The 2018 Miami Improv Festival features workshops from improv and sketch comedy’s leading instructors.

Workshop Information

WORKSHOPS ARE ON SALE NOW AND ARE SELLING OUT FAST!  Tickets for workshops currently are $120. Workshops frequently sell out, get yours now before they are gone!

Tickets to workshops can be purchased online, or at the box office the week of MIF 2018. To purchase tickets online click [BUY TICKETS] next to the workshop you wish to take. For more information on workshops and instructor bios scroll down.


Friday, January 12, 2018

10:00 am

Be Here Now: Joy and Presence in Scenework
Instructors: Tara DeFrancisco and Rance Rizzutto

$120.00  [BUY TICKETS]

Presence is the name of the game. Come do two person scenework, actively listen, find the fun. It’s all right there in front of you. Part bohemian methodology, part hardcore scenework, this workshop is both invigorating and full of straight talk.

Dramatic Improv: Getting Serious
Instructor: Shantira Jackson

$120.00  [BUY TICKETS]

In this workshop, you will learn how to initiate and maintain scenes through honest and grounded scene work without always going for the laugh. Getting serious can get you to funny. Previous Improv experience recommended.

1:30 pm

The First 30 Seconds
Instructor: Joe Bill

$120.00   [BUY TICKETS]

In Improvisation so often the ending is in the beginning. Let me help you begin your scenes in service to yourself, your scene partners and the show you’re doing. I’ll show you how to attack the first 0-15 & 15-30 seconds (The Golden Time) of a scene. This includes the mindset of readiness, playing with energy variety for initiations, strategic & emotional listening, awareness of interpersonal vs. circumstantial dialogue and tracking the context through patterns that you establish right from the start. Everyone will walk out of this workshop with at least a couple of new tools that they can begin to employ immediately.

Improv to Sketch
Instructor: Shantira Jackson

$120.00  [BUY TICKETS]

Learn how to approach improv as a way to produce scripted material. Learn how to pitch a premise, refine your existing ideas and what improvisational processes will help you get there. Previous Improv experience recommended.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

10:00 am

Be Here Now: Joy and Presence in Scenework
Instructors: Tara DeFrancisco and Rance Rizzutto

$120.00  [BUY TICKETS]

Presence is the name of the game. Come do two person scenework, actively listen, find the fun. It’s all right there in front of you. Part bohemian methodology, part hardcore scenework, this workshop is both invigorating and full of straight talk.

ImprovBoston – Sing It! Better Improv through Music
Instructor: Mike Descoteaux


Sing it! introduces students to the fundamentals of how to improvise songs that sound as if they had been written. Explore rhyming (and effective alternatives to rhyming), common song structures that lend themselves to improvising, creating memorable hooks, and how to convincingly get into songs from an improvised scene. Discover the many connections between traditional improv and “singprov,” allowing students to heighten emotion, strengthen relationships, and access new characters instantaneously. By the end of the day, students will sing off the cuff with confidence and joy. Take this workshop and unlock a new, deeply rewarding approach to improvisation.

Advanced Shortform
Instructor: Matt Castellvi

$120.00   [BUY TICKETS]

This fun, high energy workshop will give insight and training how to approach short form in a professional environment. They will learn to immediately heighten games stylistically and work on creating the perfect running order. Students will deep dive into short form and learn how to make games as successful as possible for any type of audience. Not only will they walk away with new games to explore, but they will learn to customize games for any setting.

1:30 pm

ImprovBoston – Allform: Beyond Structure
Instructor: Mike Descoteaux

$120.00   [BUY TICKETS]

Explore ImprovBoston’s signature AllForm approach to improvisation. Follow the Fun to discover how every moment, beat, line and movement in a show can be deconstructed, leading you to the next scene. Find form where there was no form. We’ll explore the tools that enable performers to create a unique improvised running order with every show. In this “everything is on the table” style, Harold beats, shortform lay-ons, narrative edits, game moves, audience interaction, heightened physicality, genre play, callbacks and pretty much everything else you can imagine, converge to answer 3 fundamental questions: 1) What does the show want? 2) What’s come before? 3) What’s fun? Join us and discover the exhilaration of laying down tracks in front of a moving train.

