“In the best improv scenes, everyone shares equally in the creation. of something that could exist no other way than through collaboration. It is exhilarating, frightening, ephemeral, real, silly, vulnerable, and so much fun.”

Amy Carpenter is a recipient of a 2017 Artist Research & Development Grant.

Artist Research and Development Grants are designed to support the advancement of artistic research, aid in the development of artistic work and recognize the contributions individual artists make to Arizona’s communities. For more information about the Artist Research & Development Grant, click here.

Along with her collaborator, Stacey Hanlon, Amy Carpenter aims to explore improvisation as a viable medium to improve the quality of life for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As such, she will offer a series of free improvisational workshops for autistic young adults at no cost to the participants. Carpenter and Hanlon will tailor specific improvisational exercises to this unique population.

Workshops will be limited to 10 students per meeting and will also welcome the habilitators and/or parents of the participants. Each workshop will consist of 2 hours of improvisation exercises that introduce creative thought, expression, response to social-emotional cues and making choices. Workshops will be held in the Spring and Summer of 2017.

Amy Carpenter was first introduced to improvisation in 1999 and since that time she has performed and taught across the country. She is a founding member of The Torch Theatre and can regularly be seen performing with her troupes Mail Order Bride and Havens Tafting.

In addition to her work with the Torch, Amy has performed in New York, Chicago, San Diego, Austin, Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff. Her teaching and performance draw on a variety of influences, with a strong preference for Annoyance-style, character-driven, honest, patient scene

work, though she does love the playfulness of large ensembles. She trained in musical improv at the Hideout Theatre in Austin, TX and has supplemented her improv education with workshops from many of her improv idols, including Susan Messing, Craig Cackowski, Nick Armstrong, Charna Halpern, Jill Bernard and David Razowsky.

Her traditional classroom experience led her to work with a variety of special populations, introducing improvisation not only as art, but as a form of therapy. She directed a program for older adults with dementia, has taught children of all ages, has worked with women’s groups, and currently teaches at a creative vocational school for adults with Autism.

Amy believes in creating a safe, supportive classroom environment, and fills it with her infectious enthusiasm.

Perspectives: Amy Carpenter and Stacey Reed Hanlon

Perspectives is an on ongoing series of interviews and check-ins with recipients of our Artist Research and Development Grant (ARDG). Today we speak with 2017 ARDG recipient Amy Carpenter and her creative partner Stacey Reed Hanlon.

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Banner image: Stacey Hanlon and Amy Carpenter perform at the San Diego Improv Festival. Photo courtesy of the San Diego Improv Festival.


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