our TEAM

Keren Gudeman Founder, Director & Teacher

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Keren Gudeman Founder, Director & Teacher

Keren founded Improv Parenting as a way to help parents feel more grounded, confident, and playful as they navigate the stresses and multiple roles of our modern lives.  

While raising her first child Keren found that even with 15 years of teaching and coaching she often felt overwhelmed by the demands of being a mom. Then Keren took her first improv class (despite her stage fright). As she gained confidence in improv she saw how it filtered into her daily life, especially her parenting. Improv helped Keren be in the moment, accept mistakes, trust her choices, and view her parenting as an arena for creativity.

Keren is on a mission to bring improv into family life - everyday life - everywhere. 

What do you love most about improv?

Whether you aspire to perform or simply want to be more comfortable in your own skin, improv is an incredible space for practicing a range of real-life skills: authenticity, listening, non-judgment, flexibility, collaboration, balancing the playful with the serious.

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Laraine Pennington Producer, Improvisor

Laraine is a freelance writer, improvisor and graduate of The Second City comedy and sketch writing programs. A mom of two and lover of children and Italy, Laraine grew up in Orlando and now identifies as a St. Paul resident (for which the Minneapolitans usually don't judge her). 

What do you love most about improv? 

I love how it forces you to always be present. This is such a hard life lesson to learn. I tend to focus too much on the future and can sometimes miss the fun of what's happening right in front of me!

What's your favorite dessert?

Yes.

What do you like to make? 

I love making my bed. Seriously. I feel like I can handle anything and everything the day can throw at me if those pillows, sheets and comforter are put together!

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Rita Boersma Teacher

Rita Boersma is a performer, teacher, writer and coach. She has been an improvisor for over 15 years. She is a company member at ComedySportz and performs regularly with Show X and The Mess at HUGE Theater where she also teaches, directs and coaches extensively. 

Outside of the theater community, she has over 10 years experience working in education, both one-on-one in the classroom and on a large group scale as a Program Facilitator with the nonprofit, Youth Frontiers. She is also mother to one whip-smart and terribly hilarious kid. It couldn't hurt to mention she has a truly unreasonable love of mashed potatoes.

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Joe Bozic Teacher

Producer, director, sketch writer and improvisor is co-founder of Strike Theater, a Twin Cities venue for spoken word, storytelling and sketch comedy. From 2009 to 2014 he was the director of the Brave New Workshop Student Union and he has been improvising since the late 1990's. Joe has years of experience teaching and directing both performance-level long-form improvisation and sketch comedy.

What do you love about teaching improv? 

Watching a student come to the realization that everything they do is a gift to their scene partner, and that they can do no wrong. Once that happens, then the fun truly begins.

Favorite childhood book?

Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic

Hardest thing about improv?

Giving up all expectations and existing purely in a place of discovery.

Alex Cleberg Teacher, Curriculum Developer

Alex is a father of two and plays a scary monster, old timey sportscaster, and jungle gym for his kids. He has performed, coached, or taught improv for over a decade. Alex is an intercultural trainer at the University of Minnesota and an improv instructor at The Brave New Workshop.

When did you start improvising? 

I started classes at the Brave New Workshop in 2006, then performed on the Six Ring Circus. Later I formed my own team called Grasshoppah, which was a mashup with local hip-hop artists and storytellers. 

Where do you wish you had never visited?

The bottom of an empty swimming pool.

What do you love most about improv? 

Improv helps refine listening, reacting, and collaboration skills in fundamental ways. 

Sami Dee Teacher

Sami teaches at Temple Israel ECC and is an improvisor, performing and directing around Minneapolis.

Sarah Gioia Teacher

Sarah had a long career in local (mostly) and national (a bit) theater, directing over 80 shows as well as casting and dramaturging extensively.  She is mostly retired from all that glamour to be a full-time mama to her 6 year old son.  And to teach at Improv Parenting camps, of course!

Krystianna Johnson Teacher

A former Museum Educator at the Minnesota Children's Museum and a lab instructor and TA for Toy Product Design at the U of MN, Krystianna teaches classes and camps for Improv Parenting and is our event strategist.  

Spencer Kaatz Teacher

A current student at the University of Minnesota, Spencer has volunteered with us since the early days and is quickly becoming a favorite - and definitely the tallest - teacher among us. 

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Jen Scott Teacher

Jen Scott is a performer, teacher, playwright and sometime musician. She's taught at the Brave New Workshop Student Union since 2001, and also teaches regularly at Children’s Theatre Company, Park Square Theatre and Pillsbury House Theatre. As a performer, she's worked with HUGE Theater, Walking Shadow Theater Company, Four Humors, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and others. Jen is also the mom of two; her eldest, Oscar, is three and transforms into a sometimes nice, sometimes mean robot regularly. It just sort of depends on the day. 

When did you start improvising?

My first class was at the Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis MN, February 1999. :)

What do you love most about improv?

Being surprised. The delight in the surprise! And how it can still make me laugh - - hard.

What do you love about teaching?

Seeing the joy and ownership of the art in other's. It's the best. (And also, being surprised..)

Seniz Yargici-Lennes Teacher

Seniz is a mom, improvisor and Playworker with over 15 years of experience teaching, designing youth programs and managing arts integration initiatives in MN and NYC.  Seniz is the founder of Twin Cities Adventure Play, a founding member of the North American Adventure Play Association, and works with the US Play Coalition to coordinate, you guessed it, play activities for the annual conference on the value of play. Seniz is the Director of Teen Programs and performs, regularly, with HUGE Improv Theater in Minneapolis, teaches preschool in the mornings for Bright Prospects Cooperative Preschool, and sings wild harmonies in the local indy-pop band School for Girls. She enjoys coffee, travel, being upside down, playing games and exploring everything always.