CAMP IMPROV UTOPIA Yosemite
September 27 - 30, 2024 (Fri-Mon)
Calvin Crest - Oakhurst, CA
Yosemite is a 3 night retreat for adults 18 and over and takes place at Camp Calvin Crest, near Yosemite National Park, this camp is tucked away near the Sierra Nevada’s and near the original national park where you’ll see America’s most beautiful landmarks like El Capitan, Half Dome and The Yosemite Valley. In addition to our East and West Camp, Yosemite brings you an all new curriculum. You will learn a form and be trained by one teacher the entire weekend! This three-night camping experience includes improv workshops from top instructors, camp activities like archery, a trip to half-dome and more! Your accommodations are great too with cabin camping with showers and bathrooms, all your meals and much more. Camp is a relaxed environment to learn while experiencing camaraderie, community and nature.
Registration NOW OPEN!
Prices Include: Camp is all inclusive, Yosemite trip, Co-ed cabin-camping (Single-sex cabins upon request), 8 meals, workshops and all camp activities are included in your tuition.
- $675 Registration - Regular Accomodations
- $690 Payment Plan Available - 2 Pay Plan
- Upgrades: PRIVATE HOTEL STYLE ROOM
- Add this feature and get your own hotel style room, linens and amenities, private bathroom/Shower.
- These room are an added charge
- SINGLE OCCUPANCY: $400 per person
- SHARED OCCUPANCY (2+): $200 per person
- Yosemite Trip & Saturday Workshop are additional charges.
There is a one time non-refundable Camp Network fee of $3.99 and processing fees equal to 3.95 % + $0.30 added to your tuition.
*COVID-19 Update: Improv Utopia will follow all CDC, State and City COVID19 Guidelines and will update campers of any changes or restrictions that will be enforced during the time of camp. Vaccines are required at camp.
CAMP TUITION INCLUDES
- Workshops: 11 hours of workshops from master improv teachers!
- Performances: Improv jams and shows with your cabin mates!
- Camp Activities: Yosemite trip, archery tag, hiking, giant swing and so much more!
- Lodging: Shared cabins with private bathrooms, showers and electricity. Campers are responsible for their own linens, pillow & towels unless you are offered an upgrade (upgrade requests are confirmed in late August and will be given on a first come, first served basis via registration).
- Food: All meals are included and prepared by professional kitchen staff. Special dietary and allergy-friendly meals are available, too!
- Community: Meet improvisors from all over the world... community and camaraderie in nature!
- IU Yosemite Add Ons:
- $50.00 Yosemite Trip
- $30.00 Saturday Workshop
- These fees help support the costs of travel and instructor compensation.
New this year!
with Patrick Rowland
3Peat form is Pretty Flower meets Armando meets Beer, Shark, Mice. We will utilize and break all the rules of improv at the same time. We take a suggestion and do a personal monologue, that is followed by fast-paced scenes that explore characters and themes, starting with a source scene and then branching out into ragout runs, slower grounded scenes, and then occasionally returning to the source scene. The 3Peat form is heavily dependent on trust and always being in the moment and never planning what's next. If you are not tired by the end of the show then you've probably done it wrong.
Patrick is a writer, comedian, and actor from Chicago, now residing in Los Angeles. He’s studied and taught at The Second City and iO Theater. His solo character work was featured in Alone, Chicago’s Best Solo Comedy at The TBS Just For Laughs Festival in 2013. Austin Comedy Short Film Festival nominated Patrick as Best Supporting Actor for his work in Mr. Mainframe. He is the creator of The Patrick Rowland Sketch Show, a web series he writes, produces, directs, and films himself on an iPhone. He is a founding member of 3Peat, a critically acclaimed, award-winning sketch/improv troupe, who has several sketches with Comedy Central's Digital platform, their most successful, The Blackening, garnered over 15 million views, with a feature film based on it being released June 2023. Patrick hosted a late-night talk show as former President Barack Obama called Barack All Night. Most recently, he participated in a virtual roundtable for Sony Pictures, which was led by Girls Trip producer and writer Tracy Oliver. Patrick currently writes for the Emmy and Critics Choice nominated late-night variety show "The Amber Ruffin Show". Learn more about Patrick at www.patrickrowland.net
with Shulie Cowen and Branson NeJame
Shulie Cowen, accompanied by Branson NeJame will be teaching the Musical Meanwhile, a long form created just for Camp Improv Utopia Yosemite! We’ll explore song structures, what to sing about, rhyming, rhythm, harmony singing, and staying connected with your musician and other singers. Whether you are an experienced music improvisor or a beginner, this form is for you!
