AMY KNOP (she/her) has been a prolific performer and producer of improv at ColdTowne since 2016, including as B. Iden Payne-nominated director of “My Own Worst Enemy”, “It’s Britney, Bitch”, and producer of sold-out runs of “Angola,” “Old Love,” “The Rose,” and more. She is a graduate of ColdTowne Conservatory and Advanced Studies programs and performs regularly with Prayer Circle Comedy (Denver Improv Fest, Dallas Comedy Festival, Big Little Comedy Fest). Amy has been in weekly cast for Sweet Lightning, Pioneers, and several ColdTowne mainstages, and a festival director of Austin Sketch Fest since 2019 (but most significantly, captain of the still-reigning champs of Improv Fantasy League, H-E-Bees 2018). She loves the ColdTowne community and wants to welcome you into it!
DANI GONZALEZ is a comedian based in Austin, Texas. She is a 2017 graduate of ColdTowne’s program and has been performing ever since. She is a current member of Midnight Society, one of Austin’s longest-running troupes, and has been a member of troupes such as Say Uncle, Stool Pigeon, and Prima Donas (Latinuats) to name a few. She has performed in multiple festivals with her sketch and improv groups.
XARIA COLEMAN is a comedian, writer and Alumni of ColdTowne Theater and Upright Citizens Brigade NY. At ColdTowne she has performed in various mainstage shows and regularly as a member of Bear Derby (Student Troupe), Damn, Gina! (B. Iden Payne Outstanding Improv Troupe 2016) and Kingz (A bunch of hotties in drag).
BEN G BAZÁN is a 6th generation Tejano who was raised in La Casita-Garciasville, Texas. He’s currently an Austin-based bilingual educator, director, coach, and performer who received his B.A. in Theatre and Dance from the University of Texas in 2012 and graduated from the ColdTowne Conservatory in 2013. He’s a proud member of Prima Doñas, a multiple B. Iden Payne and Austin Critics Table award-winning bilingual improv troupe. During the daytime, you can find him at Acton Academy Austin Main Campus where he enjoys being the Middle School Guide and Athletics Director.
KEYLAN HAYNES is an Austin based actor and a graduate of ColdTowne Theater. He has taught in ColdTowne’s wonderful youth program, Excused Absence, and is a part of the B. Iden Payne award-winning improv troupe Sugar Water Purple.
TAURI LAWS-PHILLIPS is a co-creator and facilitator of ColdTowne’s unconscious bias and inclusivity training, which utilizes improvisation and emotional intelligence strategies to create supportive environments where people feel free to be their full and whole selves at work and everywhere. Tauri also teaches Improv at ColdTowne and is a member of B. Iden Payne award winning Improv Troupe, Damn Gina. She has been in ColdTowne Main Stage shows: Express Yourself, Title Fine, and Damn Gina: Night Watch.
DREW WESELY graduated from ColdTowne Conservatory in 2008, started as a Teacher’s Assistant in 2011, and became an improv teacher in 2015. He graduated from ColdTowne Conservatory’s Advanced Graduate Improv Studies program in 2016. He hosted the ColdTowne Theater monthly improv jam, and currently hosts his independently operated weekly drop-in improv class/jam. Instructors from UCB, iO, The Annoyance and The New Movement have either coached or taught him in classes or workshops.
HEIDI ROGERS is based in Austin, TX, and has been performing improv for over 10 years. In addition to performing in over 25 mainstage shows in Austin, Heidi has performed at improv festivals around the country including UCB’s Del Close Marathon (New York City), Improvaganza (Honolulu, HI), New South Comedy Festival (Greenville, SC), Improv Fest Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, OK), Big Little Comedy Fest (San Antonio, TX) and Out of Bounds (Austin, TX). Heidi’s favorite part of improv is creating rich, unique characters with a myriad of voices and accents. She is passionate about teaching improv and sharing her performance experience with the ColdTowne student community. When not improvising Heidi enjoys game nights with friends, watching movies at Alamo Drafthouse, spending time outside and ample snuggles with her dog Leo.
ANTHONY ELLISON spent 9 years in Chicago writing, performing, teaching, etc. After dozens of sketch shows at Second City, Annoyance, CiC, he began to seek guidance in longer comedy within structure. He received an MFA in “The Art of Dramatic Structure”, and won the Scott McPherson Playwriting Award, while also directing for the OU Comedy Org – Black Sheep/Six to Midnight. His plays have been produced in Chicago, NYC, Austin, Liverpool, Athens OH, Muncie IN, and a lot more.
