Congratulations to the 2023 AIN Scholarship Award Recipients!

We are thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2023 AIN Global Conference Scholarship Awards. In early June 2023, the 12 scholarships were awarded to the following awesome individuals. 

These awards are made possible by the generous donations of donors and supporters, and we are grateful for their support of our mission to make applied improvisation training accessible to everyone. We asked our recipients to share with our network their biographies and answers to the following three questions/prompts:

  1. What are you most excited about attending this conference?
  2. Please tell us about your Applied Improvisation background.
  3. Where are you originally from and live today?

We hope you enjoy their responses and get to know them at the conference! We wish the scholarship recipients all the best as they continue their journey in applied improvisation. We know that they will use their skills to make a positive impact on the world. 

The 2023 scholarship recipients are:


Nick Blythe

I am most excited about meeting new people and gain more improv skills. 

I started Improv during the tail end of the pandemic when I was itching to get out of the house and connect with people, found a school that had scholarships for people with disabilities such as being autistic and such so I jumped into the chance to try it out and it became my special interest. I have no experience with Applied Improv, just the standard improv.

I grew up in Maple Ridge, and currently live in East Vancouver.


Cass Freeman

Cass Freeman is a Vancouver journalist, improviser and improv instructor. She has been teaching improvisation on and off for more than 20 years and performs in Maestro Impro at Tightrope theatre twice a month. She is also taking an advanced
class in improvisation at Blind Tiger. She is the originator and co-producer of the World According to Keith, a documentary about Keith Johnstone. She is currently developing an improv workshop to teach job seekers interview skills. In her spare
time she enjoys swimming, kayaking and beating her husband at table tennis. Cass is also prone to spontaneous bouts of singing.

Michael Haycock

Michael Haycock is a lifelong learner, educator, and play enthusiast. He started his Improv journey in 2009 and has been doing improv ever since. He is currently the Artistic Director of the Upfront Theater in Bellingham WA, a co-founder of the Wasatch Improv Festival, and a member of several local and long-distance improv teams. Michael has a Masters degree in Special Education Early Childhood and has been an early learning teacher for ten years. In his spare time, he loves playing board games, Dungeons and Dragons, and long walks on the beach where he lives.

This is my first Applied Improvisation Conference and am so excited to learn and connect with people. It is my life goal to become an expert in play and I feel like getting connected with this community is a great path towards that. I have used my improv knowledge in my special education teaching but am looking to expand and be more intentional with it. I am originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. I am currently living in Birch Bay Washington.

Madeleine Humeny

Madeleine Humeny (She/They) is a queer, bilingual, multidisciplinary artist and comedian living in "Vancouver". Since graduating from The Canadian College of Performing Arts with a degree in musical theatre, she has been lucky enough to work and to learn in many dreamy kinds of theatre and production. Madeleine has professional experience with puppetry, French theatre and translation, composition, music direction, devising, commedia dell'arte, playwriting, and props and costume design - they have been positively graced with the opportunity to add improvisation to their credits. This is exactly where she wants to be. 

David C. Jones

David is an actor, director, writer, filmmaker, event producer, and a teacher. A graduate of Studio 58 who has acted in plays by Mamet, Coward, Shakespeare and Stoppard. His short film Same Boat won the People’s Choice Award in 2015. He was awarded a City Of Vancouver Award of Excellence, a recipient of a Legacy Award in The Arts and was Sainted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. He was the Entertainment Manager of the 2010 Winter Olympics. He mostly now works as a trainer and a keynote speaker with the

I love to learn and I love to laugh and so what I'm most looking forward to is learning and laughing. I love being taken out of my comfort zone and someplace fun and new and I expect to do that here.

Applied Improvisation background: I was there at the very beginning when I was a member of NASAGA when AIN was born. Since then, I've always been on the mailing list, but a little bit on the periphery only occasionally popping in to one of the Friday online workshops, but always enjoying them and learning lots when I did. I am a Canadian, eh? Born in Ontario, but in BC most of the formative years up until now. I currently reside in East Vancouver.

Russel McDonald

Russel McDonald is and always has been an artist at heart However, upon completing high school, he chose to set aside his passion and pursue a career in business. During his formative years, he embarked on extensive travels around the world, immersing himself in the study and teaching of kung Fu while actively engaging with diverse cultures. On his current journey in what could be dubbed by some a "mid life crisis", Russel is determined to explore the performing arts to their fullest extent, aspiring to create a lasting impact on those he encounters and forge meaningful connections with as many individuals as possible.

My improv journey is a short one. Shunted off the cliff into the Chasm that is Improv by my best friend in 2022. Though my journey has been short, every step is filled with knowledge and insight. I've only recently learned about exciting applications of improv outside of the theater and am eager to learn more. I'm from Victoria BC and now live in Vancouver BC

Tara Moon

I’m a Canadian-Taiwanese actor, language-learning nerd, and amateur musician. My day jobs include performing science shows and promoting French language programs for youth. In my spare time, I borrow dozens of books from the library and return most of them unread. I started performance improv in 2022, and as someone who needs to know what they’re getting into before entering any situation, improv should have been my worst nightmare. Instead, it was a game-changer for my social and work life, improving my confidence and ability to respond to the unexpected.

