Stephen Thornton

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Honest style of improv is a little different than what you tend to find here, in NYC. I've been studying improvisation for over 17 years, but I haven’t followed the typical path of studying at one of the major schools. Instead, I’ve done a smorgasbord of different styles and techniques, from short form to long form, to theatrical, organic, physical and even interactive. I’ve studied them all! I feel, because I have not subscribed to just one technique, it has rounded me out as a player and coach to adapt to any style that I come in contact with. (View who I've studied with below)

My philosophy when coaching has always been to be at service to the group and its needs. I like to find out what the group is really good at and then work to strengthen those skills, as well as working on the skill that they might not be so good at…yet. When coaching I focus on: relationship, movement, characters, speaking your truth, finding and changing your status, discovering the comedic elements in a scene to heightening them, and to feel the feeling you feel as you feel them. The main goal being, to help teams create scenes that are dynamic as well as moving.

Like Viola Spolin (Godmother of Improvisation), I believe in using the space to inform and discover, playing and heightening the relationship and emotional reality of the scene to find a universal truth and using “game” as a transition, instead of an end-all, to find something deeper and more meaningful. I want to help improv teams find their voice and create something on-stage that is unique and different from other teams in NYC.

Currently, I am branching out and enrolled in classes at the PIT to add yet another dimension to my work.

Additional skills and techniques used:

View Points, Kinesthetic Improv, Kinetic Improv, Physical Theater, Mime, Clowning, Soundscapes

Rate is $25 p/hr

Stephen is a New York-based improviser who has been studying improvisation since 2001 when he was introduced to the techniques of Viola Spolin. He moved to NY in 2007 and has been performing in the NYC improv scene since 2008. He has performed at many NYC venues including The PIT (Striker & Underground), PIT Loft, Magnet, UCB, UCBeast, The Tank, Creek and Cave and others. He has facilitated Spolin based theatrical improvisation workshops in NYC and abroad in Lisbon, Portugal, including a workshop at the National Conservatory. Currently, he is on The Panel for The Armory House Teams at The Tank and is the Artistic Director of Workshop Facilities for the theater company Artistic New Directions where he also teaches. He lives in Brooklyn and likes, no scratch that, loves cookies.

Current Teams:

- Geisha Gravy (duo w/ Mike Sause)
- 3.14 (Pronounced Pie)
- The ANDsemble (Artistic New Directions)

Shows Currently Involved With (not as part of teams listed above):

- Gary Austins: The Classroom (PIT Underground)

Improv Classes:

- Viola Spolin w/ Hal Peller
- IN Studios Improvisational Theatre Conservatory
- Level 5 at The Treehouse Theater

Improv Intensives & Notable Mentors:

- David Razowsky (Second City LA Artistic Director, Second City Chicago Mainstage Performer)
- Gary Austin (Founder of The Groundlings)
- Michael Gellman (Second City Chicago & Toronto - Long Time Professor Emeritus)
- Jeff Michalski (Second City Chicago, Founder of Second City ETC., Second City Mainstage Performer)
- Scotty Watson (Second City Toronto & NY)
- Jeff Wirth (Interactive Play Lab, PWR, Interactive Improvisation)

Sketch Education:

Scotty Watson (Second City)
Irene Carroll (Gotham City Improv)
IN Studios Sketch Comedy Conservatory

Sketch Writing Experience:

- Head Writer for 1 Gotham City Improv Hour-Long Sketch Show
- Improvisation News
- The ANDsemble

Previous Teams:

Five for Vendetta
Black Box Improv
Plan B - Gotham City Improv (House Team)
Red Tie Mafia
Eskimo Dance


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