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. Improv Utopia is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization and a majority of our profits go back into the improv world for Improv Scholarships, theater and festival support.

Mission Statement:
Improv Utopia unites the improv community together. Through our educational camps, workshops and social media, we provide help to improv students, theater venues, festivals, improv and art related causes to succeed and grow through our educational and financial resources. Our promise is to give back to the arts community and forward the advancement of improv as an artform.

Feel free to contact us via e-mail at info@improvutopia.com if you have any questions.

Nick Armstrong / Founder and Camp Director 

Nick is an Actor, Improvisor and Writer living in Los Angeles, CA. Onstage Nick has trained at The Groundlings and iO West. You can catch him performing regularly on The Sunday Company at The Groundlings and at the world-famous iO West in Hollywood, CA on the famed genre-based group Kind Strangers and LA’s Critically-Acclaimed Harold Team King Ten. 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, Raising Hope, New Girl and Parks and Recreation. Nick has been improvising and teaching for over 10 years and has taught and performed at many festivals: Phoenix Improv Festival, San Francisco Improv Festival, Seattle Improv Festival, Red Rocks Improv Festival in Utah, Out of Bounds in Austin, TX, The Chicago Improv Festival and the Los Angeles Improv Festival. He is also Co-Founder of the National Improv Network.


John Abbott / Assistant Camp Director West and Education Manager

John performs each week with the Los Angeles long-form improv troupe Trophy Wife. Other improv credits include COG, Nite Terrors, and coaching Mud Hen and MPG. On the scripted side, he is in the cast of Top Story Weekly! the iO West’s news-driven sketch show. John has taken improv classes at the iO West, B.A.T.S., and with Shelley Berman.

As assistant camp director, John draws on both his improv background and 10+ years working in university student services–financial aid, registrar’s office, admissions, student organizations


Chris Moody / Assistant Camp Director – Camp Improv Utopia East

Chris performs regularly at Go! Comedy Improv Theater in Ferndale, Michigan with his groups Action Jackson, My Best Friend and The Chris’s. He is the producer of the Detroit Improv Festival and spends his weekdays as the Show Operations Manager with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.



Rebecca Ryan – Registration Coordinator

Rebecca is a teacher at both the high school and college level. She has trained as a student with Made Up Theatre in Fremont, CA and a summer intensive at Second City in Chicago. Rebecca is looking forward to assisting with campers as she was the last one from the waitlist the week before camp in 2014 and had the best time!



Jessica Young / Activities Director and Board Member

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.


Craig Cackowski / Advisor and Instructor

Craig Cackowski has been performing, teaching, directing and coaching improvisation for the iO and iO West theaters since 1992. While in Chicago, he was part of such groundbreaking productions as Frank Booth In The Blue Velvet Lounge, Close Quarters and JTS Brown. He also worked as a performer and director for The Second City, acting in and co-writing five revues on the Mainstage and ETC, including the Jeff Award-nominated The Revelation Will Not Be Televised. Since moving to Los Angeles, he has performed extensively at the iO West, UCB and Second City theaters, and is the three-time Del Close Award winner for iO West Teacher of the Year. Along with Bob Dassie and Rich Talarico, he has performed all over the country with Dasariski (check out their website at dasariski.com) and their short film Jakarta Boom Boom played at HBO’s Aspen and Las Vegas Comedy Festivals.

Other festival appearances include the Chicago Improv Festival, Del Close Marathon, SF Sketchfest, Out Of Bounds Austin, Just For Laughs Montreal, Phoenix Improv Festival, Denver Improv Festival, Telluride Comedy Festival, and Dallas Comedy Festival. As an actor, he may be seen in his recurring role as “Officer Cackowski” on the acclaimed NBC sitcom Community, as well as TV appearances on How I Met Your Mother, Workaholics, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, and in the film Year Of The Dog, directed by Mike White. He is also a original member of the Workjuice Players, the cast of the popular live radio show (and podcast!) The Thrilling Adventure Show. Subscribe at iTunes or on Nerdist.com.


Brian O’ Connell / Outreach Manager and Board Member

Brian James O’Connell is an actor, writer, director, filmmaker and improviser in Los Angeles. Brian is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts and moved to Los Angeles in 2000 to follow his dreams of a career in filmmaking.

 Brian has been with the iOWest Theater since March of 2003. With his internationally touring improv duo Billyhawk and iOWest’s legendary improv group Dr. God, Brian has performed in festivals in Denver, Phoenix, Toronto, Philadelphia, Austin, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chapel Hill, NC. Brian can be seen performing at iOWest currently with Dr. God, EXTRA STRENGTH, garguilO’connell, and Tigerpants. 

His first feature film as writer/director, KILLER VIEW, will be released theatrically in the Fall of 2010 by Fabrication Films/Grindstone Entertainment.


Patricia Forman / Attorney and Board Member

Patricia I. Forman, Esq. practices law in the areas of construction, entertainment, litigation, and equine law in the Los Angeles area. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy from the University of California, Davis. During her time as a student there, she served as Historian for the Prytanean Women’s Honor Society, an academic, serviced based sorority founded on the UC Berkeley campus in 1900, and on the UC Davis campus in 1952. After attending US Davis, Patricia attended Loyola Law School, in Los Angeles, where she obtained her Juris Doctorate. While at LLS, Patricia helped to reinstitute the LLS chapter of Phi Delta Phi, a professional legal fraternity dedicated to the ideals of community service.

Patricia has always been involved with community service work and non-profit organizations. In 1992, she became a member of Job’s Daughters International, a community service and leadership organization for young women founded in 1920. Patricia served JDI as an officer at both the local and state levels, and later served as an adult leader. In 2012, she became a member of the Burbank Noon Chapter of Rotary International.

Patricia has been involved with Improv Utopia since its inception, and is excited to serve the organization in any way possible.




Started as an idea around 2006 when Nick Armstrong, John Abbott and Jessica Young were on a JTS Brown team called NiteTerrors coached by Craig Cackowski. Improv Utopia didn’t come to fruition until 2011, when Nick approached John, Jessica, Brian O’Connell and Patricia Forman to start what would be a Boy/Girl Scout Camp meets Improv. In 2011, Camp Improv Utopia launched to a sold out group featuring theaters from all over the country. Camp West is held at Camp Ocean Pines in Cambria, CA and still is to this day.

In 2014, Camp Improv Utopia East was launched, therefore changing the camp in Cambria to Camp Improv Utopia West starting in 2015. Camp East was held at Camp Netimus in Milford, Pennsylvania in the Poconos in 2014 and 2015 and added a new Assistant Camp Director and board member Chris Moody. Camp East’s first year was also sold out and featured campers from the all over the world. In 2016, Camp CIU East will move to the beautiful Camp Trout Lake in Stroudsburg, PA in the Pocono Mountains.

In 2016, Camp Improv Utopia Yosemite will launch it’s first camp. CIU Yosemite is a whole new curriculum where you get one instructor the entire weekend and study a form they are a master of.

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 info@improvutopia.com if you have any questions.