The Short Story:
Susan Snyder has been playing professionally for 15 years. She is improvisor, drama therapist, group facilitator, and trainer. Susan is a founding member of the Un-Scripted Theater Company and acts as Corporate Programs Manager for the ensemble. She holds an MA in Psychology/Drama Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies and has many years experience in facilitating playful, meaningful group experiences.
The Long Story:
I’ve always loved the world of imagination.
As a child, my world was filled with make believe (at one point I was taking care of 100 imaginary dogs). As a teenager and young adult, the world of theater was the safe place to grow and explore; I did it all – writing, acting, directing, stage crew, anything to stay a part of that creative world. Post-college, I spent a number of years working in arts-in-education and as a playwright. Then after a cross-country move to San Francisco, I discovered theatrical improvisation.
That discovery was life-changing and challenging. To stand on an empty stage with other beings and just make things up was terrifying and magical. We were doing the impossible all the time – creating stories one word at a time, making up songs on the spot and telling increasingly complicated stories from nothing! I experienced real shifts in my life as I embraced some core improv philosophies – “mistakes are gifts”, “say yes” and “go into the cave” (i.e. take risks). I jumped into the world of improv full-on…taking classes and working toward becoming a performer. Along the way, I began to teach improv..and found my calling in helping people discover their spontaneity and deep creativity.
Improvisation changed my life in many ways! I met my husband in an improv class and in addition to enjoying performing together, we use improv to enjoy the ups and navigate the downs of our relationship. Also, teaching improvisation led me to study drama therapy and put my improvisation skills to work in other settings.
I’ve spent the last 15 years playing professionally in diverse arenas – from the stage to corporate offices, from a nursing home to a college classroom, from mental health programs to private classes. I’ve worked as a corporate trainer, drama therapist and actor. I’m proud to be a founding member of the Un-Scripted Theater Company which gives me a home base to practice the art and craft of improvisational theater. I’ve seen in action that improvisational skills have value in the classroom, in work settings, in healing and sometimes just in getting through a difficult day.
Since our daughter (Little Person or LP) was born in February 2007, I’ve been thinking about how improv philosophy and activities fit with parenting. It was especially important set of skills that kept me going while struggling with postpartum depression for the first few years of our daughter’s life.
So Improv-a-mama was created as a place to share ideas to enhance playful parenting, coping playfully with difficult times, explore improvisation and play philosophy and create a bit of online community. I believe in lots of creative, expressive and messy play and look for ways for that to be a part of LP’s every day.
Thank you for coming by and I hope you’ll read, comment and play along!