SHULIE COWEN has taught improv to kids, senior citizens, and everyone in between. She currently teaches private custom classes in Los Angeles, and previously spent 12 years teaching at The Second City Hollywood and iO West. Shulie also travels the USA and the world teaching acting and improv at festivals and schools. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, a former member of The Second City National Touring Company, and a member of the original cast of Schoolhouse Rock Live!. Shulie studied improv in Chicago at The Second City Training Center, The Annoyance Theatre, and at iO with Del Close. She also directs and performs in Opening Night: The Improvised Musical!® and with the improv team EST. Movie and television credits include Mr. Mayor, 2 Broke Girls, Liza on Demand, and How I Met Your Mother.
Branson NeJame was discovered in an abandoned music library by stray musicologists. Legend states, he had a keytar in one hand and a sustain pedal in the other. They found that he could only speak in improvisation and tasty licks. The boy couldn't do anything but groove...
Branson and has done so with the likes of Wayne Brady (Whose Line Is It Anyway) and Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs/Jimmy Neutron). Branson has a wide musical range with experience in all genres (from TOP 40s to the American Songbook to Gregorian Chant) and venues from Hollywood to Vegas to New York where he was bestowed with Best Musical (twice) and Best World Opening and Best Score in the Fringe Festival. With all that, he truly believes Improv is a life skill. So let's get musical and make some things up.
with Craig Cackowski
Challenging but rewarding, complex yet freeing, JTS Brown is renowned as one of the most unique improv forms ever created. Originated in the late ‘90s in Chicago by a 14-person ensemble formed by Jason Sudeikis and Ike Barinholtz, JTS Brown demands complete concentration and absolute support from its players. Following dream logic and utilizing physical transformations, a large ensemble creates an interesting packaging for strong scene work. Come learn from original JTS Brown director Craig Cackowski and put your own spin on this classic form!
Craig Cackowski is an improvisor and teacher based in Los Angeles. He has been involved with the iO and iO West theaters since 1992, and is the three-time winner of the Del Close Award as Teacher of the Year at iO West. He has played numerous festivals, including the Chicago Improv Festival and the Del Close Marathon, with his long-running three-man troupe Dasariski (with Bob Dassie and Rich Talarico). Around LA, he may be seen in such other shows as Quartet, The Armando Show and The Better Half (with Raising Hope’s Lucas Neff).
with Carla Cackowski
Close Quarters" is a long form that was born in the nineties by an improv group out of Chicago. The original production ran for four months at The Second City ETC and was directed by Noah Gregoropoulos. The entire piece takes place in one main location (ex. Hospital), with each subsequent scene exploring adjacent areas in that space (i.e. emergency room, ladies restroom, nurses station, janitor's closet, morgue, etc.). Each scene in the adjacent space takes place at the same time, so there are opportunities to see the same sound effects, character walk-ons, and other elements play out with a new meaning or importance in each scene. Carla's duo "Orange Tuxedo" performs a modified version of this form in festivals across the country and she recently directed a Close Quarters format with the Festival Ensemble in 2018's Westside Comedy Fest. She will be working with the group based on her own experiences doing the form, as well as adding in other unique elements that the ensemble creates together in rehearsal.
Carla Cackowski is an improviser, writer, podcaster, and nap-lover. She toured all over Europe, Alaska, and the Caribbean performing comedy with The Second City. She's a member of SAG-AFTRA and has done voiceover work on shows for ABC Family, TBS, and Disney. She wrote and performed five solo shows that were produced in Los Angeles and her comedic monologues were published in anthologies by APPLAUSE BOOKS. Carla hosts "Improv Yak", a shop-talk podcast about improv comedy. When they're not touring their two person improv show "Orange Tuxedo", she and her husband Craig Cackowski co-host a podcast called "Craig's List". Most recently, Carla has written for sketch shows on PBS Kids and Dreamworks TV. She taught improvisation and directed sketch shows at The Second City Hollywood for eight years before relocating to the Pacific Northwest to accept the position of Co-Artistic Director at Curious Comedy Theater for a year. She’s currently the Training Center Director at Mi’s Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica, California.
with Brian James O’Connell
The Deconstruction was created by The Family and under the direction of Del Close himself. The Deconstruction is the single most important long form ever created as it contains every single possible permutation of scene approach and thematic development. An understanding of The Deconstruction is essential for the artistic, intellectual and technical development of an improviser. Quite simply, an improviser’s understanding of the “work” will never be the same after being exposed to “Decon”; whether you perform short form, improvised Shakespeare or are merely a writer looking to improve your understanding of character and structure, learning these skills will radically improve your understanding of improvisation and raise your level of play.
If the Harold is algebra, The Deconstruction is calculus. Once you learn calculus, everything else seems like simple math.
