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 Maribeth Monroe (Second City/The Brink/Workaholics)
James Grace / INSTRUCTOR 2016
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.
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 Workaholics, Review 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.
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.
Maribeth Monroe/INSTRUCTOR 2016
Monroe performed at The Second City, both on the Chicago and Detroit stages. In Chicago, she appeared in the 2004 revue Red Scare, directed by Mick Napier, where the character “Sassy Gay Friend” originated, and she would later appear as Desdemona in one of the character’s online incarnations.
She has appeared in episodes of The Neighbors, Parks and Recreation, According to Jim, Hannah Montana, Maron, Modern Family (“Bad Hair Day“), Key & Peele and the web series Cowgirl Up. In 2010, she appeared in The Back-up Plan. In fall 2012, she appeared in Applebees commercials with ESPN host Chris Berman. In 2014, Monroe began appearing in commercials for La Quinta Inns & Suites and E-Trade, with Kevin Spacey.
Monroe also appeared in the HBO series The Brink.