Our unique programming would not be possible without our talented ensemble of actor-educators and administrative staff, all of whom bring a wealth of experience in performing arts and community service.
REHEARSAL FOR LIFE STAFF
YAA D. ACHEAMPONGArtistic & Education Director
Yaa is a graduate from the Mental Health Counseling program at Lesley University. A New Jersey native, Yaa has served as a youth ministry leader, a high school teacher and in many roles – from AmeriCorps member to National Admissions Marketing Associate with City Year. She believes in the potential within all youth and in creating spaces for them to build confidence and community. Yaa is thrilled to lead Urban Improv’s team of actor-educators!
Tory Bullock is an actor, performance artist, videographer, and lover of life. His work has been featured on WBUR, WGBH, Hot 96.9, The Boston Globe, Herald, Metro, and The Today Show. As a product of Boston, his goal is to give other people in his community the same opportunities that were given to him. He is excited to continue creating with Urban Improv.
NARCISSA CAMPIONProgram Manager: Freelance Players
Narcissa is the Program Manager and a music director for Freelance Players. She joined the organization in 1982. An accomplished composer and arranger, she has won two Massachusetts Arts Lottery grants for composition. Narcissa is a graduate of Wellesley College, where she was awarded the Lamb Prize for composition, and the Barrett Fellowship for the study of musical theater. She has composed over 25 musicals for young people.
KIPPY DEWEYFounding Director
As Founding Director, Kippy serves as artistic adviser to all programs of Urban Improv and oversees the Freelance Players. Kippy has taught and directed at the Charles Playhouse and the Next Movie Theatre and held artist residencies in schools throughout the metropolitan Boston area. Kippy is also the founding director of Creative Arts at Park, a multi-arts summer program for young people ages 8-15.
Jadira is a graduate of Boston Arts Academy where she discovered her love for theatre. She has been acting in Boston since 2012. In 2016, Jadira decided to leave her career as a clinical assistant to focus her attention on the arts. If she’s not on stage acting, you can find her backstage as a stage manager or light board operator. Jadira is excited to be a part of Urban Improv where she can use her years of theatre experience to make an impact.
FRANCIE KARLENExecutive Director
Francie oversees programming at Rehearsal for Life. She served as Director of Strategy & Advancement for Urban Improv prior and was on the board (2011-2016). Francie held positions at Deloitte Consulting, KIPP Foundation, and was a Board Chair for nonprofit Inspiring Kids. She has a Master’s in Education and a Bachelor’s in Political Science and Government from Harvard University. She is passionate about youth development and educational equity.
JEFFREY KIMBALLActor-Educator, Freelance Players Music Director
Jeff is an improvisational actor and pianist, a theatrical music director, a mechanical engineer, a songwriter, a runner & cyclist, a multi-instrumentalist, and musician/actor/educator with Urban Improv. 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.
AMANDA M. KLEINMarketing & Development Associate
Amanda is the Marketing & Development Associate for Rehearsal for Life. Prior to moving to Boston, Amanda spent years working in arts-based nonprofits in the Los Angeles area, fundraising and overseeing theatre programs. She has a master’s degree in Arts Administration from Boston University and a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Pepperdine University. Amanda is passionate about the educational opportunities that the arts provide.
Collin 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.
LISA McCOLGANOffice Administrator
Lisa oversees the database and administrative functions for Rehearsal for Life, after a 20+ year stint as a Database Administrator for the Huntington Theatre Company. Lisa has a BA in Theatre from Saint Leo University and received her MFA in Creative Writing & Literature from Emerson College. A singer and percussionist, she performs with the B-52s tribute band Bikini Whale. Lisa is passionate about theatre and its ability to transform and save lives, and is honored to be a part of Rehearsal for Life.
Merle is a founding member of Urban Improv, with the company since 1992. An Independent Reviewers of New England award winner, she’s played roles at theaters in New England and abroad. Credits include TV shows like HBO’s “Six Feet Under”, films and local commercials. The Governor’s office, the Mayor of Boston, and the Red Sox have requested Merle to sing at events. Merle trained at Boston University and Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts.
Holly holds a degree from Drew University in Theater and Dance with a concentration in Arts for Community Outreach. She fell in love with the arts through Freelance Players. Combining her passions for performance, education and social justice, working with Urban Improv is a dream come true. Holly teaches and performs with improv troupes throughout Boston. Holly received her Master’s in Applied Theater from Emerson College, where she teaches.
KRISTEN SHERMANDirector of Development
Kristen oversees philanthropy and marketing for Rehearsal for Life. She has worked in museums, public parks, education, and nonprofit foundations in Boston and NYC. Kristen studied Art History at UMass Amherst and received her MBA from Endicott College. A daily dose of art continues to be a connective thread in both her professional and personal life. Kristen believes the arts are an important tool, and can serve as a lens to interpret current events.
JAMIE ULLRICHSenior Program Manager: Urban Improv
Jamie is the Senior Program Manager for Urban Improv and has worked for the organization for over 10 years. Prior to joining Urban Improv, Jamie worked for several radio stations in Boston and Seattle. Originally from South Dakota, she earned a B.A. in Communication Studies from Seattle University and her M.A. in Media Arts from Emerson College. Jamie is gratified to be working for an organization that values artistic expression and social justice.
Veronica 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 honored to be a part of Urban Improv’s amazing ensemble!