laugh, play, and learn all weekend from some of the most talented people in our field

Introducing Premiere Workshop Instructor and Festivus Headliner Instructor

Elise Rodriguez

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Elise Rodriguez is a Cuban-American performer, teaching artist, and trainer. After transitioning out of the practice of law, she decided to pursue the creative arts full-time and never looked back. Originally from Miami, FL, USA, Elise speaks fluent Spanish and teaches and performs improv nationally and internationally. She is currently in Portland, OR, USA working at Curious Comedy Theater as CFO; Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion; business manager; and teaching artist. Elise also co-hosts The Elise & John Show, a podcast showcasing creative BIPOC voices and bringing BIPOC culture and awareness to the forefront (with an improv twist!).

Introducing Premiere Workshop Instructor and Festivus Headliner

John Gebretatose


John has been performing stand-up, improv, and sketch comedy in Minnesota's Twin Cities for over 10 years. He is an instructor and Director of Diversity & Inclusion at HUGE Improv Theater in Minneapolis, MN and has taught improv workshops in theaters, hospitals, corporate workspaces, K-12 schools and colleges. He has also led and facilitated diversity and inclusion programming for improv theaters all over the world through his mission to uplift all voices. John trained and worked at the Brave New Workshop and is a founding member of Blackout Improv, Late Nights Minneapolis (a sketch comedy show), and co-founder of the Black and Funny Improv Festival. He has traveled the world performing, teaching and directing improv.



Sat Dec 11, 11-1PM

Premiere Workshop
Improv Identities- All Together Now!
with Elise Rodriguez

Yep. Another improv workshop. So. many. workshops. As improvisors we are eternal students- always ready to grow and expand our wheelhouse with classes, podcasts, books, and shows. And although all of this information essentially boils down to “Yes &,” there are so many approaches and schools of thought to take in that we can find ourselves dramatically exclaiming “I’M AN IMPOSTERRRR” on a street corner after a show. This workshop will feature a series of exercises focused on finding, and staying grounded in, your personal improv identity and style of play. We will work on staying confident and true to that personal style while playing and learning from any scene partner and the styles that they bring to the stage. 

Sat Dec 11, 2:30-4:30PM

Premiere Workshop
Hard Topics
with John Gebretatose

In this workshop, we will highlight what happens to us as performers when a scene becomes scary, offensive or insensitive and we freeze or lose ourselves. We explore some approaches to get agency back when we find ourselves somewhere uncomfortable, tools for improvising mindfully and finding a proactive voice for you and your show.

TRIGGER AND CONTENT WARNING: this class is based on scenes when you find yourself dealing with topics of race or socially and politically charged situations - which means it will include discussions and scenes dealing with race, gender and other very personally sensitive areas and how to move forward thoughtfully, respectfully and meaningfully when you find yourself there.

Sat Dec 11, 2:30-4:30PM

 Pay-What-You-Can Workshop
I Want You to Want Me ... Or Not.
with Chris Barry

Every character wants something from every other character they interact with. And yes, we incorporate the Cheap Trick song into the workshop. By the end, workshop participants should be more confident in their characters' purpose and be able to interact with any number of people in a scene without sacrificing their character's point of view.