About the Instructors

“These hands-on experiences are priceless. Stephanie is talented and knowledgeable and approaches Improv with a fun loving attitude. She has provided my students with a unique opportunity to fine tune their skills and gain confidence in their abilities as improvisers. For students to experience the Performance aspect of Improv in a real theatre environment is vital. I thank her for all her hard work.”

Tanya Neub, Teacher, Danforth C.I.

steph headshot1(2012)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!

(www.jasonchowphotography.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!

 

DonDon Masters has been in the business for just over 20 years. Having started by winning a Modeling Contest, continued with several runway fashion shows, then was a Toronto Sunshine Boy, did print work for Royal Bank,Home Depot, the Royal Ontario Museum, and Tim Horton’s.   He has appeared in commercials for Pizza Pops, Co-Operators Insurance and Sam’s Town Resort & Casinos. He has hosted “Wheel Knowledge” on CHEX TV for two seasons. He worked with the Discovery Channel production about Vampires, portrayed Richard Jewel on the TV Series Forensic Factor, and had a role on Take this House and Sell It. He has had roles in Man of the Year, Jumper, By Night and was the principle actor in Abattoir.In between the auditions and teaching, Don is busy writing multiple screenplays ranging from animated kids features to all out beat-em up action films.

 

Daryl Marks has been involved in all aspects of the performing arts from directing and writing,
to performing both on stage as well as in TV and Film, and has performed in theatres
across the province.
He has studied under Canada’s premiere acting coaches Sears and Switzer as well as at the world famous Second City in Toronto. He has been an instructor at Durham College, Charactors School for the Arts, as well as at high schools thru-out the GTA.

 

 

Amy smallerAmy Helsby is a graduate of the Musical Theatre program from the University of Windsor, Amy has been teaching drama, dance, and vocal music in both the Ottawa and Durham region for over 12 years.  She serves as the Promotions and Marketing Director for the Oshawa Little Theatre Board of Directors, and has choreographed both Fiddler on the Roof and Annie (OLT) and an additional production of Annie with Scarborough Music Theatre (which she won a Thea award for).  Previous credits include ‘Beth’ in Merrily We Roll Along,’ Cassie’ in A Chorus Line and ‘the Courtesan’ in The Boys from Syracuse.   Amy is an instructor with the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama where she has directed and choreographed over 15 musical productions.
kate headshotKate Arms-Roberts has been acting and directing for over 30 years. She has a mix of professional and community theatre experience in theatres in the US and Canada, including performing with the US’s premiere Shakespeare company, Shakespeare & Company. Directing credits include The Mousetrap, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Sorcerer, Theft, and Kitchen Witches. She serves on the Board of Ajax Community Theatre and has been part of growing Durham’s latest community theatre from its very first season.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

JacquieHeadshotJacquie Hermans, is the Creator, Host and Producer of the Award winning youth talk show “RANT”.  She has over 100 shows in the can, was nominated best talk show host at the Rogers Impression Awards and won Best Talk Show.  She was the Host/Producer of “Plugged-In” on Aurora Cable Internet and was a member of the Triptych Lounge Comedy Improv Troupe for 5 years.  Jacquie has minor in Theatre at Brock University, has trained extensively with Second City and has been teaching improv to kids and adults for the past 9 years.  Jacquie has a passion of using improv as a tool for personal growth and development. She builds confidence, courage, and helps to release fears of failure and judgment.  Jacquie has always been a kids magnet, which made it easy for her to have 3 kids of her own. Being a parent has been “a going back to university” experience all on it’s own.  Join Jacquie’s course for guaranteed laughs, learning and transformation.

Jacquie Hermans’ improvisation techniques really are marvellous! The children in my class gained self-esteem and confidence because of the magical nature of improv. And even better, I watched as this confidence gained from improvisation transferred over into areas – social and academic. Jacquie’s creative methods are truly inspiring!
Carol White – Teacher at UPS