2017 Workshops

Every year, the District Improv Festival brings innovative and new workshops to D.C. All of the workshops are from visiting artists who are also performing in the festival.

Stephen Carter – Your Scene Is Bad And You Should Feel Bad

Saturday, September 9, from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Carter Headshot

Stephen has been improvising for the past 15 years. Newly returned to Seattle after a 9-year hiatus in DC where he was a founding member and performer with WIT ensemble Love Onion , he has a comedy background that includes teaching, coaching and performing longform improv. He’s thrilled to be teaching this workshop to meet new people and to combat his chronic, paralyzing fear that no one really likes him.


Have you been in a scene that falls totally flat? Or a scene with a strong start but you had no idea where to take it next? Do you want to be a more supportive improviser for your group? Or do you just want to introduce a few tools in your improv tool belt to help you create funny, grounded, sustainable scenes? If so, this is the workshop for you!

In this workshop, we will:

  • Break down what makes a good scene good and a bad scene bad.
  • Learn “emergency” tools to deploy when a scene stumbles.
  • Learn to be a more supportive improviser.
  • Practice exercises designed to start scenes off on the right foot.
  • Create grounded characters that you could live in for a full show.


Ben Chang, Shiyan Animashaun, and Adam Zhang – Rhythm and Flow with Milk Money

Saturday, September 9, from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Chang headshot

Ben is the music director for Milk Money with over a decade of experience as a freestyle beatboxer. He was also a founding member of ImprovBoston’s Musical Improv Cast and regularly performs musical improv on a Catalyst Comedy resident cast.

Shiyan was first exposed to improv as an undergrad in Nigeria and is a graduate of the ImprovBoston Training Center. She loves mixing rap and improv and, if pressed to choose, is a proponent of flow over rhymes. You can see Shiyan as part of ImprovBoston and Catalyst Comedy resident casts, and various indie teams in the Boston area.

Adam is an improviser and comedian from the Boston area, and a founding member of Milk Money. He has performed in ImprovBoston’s Studio 40 Showcase as a member of several musical improv teams.


Musical improv covers many different genres and styles of music and with the success of Hamilton, there has never been a better time to bring hip hop into that mix. We will review the core tenets of musical improv and how they can be modified and applied to rap and hip hop, from things as basic as attitude to more advanced techniques for setup/payoff rhymes.

Devon Henderson & Jackie Twomey – Tick … Tick … BOOM!

Saturday, September 9, from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

TwoSon is a Toronto-based sketch and improv duo that has performed at comedy festivals in Montréal, D.C., Detroit, Seattle, and Vancouver. Devon and Jackie are both trained through The Second City and The Bad Dog Theatre Company. They both perform on house teams with the newly-formed improv collective, The Assembly, and with the narrative improv ensemble, Pantsuit. Jackie currently coaches the indie improv team “Little Secrets,” and Devon coaches “Pepperoni Pizza Cats” and The Assembly’s “Abra Cadaver.” They were also both instructors at this summer’s Improvcamp in British Columbia.


A good longform set is funny, but a *great* set also builds a rich and detailed world. We can achieve this by slowing down and taking in everything that happens on stage. TwoSon’s workshop will focus on how starting small can take you somewhere big and silly. Participants will learn how to connect, heighten, and explore patient scene work. This workshop emphasizes discovery over invention, so if you sometimes struggle to “find the funny,” or are bogged down with too many ideas, this is the workshop for you.

Betse Green – Playing With Heart – Making Deeper Connections With Your Scene Partner

Sunday, September 10, from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Originally from New York City, Betse Green moved to Portland in 1995. She took her first improv class in an effort to understand her husband’s obsession with this “improv thing”. She was immediately hooked. Since then, she made it her mission to learn the craft and has trained with ComedySportz, Brody Theater, IO Chicago and Annoyance as well as taking master classes with Jill Bernard, Susan Messing, Joe Bill, Mick Napier, Mark Sutton, Bob Dassie and Pam Victor.

As an improvisor, director and certified improv educator, Betse performs and teaches throughout the United States. Her talents have been showcased at festivals; most recently, the Chicago Improv Festival, Phoenix Improv Festival, Alaska State Improv Festival and the Hartford Improv Festival. Locally, she is an ensemble member and teacher at ComedySportz Portland and the Brody Theater and teaches classes at Curious Comedy Theater. She also performs regularly with Peachy Chicken, B&B, and Gladys Kravitz. She currently directs the musical long form team, NoteTakers. In her spare time she is the co-owner and Education Director for ComedySportz Boston.


Playing With Heart workshop focuses on connecting with your scene partners. You will be guided through exercises that will foster collaboration by taking a journey into a world of full of emotions and emotional stakes to create strong, grounded characters that naturally lead to compelling scene work. This workshop is designed to enhance your communication skills and find the joy in your improv by allowing yourself to be vulnerable with those you work with. By drawing strong, meaningful connections from your scene partner it will naturally take your scene work to the next level.

Valuable communication, creative and relationship building skills are packed into this fun and interactive 2-hour workshop taught by CSz Boston owner and 15-year professional improviser and Certified Improv Educator and Architect, Betse Green.

Top Pain Points:

  • Our ensemble is new and we want to get to know each other better
  • Our ensemble has been playing for a long time and we need to refresh/reconnect and find new ways of playing with each other

Skills Addressed in This Workshop:

  • Stronger connections with your scene partner
  • Become a more supportive player
  • Creating, grounded real characters that your fellow players will be delighted to play with


Nnamdi Ngwe – Your Role In A Piece

Sunday, September 10, from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

For more on Nnamdi you can check out thennamdi.com, follow him on Instagram @nngwe17 or Twitter @nnamdingwe


Improv is best when awareness is raised and people operate as a team. We will focus on opportunities often missed that can transform a good improv piece into a kick ass piece.

Patrick Rowland – Playing Fast And Fun

Sunday, September 10, from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

For more on Patrick you can check out www.patrickrowland.com, follow him on Instagram @prowland76 or Twitter @patrickrowland3


This class teaches folks how to play for quicker pacing, just like the team 3Peat from Chicago. How tight can you be as an ensemble? we’ll work on techniques to improve trust and playing harder that will improve the dynamics and add much needed energy to any show.