I’m excited to absorb the knowledge of other improv enthusiasts. I have a background in performance improv, but not applied improvisation, so I can’t wait to learn more. I’m originally from Nelson, BC, and after moving to five other cities across the country and world, I now live in Vancouver.


Ivy Padmos

Ivy Padmos is a queer multi-disciplinary Artist from Calgary, Alberta. Ivy moved to Vancouver in 2019 and has been making this beautiful city her home the last few years. An actor by trade, Ivy has been seen in productions across the lower mainland such as Screwball Comedy and Blithe Spirit with the Royal Canadian Theatre company. Since September of 2022, Ivy has been working with the Improv Centre in Vancouver and is so excited to have improv be a major focus in her life. When she's not acting, she's busy being a dog mom to her sweet puppy, Amarillo.

I am very excited for the AIN conference! I'm originally from Calgary and now living in Vancouver, where I do improv with the Improv Centre as a part of their house teams. I'm most excited to learn how to use improv day to day and the connections I will make!


Alan Pavlakovic

Alan has been a lifelong improviser since high school, enjoying the challenges and skill building process first learned through the Canadian Improv Games. Since Alan has had the opportunity to perform at various theatres in Canada with the Fictionals, QueerProv, Theatre Sports, and many others and is now a mainstage cast member at The Improv Centre on Granville Island regularly doing shows for the community. He is also a full time Event Coordinator at the longest running private cooking school in Canada and can't wait to get tips and suggestions on how better to pepper these skills into showstopping events and cooking tutorials! Alan grew up in beautiful British Columbia and currently resides in East Vancouver with his husband and black lab.


Rafael Rogers Pellerin

Born in vibrant Brazil and raised in the enchanting city of Ottawa, Raf Rogers embodies a rich cultural tapestry. From a young age, they immersed themselves in French education, thus becoming unable to do advanced math in English. Growing up fluent in French, Portuguese, and English, he possess a remarkable linguistic agility, swiftly embracing new languages. With Spanish rolling off their tongue and a touch of German in their repertoire, Raf's linguistic prowess expands horizons. Their insatiable passion for acting ignited when they ventured to the artistic hub of Vancouver, where their dreams took flight.

Sharing a space with Colin Mocherie has to be on the top of my list for things I'm excited about. Colin was one of the reasons I began my journey into improv comedy. As a professional improviser, it's hard to distinguish where improv begins and ends but I don't know if I've purposefully used applied improv yet.

I was born in Brazil in the city of Ilheus and was mostly raised in Ottawa, Canada. I am now located in Vancouver.

Daniel Simpson

Introducing Daniel, an artist and animator new to the world of improvisation. Originally studying animation at the Art Institute of Los Angeles and the Vancouver Film School he now has over a decade’s worth of expertise in the industry. He has honed his craft in storytelling and character development working on a variety of projects including series’ by Dreamworks. When he's not immersing himself in the world of improv, Daniel can be found cycling through the city or indulging in his love for all things nerd culture. With the lessons learned from animation he hopes to blend its world with that of improvisation.

I'm most excited about attending this conference because it offers a unique opportunity to learn from seasoned improvisors, explore new techniques, and connect with fellow enthusiasts. I hope to personally improve, be inspired and improve as an artist.

Improvisational techniques have helped me beyond the theater. I've applied it in various fields like work, education, and personal growth, using the power of spontaneity, collaboration, and adaptability to bring about positive change in my life.

I’m originally from Los Angeles where I’ve always had a passion for the arts. Today, I reside in Vancouver, immersing myself in a thriving improvisation community that challenges me to push boundaries, embrace uncertainty, and discover the limitless possibilities of this incredible art form.


Calder Stewart

Calder got his start in acting and improv at a young age after telling his mother he wanted to be ninja turtle, and promptly getting signed up for theatre and Martial Arts. As a teen he started teaching Martial Arts full-time and did so for over a decade, all the while practicing his passion for acting and the Performance Arts. As an adult, He has been in innumerable community theatre productions and currently serves on the board of directors for a nonprofit theatre organization in his hometown. He now works as an actor and acting coach for people of all ages, with a focus on being kind to yourself and proud of your work.

I'm most excited to meet and learn from others who have had different (or similar) experiences in improv both professionally and personally. And to share in the wonderful energy of "Yes, and..."

I've been a theatre kid since I was six, so my love of making stuff up runs deep! I've worked as an instructor, coach, facilitator and leader with kids and adults for over 15 years, and the need to improvise has been the one constant in all my experiences.

I was born in Vancouver, but I grew up on beautiful Bowen Island in Howe Sound. I currently live and work on Bowen Island and in the greater Vancouver area.

2023 AIN Global Conference 

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