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.
URBAN IMPROV ACTORS/EDUCATORS
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!
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.
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.
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.
Makalani is an artist and educator from Atlanta, Georgia. He received his Bachelors in Anthropology from Brandeis University and was the teaching fellow at Epiphany School in Dorchester. Makalani loves to write as well as sing and play guitar. He began acting at the age of four and has since performed in theater projects, music showcases, and open mics in Atlanta and Boston. Makalani is excited to be a part of the creative work at Urban Improv.
Marios was born and raised in Cyprus. A member of dozens of musical projects, he has participated in the making of three albums and three EP’s. He performs and records with NY/Boston act Primal Feelings and Boston duo Charlie Diva. He has a B.M. in Composition from the New England Conservatory of Music and is a member of the Center of Cypriot Composers. Urban Improv is a gift for Marios as it allows him to use his artistry for social justice.
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.
Kevin was a founding member of the Freelance Players. He is a graduate of the Hollywood High School of the Performing Arts and American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He has worked in Boston with the Underground Railroad Theatre Company, Wheelock Family Theatre and the Justice Resource Institute. An Urban Improv member for 19 years, Kevin also teaches acting and improvisation at the Baker School and performs with the Boston band, Marie’s Children.
Zach graduated from Harvard University in 2002 where he produced three short films. Born and raised in Jamaica Plain, he has been teaching theater, movement and visual arts in the Boston Area for twelve years. 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 community.
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.
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!
KIPPY DEWEYCo-Executive Director
As founding Co-Executive Director, Kippy oversees all programs of Urban Improv and Freelance Players, Inc. 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.
NARCISSA CAMPIONManaging Director
Narcissa is the Managing Director of Urban Improv 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.
FRANCIE KARLENCo-Executive 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.
PETER LIFFERSBusiness & Office Coordinator
Peter is the Business &Office Coordinator for Rehearsal for Life. Peter has a background in museum education, having worked at Plimouth Plantation, the Commonwealth Museum, the Scituate Historical Society, and UMass Boston’s Special Collections and Archives, while getting his M.A. in History. A New England native, Peter is passionate about education and is excited to be working at an organization that emphasizes social and emotional learning.
AMANDA MASSIEMarketing & Development Associate
Amanda is the Marketing & Development Associate for Rehearsal for Life. She originally came to Urban Improv through the Arts Administration master’s program at Boston University. Amanda spent years working in arts-based nonprofits in the LA area, fundraising and expanding theatre programs. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University, where she majored in Theatre Arts. Amanda is passionate about the educational opportunities that the arts provide.
JAMIE ULLRICHUrban Improv Program Manager
Jamie is the 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.