PRESENT YOURSELF: Hosting and Stage Presence
Instructor: Stacey Smith

$120.00   [BUY TICKETS]

Get out of your head and onto your feet! This workshop will focus on owning the stage. Learn the most concise way to host an improv game or an entire show. In addition, we will dive into the ins and outs of editing in order to make everyone in the audience and on stage feel like rockstars. The best version of you is confident you!

Instructor: Stacey Hallal

$120.00   [BUY TICKETS]

When we are scared, something in our brains tells us to shut down, pull in and play it safe. On stage, these survival instincts are the opposite of what will save us, yet we see scene after scene of improvisers standing around and talking about nothing. In this workshop, you will learn how to open up, project out and attack each scene with energy, emotion and joy.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

10:00 am

Emotional and Psychological Listening
Instructor: Joe Bill


Most people will agree that one of the most important (if not THE most important) elements of Improvisation is Listening.

In this workshop I will show you how to go deeper with Listening so that it’s not just on a strategic, opportunistic level where you are tracking in the moment the linear give and take of what is being said in your game or scene in order to give a response that builds on your scene partner’s ideas. I will show you how to listen and be responsive on an emotional and psychological level so that you can collaborate together in the realm of the UNSPOKEN meaning of the scene.

You will learn tools to help you tend to HOW you are treating and behaving with each other. Some of the tools help with what and how you notice the unspoken in the scene and how those affect the way that you are present when you play. The other set of tools are for how you respond and verbally acknowledge what is going on, on an emotional and psychological level, so that your scenes can have more depth, more believability and discover more levels of funny that lie underneath a literal, linear “YesAnd” conversation.

3Peat: Make and Bake a Move
Instructor: Nnamdi Ngwe

$120.00   [BUY TICKETS]

Hesitancy from you or your ensemble kills momentum or an entire piece. We’ll explore how we can make moves that support others and make moves others would love to support.

1:30 pm

3Peat: Playing Fast and Fun
Instructor: Patrick Rowland

$120.00   [BUY TICKETS]

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.

Instructor: Stacey Hallal

$120.00   [BUY TICKETS]

Often, people are initially drawn to comedy because it is a natural defense mechanism against feeling and/or showing emotion. The trouble is, without emotional investment, there is no scene and there is no comedy. To be a master improviser, you must know how to show and play with a wide range of emotions in your scenes. In Emotion, Emotion, Emotion, we will practice a variety of techniques to create characters with strong emotional points of view. Students will learn what emotions they play easily, what emotions cause stumbling blocks in their scene work, how to unlock the key to great scenework and the difference between the relationship and the game.

Instructor Bios

Joe-Bill-WebJoe Bill

Joe Bill is widely regarded as one of the best teachers of Scenic and Comedic Improvisation in America today.  He currently teaches, performs and is the Senior Facilitator & Designer of Corporate Training at iO Chicago. He is also on the faculty at The Second City Training Center where he teaches intensives in Duo Improvisation and Improvisation for Actors. He is one of the founding members of Annoyance Theater Chicago where, for 12 years, he performed in and/or directed more than 60 different shows. Joe first learned Improvisation and in 1977 studied and worked with Del Close from 1985 through the mid 90’s.

Joe tours internationally with innovative Long Form shows including SCRAM! with Jill Bernard (Huge Improv Theater – Mpls.) and the NY Times acclaimed BASSPROV with Mark Sutton (Annoyance Theater/The Second City).

Joe headlines with Chicago Improv Goddess Susan Messing in Messing With a Friend, with Lee White (CRUMBS – Winnipeg/Berlin) in their show PARADIGM, with International Improv Legend Patti Stiles (AD – Impro Melbourne) and their show Our Play, with Georgie Caldwell (The P.I.T. NYC/iO Chicago) in the (Sutton-Hallal) show In Every Life and with David Razowsky (Host A.D.D. Comedy Podcast) in Razowsky & Bill.

