Heather Clague (Teaches 101, 201, Real Life)

Heather 03bHeather is the founder and director of Fully Present Improv (which currently teaches classes and workshops for Berkeley Improv). She came to improv in her formative college years and began teaching improv as director of The Purple Crayon of Yale. An alum of Berkeley Improv, Heather performs with Berkeley Players and Black Box Improv Fusion. Beyond improv, Heather is a psychiatrist in private practice in Oakland and works in the emergency service at John George Psychiatric Hospital in San Leandro. She was awarded the Alexander Simon award for excellence in psychotherapy teaching and was named an outstanding graduate student instructor at UC Berkeley (in no small part due to her willingness to use all of her limbs to demonstrate a nucleophilic substitution reaction.) Heather believes that the willingness to take risks cracks the world open like an oyster, and that facing one’s fears in a fun and supportive environment is one of the biggest gifts of improv.

Christine Mytko (Teaches 101, 201, Youth, Family)

Christine 02bShe has taught improv acting to kids of all ages for over 15 years in Chicago and the Bay Area, most recently heading up Black Pine Circle School’s (BPC) after-school Improv program. She studied improv for many years with ComedySportz in Chicago. An alumnus of Berkeley Improv Performance class, she currently performs with the Berkeley Players. Beyond improv, Christine is an award-winning science teacher, currently teaching 7th & 8th grade science at BPC. She believes in the power of young people and she and her students are frequent presenters at edtech conferences, science festivals, and maker faires.She has twice won the Exploratorium’s Iron Science Teacher competition and was invited as an honored maker to attend the 2014 White House Maker Faire for her work with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and her own student scientists. Christine fully admits that teaching middle school often feels a lot like performing improv comedy!

Arastoo Darakhshan (Teaches 201, Musical Improviser)

arastooArastoo Darakhshan has been an active composer, producer, teacher and performer in the Bay Area for fifteen years and has a degree in Applied Science with an emphasis on Sound Arts. An alum of Berkeley Improv, Arastoo performs improv with The Berkeley Players, Black Box Improv Fusion and Synergy Theater. Arastoo is a member of two performing improv groups including The Berkeley Players, and has acted for the Discovery Channel ID Network, Lexus, and the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. In addition to teaching Improv 201, Arastoo brings together his improv acting skills and musical talents to provide magical improvised musical accompaniment for Berkeley Improv classes and performances. Beyond music and improv, Arastoo is an avid photographer, writer, and artist. His work has been featured on multiple albums by various artists, magazines, and businesses. For more visit arastoo.com.

Chris Obermiller (Teaches 101, Real Life)

chriso4Chris found his love for improv unexpectedly when he took an Improvisational Leadership course at UC Berkeley. An alum of Berkeley Improv, Chris has also studied with Bay Area Theater Sports (BATS), Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and the Leela theatre company where he is a member of YUM!, a troupe that builds improv scenes around personal and emotional stories. Chris also has taught Negotiation and Emotional Intelligence and uses the lessons of improv to enrich his creative work as a User Experience Designer and Music Artist. Chris believes that the ingredients needed to create fulfilling improv scenes are the same ingredients needed to lead a fulfilling life.

Adrian Bosada (Teaches 101, Real Life)

adrian.jpgA native of Mexico and former Spanish teacher for K-6 kids, Adrian has been doing improv since 2011, studying long-form and short-form improv in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He is a long time member of YUM! a Leela theatre company ‘Performance Improv Ensemble’, as well a member of the cast of Blackbox Improv Fusion and Synergy Theater. Adrian uses his background in animation and character design to bring characters to life on stage through archetypes, and movement. He believes that on stage, the most beautiful truths about the human condition are revealed through the actors’ ability to take risks, and to allow themselves to be surprised by their own choices.

Gerri Lawlor (Special Guest Teacher)

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A 15 year veteran company member and teacher at BATS (Bay Area Theater Sports), Gerri Lawlor has most recently worked with Margaret Cho in the Be Robin Campaign for the displaced. Among her voice-over roles, she was one of the principle voices of The Sims. She is a founding member of The Lazy profits and Norfleet, Lawlor and Gray and her hilarity abounds across the web.

Rashaad Leggett (Special Guest Teacher)

Rashaad.jpgAn alum of Berkeley Improv and a performing member of The Berkeley Players and Black Box Improv Fusion, Rashaad’s extensive creative and directing experience makes him a natural for teaching improv. In addition to teaching Improv 101, Rashaad teaches improv to middle schoolers at Black Pine Circle School. Rashaad has led Gospel music groups since the age of 12, written and directed 4 church plays and performed in numerous productions with the Lorraine Hansberry Theater in San Francisco. His love of music led him to the Berklee College of Music and to Wiley college on full scholarship. Rashaad is also currently working as a singer-songwriter and musician. Berkeley Improv is delighted to have him for the next few months until he heads off to continue his career in Texas.

Alex Lerman (Teaches 101, 201, Real Life)

Alex 03aAlex Lerman is the founder of Berkeley Improv. From humble beginnings in 2008 as the sole instructor of a weekly class, he nurtured Berkeley Improv into one of the top SF Bay Area schools of improv. Since starting Berkeley Improv, Alex has introduced improv to thousands of students. He created “Improv for Real Life” to help students get the most from improv, on and off stage. Alex has trained and mentored improv teachers at Berkeley Improv. He was hired by the University of California to teach workshops to students and staff. Alex has performed with Bay Area Theatresports (BATS) Sunday Players, BATS Young Audiences, East Bay Improv, The Reactors, and SF Improv. Alex founded the improv ensemble Berkeley Players, performing, hosting and directing improv performances. In 2010 he founded ImprovPower.com to offer organizations the benefits of applied improv, combined with his 15 years of successful entrepreneurship. Alex now travels abroad to grow improv literacy and community worldwide.