Nick Byrne (Artistic Director)
Co-founder and Artistic Director of both Impro ACT, and Australia’s international festival of unscripted theatre, Improvention, Nick is obsessed with all that spontaneous arts have to offer, and has been influenced by styles and teachings from all continents.
He has created a range of unscripted theatre formats that have been been performed on four continents, including the breakthrough musical production “Crescendo”, the non-comedic unscripted play, “The Displaced”, audience impersonation long-form “In-Person-8″, plus light-hearted shortform hybrids, “Sink or Swim” and ‘Go Ahead Make Me”.
Nick also loves teaching improvisation, delivering a range of original and classic workshops with an ever-growing passion, in both public and corporate contexts. His specialty is what he calls ‘common monsters’; conquering skillsets that improvisers are traditionally afraid of. He wants to play with YOU!
Founding Impro ACT with Nick Byrne in April, 2005, PJ began an interest in improvisation, whilst working at Sydney’s Belvoir Street Theatre, when unscripted theatre was in its infancy in Australia.
An award-winning professional actor, director, and lighting designer, Pj has been a large factor in Impro ACT’s reputation for producing theatre that happens to be improvised, rather than merely some great laughs on a Saturday night.
PJ has performed improvisation at a national level, and worked with many world influences who visit Canberra for Improvention. He has created new show formats and courses for Impro ACT, and continues to be a regular tutor, with the company.
Beginning her performance career as a full time puppeteer and tutor with Terrapin Puppet Theatre, and after various amateur stage & short film acting roles, Ruth underwent professional training and graduated with a BA in Acting at Theatre Nepean UWS (1998), and later a Bachelor of Teaching in Drama UWS (2002). She was a Drama teacher at Sydney’s McDonald College of Performing Arts for 2 years before taking on the major production of motherhood.
Ruth has devised and performed her own solo unscripted and scripted theatre, plus stand-up comedy routines, claiming awards for her works at ‘Short & Sweet’ Festivals, which have been selected for production in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.
Since joining Impro ACT in 2010, Ruth has performed in numerous productions, including “The Home Front”, an improvised production that went on to be produced with professional funding in both Canberra and Adelaide. Ruth is a tutor for Impro ACT, specialising in acting, movement, and puppetry skills.
Heidi has been performing with Impro ACT since it all began in 2005. As a qualified teacher she has taught Improvised Theatre to primary, high school and adult students.
She has directed and created various improvised shows including Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Once Upon A … (Impro ACT’s first show for children) and Homeward. Heidi directed seasons of the professionally funded improvised productions “The Home Front”, in both Canberra and Adelaide.
Heidi is passionate about developing trust between players, playing for truth in improvisation and encouraging improvisers to discover joy outside their comfort zones.
Ben is a performer and life member of Impro ACT. As a tutor and performer, Ben is passionate about character work, making relationships through true connections, singing from the heart and the art of comedy.
Ben has over a decade of experience in the performing arts. He was the director and creator of the improvised theatre shows Playing House, Three Improvisers and a Baby, Follow the Fish and R.S.V.P. He has also been a prolific performer in both improvised and scripted theatre in Canberra. Some of his most treasured performing credits include First Scene Last Seen (Impro ACT, 2010 Adelaide Fringe Festival), Zara and the Sea (NUTS, written by Adam Hadley), The Wishing Tree (Impro ACT, created and directed by Rama Nicholas), Collision Theory (Impro ACT, created and directed by Tim Redmond), The Displaced (Impro ACT), Impro Carnivale (Loose Moose Theatre Company – 2011 Calgary, Canada), Rock Opera (2011 Improvention) and Close to you (2012 Improvention, created and directed by Rama Nicholas).
Cathy is an actress in Canberra and life member of Impro ACT. Through Impro ACT Cathy has performed in many shows including Starship Odyssey with Jay Laga’aia’ and an improvised band “Crescendo” with some of improACT’s best improvisers. Cathy has produced and directed many shows for ImproACT including Chic: A festival of stylish impro, in 2010, with the female members of the Impro ACT troupe, raising money for the National Breast Cancer Association. In 2013, Cathy directed one of Impro ACT’s most innovative shows; “The Office”.
After starting his theatre life doing “boring” scripted drama at school and university, Brad started performing with Impro ACT in 2005. Since that time he has been hooked on improvisation and has performed in a large number of Impro ACT’s shows, listing his personal highlights as performing in The Canberra Impro Challenge Final (2006 & 2009), Once Upon A (2009), Bedroom Scenes (2010) and The Displaced (2011). In early 2012 Brad decided to concentrate on inspiring others to perform, becoming a tutor and also co-creating the weekly show Schnitz and Giggles. Just don’t ask him to do his Yoda impression. He claims it’s an “in the moment” thing.
Lynn rediscovered improvisation with ACT Impro in 2008. Many moons ago (including a few blue ones) she first came into contact with impro at university as part of her training as a drama teacher and took part in some of the early competitions of TheatreSports in Melbourne. Since then she has been training school impro teams on and off over the years. Recently she has been taking part in many classes and workshops to refine her skills and performed in a variety of shows with ACT Impro. Lynn is a sometime tutor for ACT Impro, with a keen interest in working with other tutors to explore and develop teaching techniques.
Reid is a performer, graphic designer and tutor for Impro ACT. Improvising since high school Reid has been a regular performer in Impro ACT”s shows since 2005. He has produced and directed a variety of shows for Impro ACT as well as shows for National Science Week and the Australian Science Festival, including co-creation of the format The Kruszelnicki with Improv Olympic’s (iO) Jason Chin. He has also been seen at special events including the Corrinbank and Trackside music festivals. Together with Brad Hoff they created and are regular hosts of “Schnitz and Giggles” at the Hellenic Club, where the greatest impro scene ever was performed. Just ask for ‘Deathstalker’.