Theater 29 has reformed and reset their highly successful Improvisational Theater program with a new format and new leadership. Under the experienced leadership of Co-Directors Graham Cooley and Jesse Worstell, the “Rotating Players” will feature core players Cooley and Worstell joined by Ben Bees and Charles Harvey. They will be joined for performances by a selected workshop member and a featured mainstage performer. Liyan McNeltier is the troupe’s host and manager.
Improv is short for improvisation. It's spontaneous ensemble theatre. It is an art form where the performers make up the theatre, usually comedy on the spot.
Not only is improv fun, but the skills required in improv can benefit both your personal and professional life. Improv Improves communication, increases creativity, promotes problem-solving, and builds trust in a team? The workshops provide a basic introduction to the rules of improv followed by interactive games to build and hone skills valuable for theatrical performances and personal growth as well.
The Rotating Players will be the resident Improv Troupe for Theatre 29 but will be performing at other venues throughout Southern California.
Workshops with the core players providing instruction and performance skills will be held the 3rd Saturday of every month from 2pm-4pm for a $5 fee (scholarships available if needed). The Improv Workshops will be held at the Theatre 29 complex at. 73637 Sullivan Road in the City of Twentynine Palms.
Jesse is a musician and composer originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He caught the acting bug in high school and was in numerous plays and productions. His love of music brought him to Nashville, where he joined the Nashville Improv Company. After a 10 year break, he discovered Theatre 29 and the Rotating Players, and is grateful for the opportunity to perform and be part of the community.
Graham has been seen onstage for years in Twentynine Palms. He is a three-time Desert Theatre League nominee for main-stage productions, however, improv is his preferred medium. Graham was a cofounder of the improv club at the Twentynine Palms High School and was an Assistant Director for The Baker’s Dozen improv troupe at Theatre 29. Graham is excited to join his fellow performers for continued laughs at Theatre 29.
Ben has a BA in Theatre from Northwestern College and has been performing theatre all over the Mid-west, Inland Empire, and Hi-Desert. He has garnered multiple Desert Theatre League nominations such as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy for his role in AN IDEAL HUSBAND as well as winning a Desert Star Award in the same category for THE 39 STEPS. Ben has always loved improv and its incredibly versatile "real world" applications.
Charles features credits amongst a wide body of technical and stage productions that span over thirty-five years in the theatre. His recent acting credits include A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER (The D’ysquith Family) at Theatre 29 for which he won “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical” honors from the Desert Theatre League in 2022. A graduate of Second City’s training ground PLAYERS WORKSHOP WEST in Los Angeles, he hopes to make you laugh, even if you are the sole person to get the joke.
(Host/Games Coordinator) Liyan loves the challenge of trying to manage this wild group of improvisational performers both on stage and off. Her most recent notable achievement was her own directorial debut with ALMOST LOVE, a cabaret that received 10 Desert Theatre League Star Award nominations. Liyan loves to be both on stage and backstage and is a DTL Star Award-nominated actor and a DTL Star Award recipient for makeup, music, direction, and production. But most of all, Liyan loves to entertain, and what better way to do this than with both core members and guests of the Rotating Players Improv!