The Free Association | Improv Class | Improvisation Classes | Improv Comedy | London
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FA TEACHING STAFF

Meet your trainers...


Michael Orton-Toliver

teaches: Advanced harold / performance lab

Michael Orton-Toliver’s improvisational roots go back to 1997 in Los Angeles with Comedy Sportz. Mike is most proud of co-founding Ultimate Improv (The Space) and working in Amsterdam for the world famous Boom Chicago Theatre. He’s also performed for Second City, but now lives in London and can be seen playing with The Free Association, The Bishop, and GTI. Not to mention his two man, long form show with Jim Woods. When he’s not performing, Mike teaches improv and coaches several teams in London. He is also the Head Corporate writer at Boom Chicago.


Graham Dickson

teaches: advanced game / harold / advanced harold

Graham has been improvising for over 9 years. He began training at the renowned UCB Theatre in New York. He has also studied under David Shore in London. He is a founding member of the award-winning Austentatious, and co-founder of The Free Association. Graham also performs with Monkey Toast, Grand Theft Impro, and No Strings. He has taught improv at the International Acting Academy and The School of Comedy and is also an improv coach. When not improvising, Graham is an actor and writer.


Briony Redman

teaches: intro to improv / scenework and intro to game / harold

Briony is an actor and writer whose been performing improvised comedy since 1998. She was a previous member and director of the Edinburgh University’s Improverts and has trained with Keith Johnstone, The Spontaneity Shop, Monkey Toast Ltd and with members of UCB. She is a cast member of The Bishop, Monkey Toast UK and the Free Association and a guest cast member of Grand Theft Impro and Chortle Award winning Austentatious. Briony has taught improvisation for The Spontaneity Shop and Monkey Toast Ltd and has run workshops on Improv for Creativity and Business.


Naomi PetersEn

TEACHES:  INTRO TO IMPROV / SCENEWORK AND INTRO TO GAME / ADVANCED GAME / HAROLD / ADVANCED HAROLD

Naomi is an actor, improviser and singer. She has been improvising since 2013 and is a member of FA house team 'Sweet Fanny Adams'. She is also a member and co-founder of improv teams 'Sorry' and 'The Ladies of FA County'. Naomi has guested with Chortle-Award winning Austentatious and Grand Theft Impro in the UK and performed at UCB and The PIT in NYC. She trained in improvisation with the Free Association and Monkey Toast, as well as with internationally renowned improvisers such as Craig Cackowski and Brian Jack. As an actor she has performed in theatres in the West End and across the UK and can be seen on E4's 'Drifters' and heard on Radio 4 comedy 'Joseph Morpurgo's Walking Tour'.


Jonathan Broke

TEACHES: INTRO TO IMPROV / Scenework and Intro to Game

Jonathan began performing improvised comedy as a part of Underbelly Funk, the first Underbelly House improv team at the Edinburgh Festival in 2000. He trained as an actor in the USA and Russia and then moved back to London.  As an actor he’s played at The Globe, (We The People, director; Charlotte Westenra) and performed in numerous plays both in London and the USA.  (Martha Clarke’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, American Repertory Theatre, and The Fool, directed by play­write Edward Bond.) More recently he’s made improvised films, (United We Fall) and has written and performed for the sketch group Comedy Bitch.


Alex Holland

TEACHES: SCENEWORK AND INTRO TO GAME / advanced game

Alex Holland is a writer, comedian and improviser. He has a 2009 Royal Television Society Award for the comedy sketch film ‘Best Friends That Love Each Other’ which he co­-wrote and performed whilst at University, has trained with Monkey Toast improv company and the FA, and is a co-­founder of improv troupe The Petting Zoo.


Shamus Maxwell

TEACHES: advanced harold /HAROLD / ADVANCED GAME

Shamus is a member of The Wilsons, co­founder of creepy improv duo Demons To Some and teaches Level 2 at the FA. Before the FA was a twinkle in Graham Dickson's eye he tore up the London improv scene as a member of the legendary (to their members) So This Is Earth and Bleak Mouse. Shamus has been a character comedian/clown, and will be again, but loves improv best of all. He is also a writer and lo­fi film­maker and many of his films and collaborations can be found online at vimeo.com.


ALISON THEA-SKOT

TEACHES: INTRO TO IMPROV

Alison is a critically acclaimed actress, comedian and writer. Her recent solo character comedy ‘Some Like It Thea-Skot’ was a 5-star sell out hit at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and transferred to the Soho Theatre in London.  Alison teaches and performs at The Free Association, and also guest improvises with Chortle award winners Austentatious and can be heard in several Radio 4 comedy sketch shows, and seen on TV’s News Jack.
 


FREYA SLIPPER

TEACHES: INTRO TO IMPROV

Freya is a writer, improviser and comedian. Freya won the Funny Women Award 2010 with Liz Black with their double act Thankless Child. They went on to perform internationally and write for CBBC. Freya started improvising with the Edinburgh Improverts while at university and went on to direct them in her final year. Since being in London, she has trained under David Shore, Mark Beltzman and the Free Association in London. She currently performs with FA Harold team, ‘The Cartel’. 