JAVIER UNGO is a writer/performer based in Austin, TX who graduated from the ColdTowne Conservatory in 2013. As a house performer at ColdTowne Theater, he performs improv regularly with Kinkade, Three on a Match, Sauce and B. Iden Payne award winning all-Latinx team Prima Doñas. He is a writer/performer with Austin’s first queer sketch group Martini Ranch and co-hosts and produces the queer comedy variety show QueerTowne. He has performed in comedy festivals all over the country including: the Del Close Marathon, San Francisco Sketchfest, Austin Sketch Fest, Dallas Comedy Festival, Denver Improv Festival, Moontower Comedy Festival and Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. In high school he was in a Beastie Boys cover band and makes sure to include that in every bio he writes.
KRISTIN HENN is a proud graduate of the ColdTowne Conservatory. Committed to continued training, she has taken additional classes and attended intensives regularly since 2009, including with The Annoyance Theater, IO Chicago, Improv Utopia, and visiting performers and practitioners from around the country. She holds a BFA in Directing and an MA in Theatre History and Criticism, both from Texas State University.
KYLE ROMERO is an actor and writer based out of Austin, TX. He is a graduate of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles and an improv and sketch faculty member at ColdTowne Theater and Fallout Theater. In Austin, he has appeared in the B. Iden Payne Award winning One Hour Til Air and the regional premiere of Bigfoot: The Musical, as well as directed the play Sex a.k.a. Wieners and Boobs. Kyle is a member of the sketch comedy collective Pendulum and is the Festival Co-Director for Austin Sketch Fest.
ASAF RONEN is the author of Directing Improv: Show the Way By Getting Out of the Way. He regularly performs, teaches and produces in Austin, was Education Director at The Institution Theater for eight years and is currently the Conservatory Director at ColdTowne Theater. He is also a Producer and Education Director of Austin’s annual Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. He has taught and performed improvisation in Canada, Great Britain, Norway and in twenty-eight of these United States with such groups as the B. Iden Payne Award winning Confidence Men (improvised plays in the style of David Mamet) and imp (mostly silent improv). He was also producer on TRUST US, THIS IS ALL MADE UP, a documentary on legendary improvisers TJ & Dave that premiered at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival in 2009 and helped develop the improvised film Days of Delusion with director Scott Myers. In 1999, Asaf founded the improv website, YESand.com of which he is Editor-in-Chief.
DAVE BUCKMAN has directed, taught and performed at some of the world’s leading improvisational comedy institutions. After several years studying and teaching improv in Chicago, Dave served as Artistic Director of Boom Chicago in Amsterdam for 2 years, where he was fortunate to work with and direct some of the funniest people working in television and web-based sketch comedy today. After Europe, Dave worked as a director and teacher at The Second City in Chicago. He has directed MainStage shows at ColdTowne: Bigfoot, the musical, Austin Translation, Barney Biller Dark Night, The Roast of St, Nick, Eye for an iPhone and Shanty Town Lake. The Second City: Who’s yer Baghdadi?” (Cleveland), World’s Gone Wild” (Touring Company) and Deficit Comedy Jam (Touring Company) Boom Chicago: Your Privacy is our Business, Europe, We’ve Created a Monster, The Future is Here and it is Slightly Annoying. In 2002, he directed “Boom Chicago: RockStars” only the second stage-swap with The Second City’s Main Stage in its 50 year history.
WILL CLEVELAND brings 20 years of theatre experience into his class. He has served as Artistic Director of ColdTowne since 2016 and trained in improv and sketch writing at New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. He wrote and produced works for UCBComedy.com as well as produced for Above Average, Funny or Die, Official Comedy and more. His show “One Hour Til Air” (dir. by Chris McKeever) received the B. Iden Payne award for best Improv Cast in 2019.
NATHAN SOWELL has been improvising for more than a decade and teaching almost as long. He has studied at iO Chicago, The Annoyance Theater, ColdTowne Conservatory, and The Hideout which has provided him a well rounded improv education. Nathan is a beloved improv Teacher in the Austin Improv Community and has multiple teaching and coaching awards to back that claim up. You may have seen him in award winning ensembles such as Dinner for Six, Angola, and My Own Worst Enemy. He regularly plays with ColdTowne House Troupes Friends for Now and Kinkade.