YAA D. ACHEAMPONG, Artistic & Education Director is a recent graduate from the Mental Health Counseling program at Lesley University with a specialization in Drama Therapy. A New Jersey native, Yaa has served as a youth ministry co-leader, a high school English teacher in Newark Public Schools and in a variety of roles – from AmeriCorps member to National Admissions Marketing Associate with the national educational non-profit, City Year. She believes strongly in the powerful potential within all youth and in creating spaces for them to build confidence and community through self-awareness and empathy. Yaa is thrilled to lead Urban Improv’s team of passionate actor educators!
JADIRA FIGUEROA is a graduate of Boston Arts Academy where she discovered her love for both acting and technical theatre. She has been acting in Boston since 2012 from theatre festivals to working with community theatres in both Spanish and English. In the spring of 2016 Jadira decided to leave her career as a clinical assistant and any further pursuits in the medical field to focus all of her attention in the arts. If she's not on stage acting you can find Jadira backstage as a stage manager or light board operator. Jadira is excited and honored to be apart of Urban Improv where she can continue to grow as an artist and to use her years of theatre experience to make an impact in today's youth.
JEFF KIMBALL is an improvisational actor and pianist, a theatrical music director, a mechanical engineer, a songwriter, a runner & cyclist, a multi-instrumentalist, and is now thrilled to add "musician/actor/educator with Urban Improv" to the top of that list! Jeff performs irregularly with the Phil Henry Acoustic Trio and with The Furies, a jazz duo. He is also active in various community theatre groups around Boston, and is a Music Director at ImprovBoston.
COLLIN KNIGHT started working with Urban Improv as an Intern, and eventually came on board as a member of the ensemble a few years later. He is an Actor in his spare time and has been featured in film and TV projects in the Boston and New York area over the last few years.
MAKALANI MACK is a young artist and educator from Atlanta, Georgia. Last Spring, he received his Bachelors degree in Anthropology from Brandeis University and afterwards spent a few months as a teaching fellow at the Epiphany School in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Makalani loves to write short stories, poetry, and music, as well as sing and play guitar as well. He's been acting since about 4 years of age when he portrayed the Lion in the musical, The Wiz. Since then he's performed in one act theater projects, music and performance showcases, acapella groups, and open mics in both Atlanta and Boston. Makalani is very excited to be apart of the creative work being done at Urban Improv, and hopes to continuing growing as an artist, educator and human being.
MERLE PERKINS has played a variety of roles at regional theatres in New England. TV and video credits include HBO’s Six Feet Under the films -We Pedal Uphill (recently released on DVD), All the Rage, and Mermaids, as well as many commercials, industrials and museum exhibits. Merle has often been requested to sing at city and state events by Mayor Menino of Boston and the Boston Red Sox organization. She received training at Boston University and Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts. Merle has been a member of Urban Improv since the program began in 1992.
KEVIN SMITH was one of the founding members of the Freelance Players in Boston. He is a graduate of the Hollywood High School of the Performing Arts, in Los Angeles, and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. As well as being a proud member of Urban Improv for 19 years. Smith currently teaches acting and improvisation at The Lesley Ellis School in Arlington, and performs with the Boston based rock band Marie's Children.
ZACH STUART graduated from Harvard University in 2002 where he studied film and video and produced 3 short films. He was born and raised in Jamaica Plain and has been teaching theater, movement and visual arts in the Boston Area for the past twelve years, directing children of all ages in both musical, movement based and straight theater. He directs the Freelance Troupe at the Footlight Club in Jamaica Plain and heads the Theater Department at the Creative Arts at Park Summer Program. He has been involved with Urban Improv for 10 years and enjoys working in his home community.
HOLLY TARNOWER joined Urban Improv in 2011, upon graduating Drew University. She holds a degree in Theater and Dance with a concentration in Arts for community Outreach. She fell in love with the arts through Freelance Players as a kid and wanted to be part of the positive influence that helped shape her life. Combining her passions for performance, education and social justice, working with Urban Improv is a dream come true. Holly teaches and performs at various locations throughout the city. You can see her perform on ImprovBoston’s MainStage almost every week and she is also part of Fine Line Comedy’s resident ensemble. She is currently receiving her Masters Degree in Applied Theater at Emerson College.
VERONICA WELLS is a graduate of Boston Arts Academy where she concentrated in theatre. She also graduated from Mass College of Art with a degree in film and video. When she is not working on video projects she performs for Boston based Latino theatre organization, Escena Latina Teatro. She is very excited to be a part of Urban Improv's amazing ensemble!