natural comedic voices. As James Cagney once said of acting,“Look ‘em in the eye and tell ‘em the truth”.

‘Ray is a dynamic and effective presenter.  I attended a final class of his series, which was a performance given by his students.  I was amazed at the powerful and very humorous presentation our students gave after spending only eight weeks in Ray’s class.  I was very proud to see the confidence and enthusiasm our students came away with after completing the class.’

- Tammy J. Bell, – Program Director, Colorado Free University,

 

Michael SerresMichael Serres has been involved in the Durham theatre scene for the past 20 years. He has been recognized for his acting as well as several awards for sound design, and most recently, directing. He has taught acting classes in the Animation program at Durham College, and Port Perry Dance Academy. Michael is also very interested in applying the findings of the latest research in the field of Positive Psychology to the art of acting, incorporating the concepts of mindfulness, gratitude and exploring the relationship between acting and cognitive capacity.

 

 

 

 

Fran Quirky
Frances Stecyk Townend has been a regular in the Durham and Toronto theatre scene for the past 25 years.  Recently seen performing with Stephanie in Durham Improv’s own Rack Pack.   She’s an actor, singer and voice-over artist.  Fran is a graduate of Second City’s first Musical Conservatory Program.  Film credits include:  Cold Blood, Paranormal Witness, Curious & Unusual Deaths, Outlaw Bikers and many tv & radio commercials and Video Game characters. Fran has studied many aspects of performance including improv, dance, clowning, and many aspects of film and performance.  Her motto: The purpose of life is joy – let’s find yours :)

 

 

Angela

Angela Maiorano-Thurston was born into a loud Italian family. Since birth Angela always knew she had a voice that needed to be heard. Ok so her voice was a little on the unusual, but you always know its Angela’s distinctive trademark.
Yes her voice is squeaky at times. And yes while studying Improv at the famous Second City in Toronto during the 90’s she made quite an impact. And it started the beginning of her Comedy career. Angela has become a seasoned Stand up Performer, while touring in North America. She has appeared in countless Television commercials and Movies for film and T.V. Making Angela very recognizable and bringing her great success.
Angela is definitely a rising Comic, to be reckoned with.

 

 

 

erin new headshotErin O’Connell has graduated from Toronto’s Second City Improv program, and is a part of the Advanced Improv at Durham Improv.  Currently working on learning the basics of Sketch Comedy, she is excited to work on writing and producing her first Sketch Comedy Show in Stephanie’s class.  Erin has had too much fun learning from, and playing with Canadian Comedy Award Winners such as, Colin Mochrie, Rob Norman, Jason De Rosse, and Adam Cawley.  Erin has explored the world of longform improv structures and has even created several original formats in the Longform Conservatory program at The Second City.  Erin is a part of the beautifully funny Improv Troupe The Three Bears, and performs regularly at The John Candy Box Office in Toronto.
In the midst of starting her Performance Career, Erin graduated from Lakehead University with an Honours’ Degree in Sociology and a Bachelor’s of Education with a mathematical focus and is a current summer/occational teacher at the Durham Catholic School Board.  Erin stays empowered on and off stage, through the practice of yoga.  Erin works as a guest artist for The Travelling Stage, facilitating Drama and Yoga workshops and special events.  As an Ontario Certified Teacher, Erin is well positioned to teach the basic theatrical and improvisational concepts.  She’ll help aspiring improvisers to learn how to hone creativity and generally, how to have the most fun on stage.