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Announcing the instructors of Mt Olymprov festival 2018

A good festival is formed by many elements. One of them that we strongly believe in is the good mix of instructors that we invite. They are the ones that offer workshops, share knowledge and experience and -just like everyone else attending- inspire.

That is the reason why we select very carefully who goes in the mix. We open up application to anyone and everyone because we want to be surprised. We want to discover new talent, get to meet people we do not personally know, but also to see who is excited to join our festival and truly wants to be part of it.

This year, it was again a long, difficult process. With 100+ applications from all around the world and SO many people that were more than suitable to take one of our instructors slots, we did not know who to accept and who to save for another edition of Mt Olymprov.

Well, we managed. And we are honored to work with these lovely, gracious improvisers during our festival in June in Athens, Greece!

Charna HalpernCharna Halpern is the founder and Artistic Director of the iO Theater. She has been teaching performers how to work together for more than 30 years. Having founded the world famous iO (formerly known as the “ImprovOlympic”)in Chicago and Hollywood, Halpern’s theaters are the meccas of training in the art of improvisation and act as a recruiting stop for television shows like Saturday Night Live, CONAN, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and countless other shows, supplying Hollywood with writers and performers. She is the author of the improv training manuals Truth in Comedy and Art By Committee.
Gary SchwartzGary Schwartz is an award-winning, TV and film actor, director, comedian and a master improvisational acting coach whose 30 years as a performer and improv teacher has helped transform the lives of thousands of people, both on- and off-screen.
It was Gary’s 18-year association with world-renowned theater educator and author, Viola Spolin – famous for training the very first improvisational theater troupe in the US which led to the creation of today’s well-known Second City improv troupe – that has provided the foundation for his work today. In 1988 Gary co-founded the Spolin Players improv troupe (, and is the only master teacher to have ever earned an endorsement from both Viola Spolin and her son, the legendary original director of Second City, Paul Sills.
Originally from New York State, Gary began his professional career as a mime at age 13, performing up and down the Hudson River with Pete Seegar, Arlo Guthrie and other great folk entertainers of the 60’s. In the 70’s and 80’s he appeared in numerous film and television projects including the Oscar-winning feature film Quest for Fire and 65 episodes of the Emmy-winning TV series Zoobilee Zoo, with Ben Vereen. Since then, as a voice actor, Gary has gone on to work with Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Tim Burton, Kenneth Brannagh and many other well-known directors. Details of his extensive acting career are available at (
Today, Gary is a passionate, dynamic improv coach and facilitator. He is the founder of Improv Odyssey, an exciting approach to changing the way people work and play, entirely based on Spolin’s techniques. He served on the counsel of the newly formed Actors Guild SAG-AFTRA, Seattle branch for 5 years.
Currently Gary resides in North Bend WA. He is founder of The Valley Center Stage, North Bend’s Community Theater. He teaches theater games locally and around the world. He also teaches acting for animation and writes on Spolin’s work.
Lee WhiteLee White, originally from Winnipeg Canada, now based in Berlin, is most
known for being part of the famous improv duo CRUMBS. Lee White
has been performing and teaching improv (almost) all his life. Touring
with shows and workshops all over Europe, Asia and North America,
for over 19 years, his unique philosophy of improv has made him
welcomed everywhere he goes. Aside from CRUMBS, Lee has been
involved in the invention/development of several new shows/formats
such as Knowledge and Punishment, Clever: The Live Comedy Game
Show, Your 15 minutes of fame, ‘Paradigm’ with Joe Bill, The Lorilees
with Inbal Lori, and Winnipeg’s infamous Dungeons and Dragons
Improv Show. Lee has performed in countless plays and independent
films, television, as well stand up comedy, all over this planet.
Nick ByrneNick Byrne is the Artistic Director of Improvention - Australia's International Festival of Improvisation, as well as Impro ACT - Canberra's original impro company and only school.

Nick is the creator of dozens of new formats, most of which are innovative and unusual, which has also meant the creation of new teaching styles for courses and workshops.

He has been an improvisation teacher, director, and performer in Gothenburg, Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Liverpool, Singapore, Tokyo, Bucharest, Tallinn, and Taipei, as well as throughout Australia.