Joe performs in The Del Tones, The Armando Diaz Theatrical Experience and Musical Armando at iO Chicago. He has played as a guest in The Scene and Chica GO-GO at The PIT in NYC, with Let’s Have A Ball and ASSSSCAT 3000 at UCB Theater in NYC & L.A and with Kornfeld & Andrews at Magnet Theater in NYC.

He has performed, directed, taught and served as an Artistic Adviser for a number of Improvisation/Comedy Theaters & Festivals all over North America, Europe, Australia and South Africa and at every major Improv Festival in The United States.

Stacey Hallal

Stacey Hallal founded the Curious Comedy Theater in Portland, Oregon in 2008 where she serves as Managing/Artistic Director as well as a regular performer, writer, director and teacher. As Artistic Director, Stacey has created the Curious training center curriculum, trains and supports the teaching staff, oversees the scheduling, production and creative direction of over a hundred shows per year and has the honor of curating the annual All Jane Comedy Festival.

Stacey has been devoted to comedy in Portland and Chicago for over fifteen years and has appeared and taught at more than 100 comedy festivals across the United States and Canada. While in Chicago, Stacey completed the iO, Annoyance, and Second City training centers. She went on to complete the prestigious Directing Program at Second City where she also taught improv and comedy writing as a member of the Second City Training Center Faculty. Stacey Assistant Directed the smash hit Second City Main Stage production, Between Barack and A Hard Place. Stacey also uses improv to help major companies better understand and communicate their brand stories with Character, LLC, a Portland-based company she helped start up in 2001.

Nnamdi Ngwe

Nnamdi Ngwe is an actor, model, Improvisor, teacher, and writer. He studied and teaches at iO Theater, The Second City, and The Bovine Metropolis Theater. Nnamdi was recently awarded teacher of the year at iO Theater. Nnamdi wrote and stared in the critically acclaimed show Julius which earned him a trip to the New York Television Festival and a nomination for Best Screenplay at the Best Of The Midwest Film Awards among others. He also wrote and starred in Rap Skool which was also screened at the New York Television festival and earned him a best actor nomination at the Best of the Midwest Film Awards.

In addition to Film, TV, and Commercials, Nnamdi can be seen across the world touring with the award winning improv/sketch group 3Peat, and iO Theater.

Patrick Rowland

Patrick Rowland teaches improv and sketch around the world. He has trained at The Second City and iO Chicago. Patrick is a recipient of 2014 Bob Curry Fellowship, is an alum of the Second City House Company, and has performed as an understudy for the Second City mainstage, aboard the NCL Gem, as well as two revues with Outreach and Diversity Program. He can be seen performing at iO Chicago and across the country with 3Peat, The Deltones, Armando, and Musical Armando. His solo sketch has been featured in the 2013 TBS Just For Laughs Festival. Patrick was also recently nominated for best supporting actor at the Austin Comedy Film Festival for his role in Mr Mainframe.


Stacey Smith

Stacey is a loud Long Islander who can be seen performing regularly at CSz, at iO with The Musical Armando and The Deltones, in various projects with The Second City (most recently Life Hacks, The Really Awesome Improv Show and #DateMe in the UP Comedy Club) or with her various independent teams (Stacked, Brouhaha and Smith&I) around town and/or at festivals. She is an instructor in the A-E Program, Youth&Teen Program and The Wellness Program at The Second City and recently created her own program called S.H.E (Sisterhood. Humor. Empowerment) for female identifying students ages 8-18. In addition, she also teaches and iO and The Playground Theater and is the former Head of the Training Center at CSz Theater Chicago. She is also the Creator/Executive Producer of the Chicago Musical Improv Festival. Stacey performed two contracts for The Second City aboard the Norwegian Breakaway. Stacey is currently the Comedy School Manager at ImprovBoston.

Matt Castellvi

Matt Castellvi has been performing improv for over 10 years in Chicago and around the country.  Born and raised in Chicago, Matt performed and taught with CSz Chicago, Musical Armando at iO Chicago and Baby Wants Candy.  He also writes and performs standup and sketch in group Going Steady and solo show, Matt Castellvi: Mixed Reviews. Matt is currently living in Boston and was just cast on ImprovBoston’s All-Access cast in addition to performing standup.


