Camp Improv Utopia West promises to bring you some of the best instructors in the country. And this year is no different. Our 6th Camp will have some of the best… James Grace (Artistic Director iO West), Celeste Pechous (iO/Second City Tour Co/Annoyance), Eric Hunicutt (iO/Second City/Comedsports), Bill Binder (NIN/Phoenix Improv Festival/Torch Theater) and more to come!

James Grace / INSTRUCTOR 2016

James Grace has over 30 years of professional experience in entertainment and education as an actor, writer, producer, and director for stage, television, film, and internet.

James has been the Artistic and Managing Director of the iOWest Theater in Hollywood, CA since 1998, producing and developing talent for their three stages and various touring ensembles. He has taught improvisation for over twenty five years and helped to develop the renowned iOWest Training Center curriculum.

An expert practitioner of improvisational technique, James teaches improvisation seminars and workshops throughout the country and internationally.  James has facilitated workshops in creativity and innovation, business etiquette, conflict resolution and effective management practice at various colleges and universities, including UCLA and California State University Summer Arts Program at Fresno State University.

James’s extensive experience and training in improvisational technique and theory give him an exciting insight into the creative process. His experience managing a highly successful performance company and training center with hundreds of performers and employees has given him perspectives on prioritization, delegation, and motivation which help him to facilitate positive change in his clients’ growth and development.

Acting credits include films such as Super Troopers and Beerfest and television shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and Reno 911. Producing and directing credits include MTV’s The Real World: HollywoodMr. Wrong, and Caffe, Etc.

Celeste Pechous/ INSTRUCTOR 2016

Celeste Pechous has been kicking the improv tires for the last two decades.  As an alumnae of the National Touring Company with Second City, Pechous performed comedy all over the world.  She has trained and performed at the Second City, iO Chicago/LA, and The Annoyance Theatres.  Pechous was honored Best Actress for her work in The Clan at the Midwest Film Festival and recently honored Best Actress from the Downtown LA Film Festival and The SNAFF Film Festival for her work in the dark-comedy short, Past Due, based on her short story.  TV credits include WorkaholicsReview and Hot in Cleveland. Pechous made her film debut in Marc Forster’s Stranger Than Fiction and can be most recently seen in the critically-acclaimed feature film Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf. When she’s not selling you milk, insurance, BMWs or computers, you can see her improvise regularly at iO West and Second City LA along with teaching and directing ensembles around Los Angeles.

Eric Hunicutt/ INSTRUCTOR 2016

ERIC HUNICUTT is an actor (SAG-AFTRA), director, writer, teacher, and acting coach based in Los Angeles.  Eric has been acting professionally since he was 15 years old, performing everything from Shakespeare in a cemetery to sketch comedy in dive bars, appearing in feature films, television, web series, music videos, and live theatre, including hundreds of improv comedy shows from Chicago to LA and beyond.

An alumnus of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,  Eric earned a BA with Honors (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and continued his training with the Improv Olympic (iO) Theater in Chicago, The Second City Chicago, Comedy Sportz, Steppenwolf Classes West, and many private acting teachers and coaches.

Currently, Eric performs weekly with the acclaimed improv ensemble The Reckoning at the iO West Theater in Hollywood and is a member of the Echo Theatre Co.

Eric’s work as a director includes numerous world-premiere performances, contemporary plays, solo shows, improv and sketch comedy, short films, commercials, and web series. He has directed stage productions at the NYC Fringe Festival, IAMA Theatre Company, Triptych Theatre Company, Skylight Theatre, Casa 0101

Bill Binder/ INSTRUCTOR 2016

Bill began performing in Michigan in 1994 where he performed for six years before moving to Phoenix, AZ. Bill helped organize the first Phoenix Improv Festival in 2002, spent two years training at iO West in Los Angeles and was one of the founding members of The Torch Theatre. Currently Bill is an instructor at The Torch Theatre and producer for the Phoenix Improv Festival. He tours teaching and performing across North America. Bill is also a founder and website administrator for the National Improv Network. He’s always looking for feedback on how to make the website and the community stronger.

Drew Droege/INSTRUCTOR 2015

Drew is an alum of The Groundlings (where he currently teaches improv), Upright Citizens Brigade, and The Attic Theatre, where he’s been in productions of “Red Scare On Sunset”, “Say You Love Satan”, and “Marked For Love”.  He was most recently seen playing Nellie Oleson in “Little House On The PrairieOke” at the Casita del Campo in Los Angeles. Drew Droege is best known for his online videos as Chloe Sevigny, which have been called “compulsively watchable” by The Advocate and recently named one of the 50 best web series of all time by TimeOut New York.  He’s also the recipient of Outfest film festival’s Special Programming Award For Emerging Talent, one of OUT magazine’s Out 100, and one of LA Weekly’s Top Comedy Acts to Watch.  His podcast, “Glitter In The Garbage”, was deemed “lowbrow and brilliant” by New York magazine’s Approval Matrix. He’s the voice of the Crystal Skull in Amazon’s new pilot, “Supanatural”, and has guest starred on “Happy Endings”, “Burning Love”, “Chelsea Lately”, “NTSF: SD: SUV”, “House Of Lies”, “Up All Night”, “Baby Daddy”, “Key & Peele”, “Hot In Cleveland”, “New Girl”, “How I Met Your Mother”, “Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time”, “Jon Benjamin Has A Van”, “Glory Daze”, “The Sarah Silverman Program”, “Halfway Home”, “Campus Ladies”, “Reno 911!”, and Logo’s New Now Next Awards.  He’s been in the films “Such Good People”, “Ass Backwards”, “Big Gay Love”, “Sassy Pants”, “Eating Out: Drama Camp”, “Freak Dance”, and “Holly’s Holiday”.

About Us

Our professional staff and board members are made up of some of the best improv talent in world. We are available to you as a resource and also to help plan your trip to our annual camp. Feel free to contact us via e-mail at if you have any questions.