TOM BOOKER started studying improvisation in 1986 at The Second City Training Center in Chicago before studying with legendary improv guru Del Close at ImprovOlympic (iO) where he performed with the infamous house troupe, Blue Velveeta. He is also a founding member of Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre where, among other things, he performed in their Off-Broadway production of The Real Live Brady Bunch at the world famous Village Gate Theater and at the Westwood Playhouse in Los Angeles.
After moving to Los Angeles in 1991, Tom formed Theatre-A-Go-Go! with Laura Hall, the musical director from Whose Line Is It Anyway? He eventually started teaching improv and sketch writing at The Second City Training Center in Los Angeles. Tom also co-wrote and co-directed (with producing partner Jon Kean) the feature film Kill The Man starring Luke Wilson, which premiered at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. Tom has appeared in several television shows, a few movies and nearly a hundred commercials.
In 2007, Tom Booker came to Austin to start an improv theater and school and Austin’s Institution Theater was born! He’s a really nice guy. You should meet him.
ASAF RONEN is the author of Directing Improv: Show the Way By Getting Out of the Way and the creator and Editor-in-Chief of YESand.com, a website devoted to improvisation. He has been involved in improv since 1990, working with Theatresports, ComedySportz and within countless original longform improv troupes and formats.
Asaf has taught improvisation in Canada, UK, Norway and over twenty-eight of The United States. His directing credits include the B. Iden Payne award-winning The Suitcase, the Miyazaki-inspired Spirited, the improvised comic book adventure show Ka-Baam!!, and in the NY Fringe Festival with Death in the City, a dramatic longform improv piece. He was also a producer on Trust Us, This Is All Made Up, a documentary on legendary Chicago improvisers TJ & Dave that premiered at SxSW.
In 2000, Asaf worked with Cirque de Soleil as a scout for improvisational talent. Asaf currently performs improv with several troupes including the B. Iden Payne Award-winning Confidence Men: Improvised Mamet and the mostly silent improv duo IMP., both of which have represented at festivals nationally.
JESSICA SALINAS is the CFO for The Institution Theater. She’s been enjoying improv since 2009, performing in shows such as Reset Project and Ladies Room, and attending as many improv theater events as she can. Her former career was as a Montessori preschool teacher and director of The Montessori Center, which she closed in 2015. She’s the author of a children’s book, a modern version of the Christmas carol Good King Wencelas, published by Forward Movement in 2013. She also conducts workshops for teachers and parents, and blogs about parenting and teaching at That Happy Hum on WordPress.