Nick believes in improvisation as a lifestyle, philosophy, and a community, bringing this energy and love to his work. He believes in removing the worries generally associated with improvisation, and common monsters like 'musical improv', 'difficult genres', etc, and seeks to make these possible and enjoyable for all.

Nick believes that Greece and Australia have a very special connection, which should be developed into creative collaboration. He believes in you.
Billy KissaVasiliki Kissa is an actress, won over by Improv Theater. After attempting to adapt to a “normal” career, studying Tourism Management in Heraklion, Crete, she returned to Athens to follow her first and great desire, acting. After graduating “Theater of Arts, Karolos Koun”, she performed to her first play as a professional actress and at the same time she crossed paths with Improv Theater.

Since then, she has become one of Greece’s prime improv instructors, offering her craft to individuals and businesses alike. She has devoted herself fully to the art of improv, constantly learning, teaching, performing and changing, both in Greece and abroad. She participates in a number of international improv-based projects and teaches/performs all over the world, including a very successful US-tour with her duo troupe “Bus Kai”.

Find her during the festival and call her Billy. That’s what her friends and people who can’t pronounce her name call her, and you probably belong to at least one of those categories.
Fena OrtalliFeña Ortalli began his acting career in 2001. A few years later he was part of the Professional Improv League (LPI) in Buenos Aires between 2003 and 2006.

In 2006 he created Global Impro, an improv troupe dedicated to national and international collaboration and exchange. Originally from Argentina, he is currently based in Madrid, Spain where he performs and teaches with Impromadrid and El Club de la Impro.

He writes, edits and directs Status, an improv magazine that has more than 2500 subscribers all over the world, and is considered the most influential publication on the Spanish speaking improv community.

Since 2001 he has taught and performed in different cities all over the globe.
Menelaos ProkosMenelaos Prokos is an improviser based in Athens, Greece. His improv brain, though, grew in Austin, TX. After that, he moved back to his hometown, where he founded ImproVIBE, the country’s first and -currently- only improv school and theater. During the years of ImproVIBE’s operation he’s been teaching day-in day-out the art of improv, taking the students from their very first improv baby steps, to advanced longform shows and everything in between. His teaching focuses on always finding the fun, while at the same time creating real relationships and truly connecting with scene partners and audience alike.

He regularly runs applied improv workshops for local businesses and multinational corporations the likes of Pfizer, Vodafone, IKEA and Nestle. Outside of Greece, he has taught/performed all over Europe, as well as Colombia and the USA. He performs regularly with his main troupe, “Bus Kai” (a narrative duo with Vasiliki Kissa), as well as with the “Bad Ideas”. A phrase that perfectly encapsulates the way he enjoys performing is one once said by Del Close: “Improv is a primarily comedic form of theater that can tear your heart out at any given moment.”.

When not swimming the improv seas, he spends most of his free time cycling, playing (as well as performing at) escape room games and cleaning up the mess his dogs make.
Gael PerryGael Perry has been practising improv for almost 10 years in Strasbourg and he is member, co-founder and the director of La Carpe Haute. He is nowadays one of the most well-known improvisers in Europe, mostly for the physicality side of his improv.

He created many workshops (short or intensive) in French and English, using his experience on stage (national and international) and from the teachers he met (Joe Bill, Patti Styles, Will Luera, Lee White, Anders Fors, Rance Rizzutto, Matthieu Loos, Kaci Beeler, etc.). He travels all over the world performing and teaching, and found a thousand ways to improvise.

His dream was to combine it to be a multifaceted crystal of improv! Now, he tries to share around the world that way of acting, kindly and silly, emotive and crazy.
Nathan KeatesNathan Keates is a trainer, improvisation facilitator and a performing arts teacher. Nathan also is an actor and a clown.

Nathan began teaching improvisation in 2006 and quickly got teaching in another country, the States. In 2007, he found a love for applied improvisation for autistic people as it sprung to reality there and then.

Nathan has taught all over the world, touring his classes and expressing his philosophies on the work to many people. The classes have been taught in festivals, schools, colleges, community centres and theatres. As a qualified teacher in the UK, Nathan brings the rationalizable approach to his teaching through his underlying spontaneity. Always be live and flexible to the needs to the room is a fundamental element of the system. Be kind, be honest and be taking my class!

If people say it is not easy, then Nathan cries.

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