Mike Descoteaux

Mike Descoteaux is the Artistic Director of ImprovBoston. Mike served as head and creator of the Music Program at The Second City Training Center and music director of the Second City Etc stage in Chicago. He built and ran the Music Director Training Program for Second City, recruiting and training MDs for world-wide Second City productions. Named one of the top young songwriters in the country by the Johnny Mercer/AMTP association, he has had the privilege of working with Tony Award-winning artists such as Jason Robert Brown, William Finn, Mark Hollmann and James LaPine. His work has been seen on NBC, A&E, WGN and stages across the country. He has “composed” and “conducted” over 1,000 completely improvised musicals with Baby Wants Candy, Musical! the musical, I Eat Pandas, BLANK! The Musical Off-Broadway and many others. In addition to teaching at institutions like the Second City, ImprovBoston, Northwestern University, and Columbia College, Mike has lead workshops in music direction around the world. He recently founded and currently runs ImprovBoston’s music director training program.

Shantira Jackson

Shantira Jackson is Chicago transplant newly based in Brooklyn. She is a writer-performer and currently, a writer for BET’s sketch show 50 Central. Shantira is a former writer for Cards Against Humanity and a Second City Mainstage Alum. She can be seen performing all over the country with her critically acclaimed improv group 3Peat.


Tara DeFrancisco

Tara DeFrancisco is a headlining performer at iO Chicago (on the Deltones, Chaos Theory, Armando, defrancisCo), ComedySportz (Mainstage), and a three year vet of the Second City Touring Company. She’s taught for those theatres and independently, both at home and internationally. Media-wise, you might see her in a Las Vegas commercial campaign, on Delusions of Grandeur (ABC Family/Blip TV), soon in the new feature film The Life & Death of an Unhappily Married Man (2015), or in several projects filmed for the satirical newspaper, The Onion.

She is also the founder and president of The Improv Retreat(, the acclaimed and beloved summer camp for adult improvisers in the midwest. In March of 2015, weekly residency of Here (a two person longform improvised musical, performed with Rance Rizzutto) is scheduled for Thursdays at iO around their worldwide tour dates. Tara has won numerous awards, including Top Performer in Chicago from New City, Funniest Person in Chicago by the Free Press, Top 25 Of Comedy in the US by Curve Magazine, as well as Chicago Tribune Show of the Season for the long running renegade feat, defrancisCo.


Rance Rizzutto

Hi, I’m Rance Rizzutto. I started doing improv with ComedySportz in Portland as well as joining Portland’s longest running sketch comedy troupe, The Third Floor. I performed with both until making the decision to head to Chicago!

Since moving to Chicago in 2003 I have performed with ComedySportz, Chicago, DSI (The Beatbox), Silent Treatment (award winning two-person silent improv), seven8nine, and various other improv teams and venues.

Second City also hired me to perform improv and sketch with their theatrical division aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL). I’ve performed sketch and improv all over the seas. Caribbean, Mediterranean, Atlantic Ocean, and in late 2009, the Pacific Ocean…Hawaii. All in all, I’ve spent 17 months traveling and performing aboard cruise ships. That’s a LOT of buffet food.

Traveling with Second City also made possible one of my favorite improv opportunities: sitting in with the Istanbul, Turkey improv group Istanbulimpro and singing about swearing with cultural awareness (SFW).

After years of performing, I started teaching as well. I currently teach for iO, and have taught for ComedySportz and Second City in the past. People come from all over the world to study improvisation in Chicago, and I’ve been thrilled to help people grow.

Best yet, in 2014 iO sent Tara and I to Europe to teach their 3-day intensives. In that time we also got to perform Here in Estonia, Germany, Copenhagen, and Latvia.

Currently, I can be seen at iO Chicago performing with The Deltones and Chaos Theory on Saturday nights, and of course Here with Tara DeFrancisco.