Brian James O’Connell is a working actor, writer, director in Los Angeles and a graduate of the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts (David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Jody Hill, Dane DeHaan and Jeff Nichols). A regular performer and teacher at the iOWest Theater in Los Angeles, Brian also currently teaches as part of the Core Faculty at The Miles Stroth Workshop.
His comedy troupe, Dr. God recently completed their first feature film project BLOODSUCKING BASTARDS (starring Fran Kranz, Pedro Pascal). which O’Connell directed (his third feature as a director) as well as co-writing the script. You can now find it on demand and online.
with Nick Armstrong & Jessica Young
Study and learn Nick’s and Jessica's philosophy on Genre Improv. Learn form, and how to play genre. You'll be learning how to play the form all leading up to a show at the end of the weekend. Nick's and Jessica's philosophy follows character play and thematic play in genre more than a story or narrative. You'll be able to learn how to develop and carry on a character through the entire show.
Nick is an Actor, Improvisor and Writer living in Los Angeles, CA. On TV Nick has been on the Emmy-Award winning shows The Office and Grey's Anatomy. He has also made appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, New Girl, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Key and Peele, Stan Against Evil and Parks and Recreation.
Nick has trained at The Groundlings and iO West. He is an alum of The Sunday Company at the Groundlings and M.I.'s Westside Comedy Theater in LA's where he performed on the critically acclaimed Harold Team King Ten. Nick is the former Artistic Director of Mi's Westside Comedy Theater and is the Co-owner and Managing Director of RISE Comedy in Denver, Colorado. He has also taught improv at iO West and The Groundings Theater and has done workshops all over the world.
Nick is also the Camp Director and Founder of Camp Improv Utopia a 501(c) (3) Non Profit improv retreat for grown ups. He is also one of the founding members of the The Improv Network.
Jessica is an improviser/actress/stand up comedian in Los Angeles who performs weekly at I.O. West since 2003. Her first group was the infamous Nite Terrors along side Nick Armstrong and John Abbott. Jessica has been an original cast member of the Kind Strangers for the last 5 years. They have traveled to Improv Festivals across the country bringing their unique style of genreprov, their signature form being improvised Tennessee Williams. Jessica’s latest endeavor is stand up comedy which you can see live, on YouTube, or if you’re lucky, on the back porch of Mozzi’s Saloon during Improv Utopia. She loves the outdoors and attended her first sleep away camp at age 8. Jessica can’t wait to bring the “Arts to the Crafts” at camp this summer.
Be Your Best Actor
with Ryder Tam & Gabe Valdez
Saturday Free-Time Elective
Ryder Tam is a Chinese-American improviser, actor, comedian and occasional aerospace engineer from Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a former improv instructor for Rise Comedy Denver, currently teaches for Ledge Theater in Los Angeles, and has taught workshops for Cornerstone Improv (San Diego), Bird City Improv (Baltimore), Neighborhood Comedy Theater (Phoenix), The Idiot Box (Greensboro, NC), and 3E's Comedy Club (Colorado Springs). Ryder trained at Upright Citizens Brigade, iO Chicago, Second City, Pack Theater, and Groundlings, where he is also a Saturday Night Live scholarship award winner. He performed as a headliner at the Detroit Improv Festival and Trill Comedy Festival (Houston), and has taught and performed for numerous other comedy festivals. International appearances include Ireland Improv Festival and Improfest Sweden.
Currently, Ryder performs with the Pack Theater house teams Wiggle Room (Sketch Comedy), Mind Reader (Improv), and with genre improv teams TVunscripted (Film Noir and D&D), Downtown Menagerie (Tennessee Williams), Kind Strangers (Tennessee Williams), A Very Special Episode (Sitcom), and Science Night Live (Producer; variety show). Fun fact: there is a polaroid picture of him in space! www.RyderTam.com
Gabriel Valdez is an LGBTQ+, Hispanic, actor, improviser, and writer. He is an Upright Citizens Brigade alumnus and has trained with The Groundlings ( Los Angeles) and Bird City Improv (Baltimore). He is currently an instructor at The Ledge Theater in Los Angeles. Gabe currently performs with the teams TVunscripted and Downtown Menagerie throughout the LA area. He is also a playwright with work featured at the Denver Fringe Festival and has over 50,000 views on his sketch comedy work. Gabe has performed and taught internationally at the Improv Fest Ireland, Auckland Improv Marathon (New Zealand), and regionally at Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Westside Comedy (Santa Monica), among others within the Performing Arts
In addition, Gabe is a professionally trained environmental analyst and geologist, He would love to talk with you about rocks and protecting the environment.
Camp is one of the best improv experiences that I could have had. To be in a place where everyone loves improv as much as you do is such a rush. The teachers are supportive and are invested in your learning. The view is awe striking and I always wanted seconds at meal times. You truly do make amazing friends and memories there.
Christina L - Los Angeles, CA