Go To Marshall Stern-Go To Ron Jones


Nancy Howland Walker (Executive Director) is a SAG/AFTRA actor, writer, teacher, and trainer. She has appeared in hundreds of commercials, videos and live industrials, and has been performing, teaching, directing, and producing improv since 1989. She has written and performed comedy shows for businesses all over the country, and has run casting sessions on three different continents. Nancy has done corporate trainings for major corporations across the country, including McDonalds, Oxford Instruments, and Amoco/BP.

Nancy’s specialty is improvisational theater – in Boston she was the Artistic Director of ImprovBoston (New England's longest running comedy troupe), The Next ImprovBoston, Picture This! and TheatreSports of Massachusetts. In Chicago, she has performed with The Free Associates in the heralded improv shows Cast on a Hot Tin Roof, As We Like It, Pick-a-Dick, BS, Divamatic, and The Greatest Story Never Told. Nancy was head of The Free Associates and ImprovBoston improv schools, and has taught for Players Workshop of the Second City, at festivals and for groups all across the country. Nancy is proud to have been one of six Americans sent to France for the last World Cup playoffs of the international Improvisational Theatre League, and one of eight improvisers representing the United States for the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. She knows Mickey Mouse personally, after having performed improv on a Disney Cruise ship for an entire winter.

Nancy is the creator, producer, director, and a performer in the critically acclaimed show MUSICAL! the musical, the country’s first two-act completely improvised modern Broadway style musical, which opened in 1998 at the Royal George Theatre, and has had runs in Boston, Nashville and various theaters across the country. She also created and directed Awake in the Night, the country’s first two-act improvised drama.

Nancy Howland Walker has been an entrepreneur since the age of 16 when she started managing and creating/operating businesses, such as Nantucket Sail Boat Rental and Nantucket Harbor Launch. No matter what business or group Nancy has been involved with, she has quickly become a leader, using her easy-going, humorous and highly organized style. She brings all these qualities to her current position as Executive Director of Chicago Improv Associates.

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Marshall Stern (Artistic Director) is a multi-talented and versatile man, having worked in the fields of entertainment, education and psychology.

Marshall was nicknamed “The Godfather of Nashville Improv” by Martin Brady , the theater critic of the Nashville Scene. He earned this name by single handedly creating college level courses which he taught at Nashville Tech, creating a talent pool from which he shaped award winning troupes and shows. He received the Ruth Sweet Award for excellence in theater education which allowed him to study at the Players Workshop of the Second City (of which he eventually became the director.) His troupe One Hand Clapping was one of three Improv troupes from around the country to be the first invited to perform at the prestigious Humana Festival at the Actor's Theatre of Louisville. The same troupe was also voted the Best Performing Arts Troupe by a Nashville Scene Readers poll, beating out the professional Tennessee Repertory Company and the Nashville Symphony. Marshall Stern produced, directed, and performed in the Music City production of MUSICAL! the musical, where he was also the Artistic Director of One Hand Clapping.

As a talented songwriter/musician, Marshall worked as a proefessional songwriter contracted by a subsidiary of Warner Chappel in Nashville. Many of Marshall 's songs appear on albums by Nashville recording artists and on other albums across the country and intrnationally.

Marshall distinguished himself in Chicago as a teacher and Director for Players Workshop of the Second City . He performed in the innovative "Awake In The Night" - the country's first two-act improvised dramatic play which ran at the Playground in the fall of 2002.

Marshall has also achieved critical acclaim in legitimate theater in such diverse roles as Madame Pernelle in Tartuffe and Sgt. Toomey in Biloxi Blues and in Chicago in 2005 as Groucho in "Groucho; A Life In Revue". Marshall worked as Artistic Director for The Comedy Shrine in Naperville during it's first year in 2006 setting up the new cast and creating the shows for the fledgling theater. He is currently Artistic Director of Chicago Improv Associates and part of the duo that produces the Zenprov podcast.

Marshall minored in Psychology at SUNY/Stoney Brook and attended Graduate School in the field of Transpersonal Psychology at John F. Kennedy University in California . He has been involved in training Social Work students since the age of 14 where he worked under the supervision of Mel Goldstein L.C.S.W. at Adelphi University and worked for many years training peer counselors and working at crisis intervention centers around the US .

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RON JONES (Youth Outreach Director) has been an actor, director, and trainer for over twenty years. He has been a performing member of such troupes as ImprovBoston and The U.S. Improvisational Theatre League as well as numerous stage and industrial productions. He was Artistic Director and Director of Operations for ImprovBoston the areas longest running and most acclaimed troupe. He was selected as Player/Coach of the team representing the United States in the World Championships of Improvisation (seen on the Comedy Channel). Mr. Jones' American squad was ranked #1 in the world through 2000 and 2001 league play. He has been guest director for more than a dozen troupes and has taught improvisation classes at Harvard University, Wheelock College, Tufts Univetsity, and Curry College. Ron has been a returning guest instructor in the Graduate Education programs at Fitchburg State College and Endicott College.

Mr Jones has developed customized trainings for the educational and business communities. As a founding member of the Program Urban Improv; he does no less than 250 workshops a year throughout New England for young people using improvisation as a tool for self-expression and violence prevention. In 2002 Urban Improv won an EMMY Award for Best Children's Programming for the television program "re:Action." Over the years Mr. Jones has also put significant focus on developing interactive training for corporate clients such as Ocean Spray, Stax Interactive Consultants, Pitney-Bowes, Target Blue, McDonalds, Harvard University's Executive MBA Program, and The American Bar Association.


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