New Year. New Scene.
- February 21, 2019
- Posted by: - LMA
- Category: Improv.Blog ,
Twenty-nineteen is off to an amazing start with more students, more teachers, more teams, more coaches, more shows – and more awesomeness in general than ever before.
As our comedy community continues to evolve and expand, there are also more exciting opportunities for everyone involved with LMA – both students and the amazing teachers and support team who make it all possible.
One of the most exciting staff changes, that we’re super excited to announce is that Happy Feraren has stepped into the Artistic Director role for the school (seen above). This is a national role and will see her spending time in both Sydney and Melbourne working with teachers, teams, and students actively across both cities.
“I’m thrilled to be able to contribute to the community in a new, even more, meaningful way and keen to explore the various platforms we can give people to grow as good humans and improvisers. I’m looking forward to spending time in Melbourne and getting more involved in the scene there to see how the two branches of the school can further collaborate to create a richer experience for our all our students and staff.”
– Happy Feraren
Happy brings over a decade of experience helping build the improv community in the Philippines as a teacher at Third World Improv, a performer as part of SPIT, and her work with the Manilla Improv Festival has helped transform it into one of the most successful festivals in the world.
She has trained at The Second City and with a slew of great teachers including Jason Chin, Shaun Landry, TJ Medel, Jonathan Pitts, Rachel Mason, Andrew Eniger, Kevin Mullaney, and Patrick Noth (UCB). Happy is already making the school better in ways that will soon be apparent to all, and she couldn’t be more perfectly named.
“Happy has been a joy to work with since the first day she started teaching at LMA. We are very aligned in our vision for the school and are both passionate about the potential inside it. So much so that I’m thinking of changing my name to “Silly.” I’m that excited about what we will achieve together. ”
– Eran Thomson, Founder of LMA
Having a single AD at LMA will nurture ongoing alignment and ensure that as an institution we are offering consistent quality and curriculum across Sydney, Melbourne, and any other cities we expand into down the track. The vision for Melbourne (and any other cities) will be to eventually hire local LMA House Directors who will collaborate with Happy to deliver the overall vision for the school.
This change coincides with the departure of Dan Thomas as Artistic Director and Head of School in Melbourne. Dan recently made the difficult decision to focus on what he loves best as the demands from his “real” job consume more of his time. Dan’s enthusiasm, leadership and collaboration have been instrumental to the growth of the LMA Melbourne community, and we are thrilled that he will continue to stick around to teach.
“My love for improv is stronger than ever, so this choice was simply made in order to refocus, and to allow me to throw all of my energy into teaching, training, and performing, which are the areas that I’m most passionate about. Being a part of LMA has been a truly wonderful experience, and I look forward to continuing my involvement in this refocused position.”
– Dan Thomas
As mentioned above, Happy will take over Artistic Director duties for Dan, and we are thrilled to share the news that the lovely Kate O’Keefe will be joining the staff as School Coordinator in Melbourne.
“I am so excited to be working at LMA Melbourne! I have been involved with LMA since I first took classes at their Sydney location in 2015. I moved back to Victoria to be closer to family in 2017 and was thrilled to hear there was a branch of LMA here too. As well as completing courses with LMA, I have worked as a Teacher’s Assistant for Level 4 and I’m now a proud member of LMA House Team ‘Miracle Fruit’. I love the freedom of expression improv provides and the comradery that results from making things up on stage with others. I look forward to collaborating with everyone on the ground here to keep LMA going, growing, and great!”
– Kate O’Keefe
Similar to Dan in Melbourne, Carolyn Mullen in Sydney has stepped down as School Coordinator to focus on family, acting, and helping build LMA’s evolving children’s program. Happy will take on her responsibilities in a dual role as AD / Head of School.
Carolyn has been an awesome part of LMA’s history. First as a student, then as part of our Teacher Training Track, growing into a wonderful, and much-loved Teacher and performer, before eventually joining the staff as School Coordinator for the past two years.
She has been invaluable to the success and growth of LMA in both Sydney and Melbourne and we are thrilled that she will continue to teach, as well as help LMA share the benefits of improv with young people as we expand our children’s programs.
“I absolutely loved my time as School Coordinator with Laugh Masters Academy. The role was busy, varied and as an improviser, a great opportunity to think on my feet. There were two standout parts about it. Firstly, working with Eran Thomson, who is true to his word(s) of Yes and… We had many meetings and discussions about LMA, the students, teachers, future plans and he was always so open to listen, understand and explore new opportunities and ideas.”
“The other standout was getting to know so many amazing and funny people in our community. It’s always a joy to teach new students and watch them grow throughout their journeys. I am excited to still be part of this community and getting to know many more of you at the upcoming shows.”
– Carolyn Mullen
And last, but not least, we are honoured to have the infamous Linda Calgaro joining the teaching faculty as our Level 5 “Advanced Long Form” teacher. As previously announced, this new class will kick off in Term 2, 2019 and is open to all past and current students who have completed Level 4 at LMA. Linda recently returned from her role as Co-Artistic Director at Off The Cuff (New Zealand) and we’re so excited to see her influence and impact on the school and wider community.
So yeah, big changes and even bigger opportunities ahead. Thank you to all our amazing students, staff and the wider community for your ongoing support. The best is yet to come.