LOS ANGELES: Impro Theatre has announced that Lisa Fredrickson, Jen Reiter, and Tatiana Godfrey were elected by an internal election held by the company’s performance ensemble to share the position of artistic director. This appointment follows longtime producing artistic director Dan O’Connor stepping down from his position last April to encourage a new artistic direction for the company focusing more on inclusivity.
The new artistic directors, who playfully refer to themselves as “Janice,” have already started taking administrative meetings ahead of their Jan. 1, 2022, start date. The leaders will then set up an infrastructure for a rotating leadership team to take over the positions for six months at a time. In her leadership pitch to the ensemble, Frederickson, a longtime ensemble member and veteran improvisor, said she wants “to help us find our common mission,” according to a press release statement. “I want to help us facilitate our discovery of a mission for Impro Theatre that the ensemble is excited about so that we can go warp speed into the future!”
Fredrickson has been an ensemble member of many improv companies, including Seattle’s Unexpected Productions and SAK Comedy Lab in Orlando, in addition to being an ensemble member at Impro Theatre since 1999. Fredrickson is also a commercial actress and resident improv teacher at California Lutheran University as well as an adjunct at The Harvard Westlake School.
From Berkeley, Calif., actor and theatremaker Jen Reiter is a graduate of the University of Southern California School of Theatre, where she earned her BFA in acting. She has performed internationally at the Pierre Cardin Theatre in Paris as well as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and is a longtime contributor to the Los Angeles theatre scene. Select theatre credits include Marat/Sade at Sacred Fools, Mac Wellman’s Crowtet, and Starmites. Additional credits include The Office, Married, Mulaney, The Exes, and a yogurt commercial she booked by licking John Stamos’ face. Her voice can also be heard as the voice of Mother on Nick Jr.’s Olivia. Reiter’s improvised film The Living Worst received Best Ensemble at the Downtown LA Film Festival and she can soon be seen in the upcoming feature film Doula.
“I find safety in these structures,” said Reiter, in a statement, of the vision she shares with her co-artistic directors. “When we are all clear about how things get done in this company, we can all plug ourselves in to the places that we best fit. When we understand how we fit, we can start to feel belonging. And when we all know we belong, then the bigger the leap we can take together.”
Dramaturg, educator, and performer Tatiana Godfrey is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in drama. Godfrey has had a varied career in theatre before discovering her passion for arts education. She served as the assistant director of the Off-Broadway premiere of Sonia Manzano’s No Dogs Allowed, she is a founding member of New York’s Pipeline Theatre Company and Atlanta’s Fabrefaction Theatre company, and she was featured in HBO’s David Mamet film Phil Spector. Godfrey recently graduated with an MFA in dramaturgy from the University of Massachusetts and is the company dramaturg for WAM Theatre in the Berkshires. She also teaches and performs with Improv Cincinnati.
“I understand that, in theatre, the final product is just as important as how it was made,” said Godfrey in a statement. “I’m excited to focus on building a culture that prioritizes humans and relationships over products.”
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