SIMON LUCAKS

TEACHES: SCENEWORK AND INTRO TO GAME

Simon Lukacs has been improvising for 5 years and has studied with The Free Association, Monkey Toast and The Spontaneity Shop.  Simon performs in the FA house team The 838. Outside of the FA, he is part of the improv groups The Petting Zoo, Upstairs Downton and Equine Extravaganza.  He has also trained in clowning under Phil Burgers, aka Doctor Brown


RHYS COLLIER

TEACHES: HAROLD

Rhys first started improvising back in 2006. Since then he’s trained in long-form improv with the Free Association as well as Lyndsay Hailey (iO), Mark Beltzman (iO, Second City) and David Shore (Monkey Toast) among many other leading improvisers on both sides of the Atlantic. He performs with FA house team Sweet Fanny Adams is a founder member of long-form improv troupe Do Not Adjust Your Stage (DNAYS). He's had the pleasure of performing with DNAYS in residency at the Natural History Museum, as well as internationally in New York, Barcelona, Estonia, Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin. Rhys improvises solo as Powerhouse occasionally too.
 


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SHAUN LOWTHIAN

TEACHES: SCENEWORK AND INTRO TO GAME

Shaun has been improvising since 2007, and currently performs with award-winning act Do Not Adjust Your Stage, two-prov The Homunculus and FA House Team The Wilsons. Shaun has performed internationally at the UCB, Magnet and PIT in NYC, and across Europe in Amsterdam, Paris, Copenhagen and Barcelona in recent years. He has trained in long-form improv in the UK and US with The Free Association, UCB, iO, Second City and Monkey Toast, in addition to TJ & Dave, Susan Messing, Mark Beltzman, PGraph and more. Shaun can be heard in improvised character comedy podcast Fact Up, and seen in Off The Top (EpicLloyd/YouTubeSpaceLA) and Michael McIntyre’s Big Show (BBC One).


SOPHIA BROIDO

TEACHES: HAROLD / PERFORMANCE LAB

Sophia trained in theatre and comedy with Philippe Gaulier and has worked as an actor, both in the UK and internationally. She has collaborated with and been mentored by companies such as Punchdrunk and Complicite, and has worked in devising and performing for numerous projects that use improvisation in theatre, film, and live performance. She trained improvisation with The Free Association, before becoming a member of The Wilsons.

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LOLA-ROSE MAXWELL

TEACHES: SCENEWORK AND INTRO TO GAME

Lola-Rose has been improvising for five years and has trained with some of the top improvisers in the world including Jim Woods, Brian Jack, Cariad Lloyd and Craig Cackowski. A Free Association (and Monkey Toast) alumni, Lola-Rose performs with The Cartel, The Petting Zoo, SORRY and alongside Mike OT and Graham Dickson as part of the FA players. She's the primary coach of London long form group Lester City. When not improvising Lola-Rose writes for Channel 4's RudeTube, and her own amusement.


David Elms

Teaches: Intro to Long-Form

DAVID ELMS began improvising in 2009 as part of short-form troupe The Improverts whilst at Edinburgh University, and joined The FA in 2015 where he is a member of 'The Cartel'. His debut play Siren, which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe to critical acclaim, is being brought to London in 2018. He was the winner of the Musical Comedy Awards in 2014, and his first short film SWAG won ‘Best Foreign Short’ at The LA Indie Film Festival in 2015. His latest short Regular which he wrote, directed, and scored, aired as part of Channel 4’s Random Acts in 2017. He has written and performed three solo shows - Nurture Boy (2014), Mister Boy (2015) and Goody Boy (2016) – and had key roles in cult hits Mr Swallow - The Musical, Adam Riches is Coach Coach, Mr Swallow – Houdini, and Ricky Whittington and His Cat. He played series regular Clive in both series of the semi-improvised sitcom Borderline on Netflix and Ch5. 

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Liz Kingsman

Teaches: The Sketch Class

Liz is an actor and comedian. She played series regular Ruby on Channel 4 topical comedy Ballot Monkeys and the follow up series Power Monkeys, and Andy in semi-improvised sitcom Borderline. She is one third of comedy group Massive Dad, who wrote and performed on ITV2 sketch show @Elevenish, BBC Radio 4 Fresh From The Fringe and Sketchorama.  Liz trained in improvisation with Monkey Toast and The FA, and performs with improv group The Petting Zoo.


Steve Dawson

Teaches: The Sketch Class / advanced sketch class

Steve Dawson writes as part of the Dawson Bros. who have worked on a variety of narrative, sketch and entertainment shows. Notable credits include two series of hit BBC1 sitcom Big School, co-written with David Walliams, the multi-award winning Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, the Banff-nominated sketch show Dawson Bros. Funtime, the BAFTA nominated The Peter Serafinowicz Show, the BAFTA winning That Mitchell And Webb Look and The One Ronnie - their 'Blackberry Sketch' was the BBC's most-watched YouTube clip for more than three years.

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Ivan Gonzalez

Teaches: The Sketch Class

Ivan is one half of the globe-trotting sketch double act and all-round legends Max & Ivan. With Max he has won the Edinburgh Comedy Award Panel Prize and has been nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Show along with the Barry Award for Most Outstanding Show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. He appears as a mainly silent character in BBC Two's W1A and as a non-silent character in BBC Radio 4's Casebook of Max and Ivan, which has attracted guest stars including Matt Lucas, Reece Shearsmith, Joanna Lumley and June Whitfield. He is also the co-founder of The Free Association and has a deaf cat called Archie.