04 Jan Hello from the Windy City! In conversation with Jessica Mitolo, our new Education Manager
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After a very tumultuous past year, 2021 has truly started with a lot of hope and energy from all of us. For us here at The Nursery, we are excited to continue bringing the art of improvisation to the lives and homes of people across the world. At the core of that mission is… our team!
Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be introducing you, our readers, to some of the new faces you might see or hear from at The Nursery. In the first of this series, we have Jessica Mitolo who joins us as our new Education Manager, working remotely from The Windy City aka Chicago, US.
Q. Jess, let’s skip the official bio. Can you describe yourself as…
Movie Dialogue: Rocky IV “If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!”
Song Lyric: I will never get tired of Tom Waits singing, “I’m gonna love you until the wheels fall off. Oh yeah.”
Book Dedication: Gloria Steinem’s in My Life on the Road:
Dr. John Sharpe of London, who in 1957, a decade before physicians in England could legally perform an abortion for any reason other than the health of the woman, took the considerable risk of referring for an abortion a twenty-two-year-old American on her way to India.
Knowing that she had broken an engagement at home to seek an unknown fate, he said, “You must promise me two things. First, you will not tell anyone my name. Second, you will do what you want to do with your life.”
Dear Dr. Sharpe, I believe you, who knew the law was unjust, would not mind if I say this so long after your death: I’ve done the best I could with my life. This book is for you.
Cheesy Pick-Up Line: I believe all pick-up lines should be treated with equal amounts of respect
A Cocktail / Beverage: An Old Fashioned without the sugar/syrup.
A Four-Word Alliteration: Always answer angry apples
Q. What is your relationship and history with improv as an artform? Do you remember the very first improv class/show/experience you had?
I first started to study and perform improvisation eighteen years ago. I still remember a college friend inviting me to watch the university’s longform improv team’s weekly rehearsal. I sat in the corner and had never seen anything like it. It was equal parts silly and smart and I was really amazed that the actors got to create any world they wanted.
Q. How’s it like to join the Nursery? What are you most looking forward to?
Joining the Nursery has been a really wonderful experience. It is truly one of the most welcoming spaces that I’ve been invited into. I am looking forward to meeting more of the students and working with the Nursery/Maydays faculty to continue building courses that really demonstrate the high level of talent within the organization.
Q. 2020 has been quite the year and a particularly interesting one for the improv community. How has the last year panned out for you?
This year has been filled with surprises and (virtual) adventures. I have been lucky in that while various trips and work events got cancelled, the transition to teaching and directing virtually has made it possible to meet and work with people all over the world.
Q. What is the one thing about improv that excites you deeply?
What I love the most about improvisation is that there is no reason NOT to try something. It is an art form that is constantly inviting experimentation and evolution.
Q. Where are you these days? Where do you want to be?
I AM in my apartment in Chicago, IL in the USA. Ideally, I would be in my apartment in Chicago, IL with a puppy.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share with those who are reading this?
I don’t think so… oh yes! I’m hosting a workshop on making bold choices in grounded scenes on 30th Jan. We’ll explore how to build, connect and play scenes in an easy, relaxed, and just-as-funny-as-it-is-heartfelt manner. The workshop is open to any student who identifies as female. You can learn more and sign up here (Link)
We are beyond excited to have Jessica join the Nursery Team! Here’s more about her journey with improvisation and theatre (so far!)
Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Jessica Mitolo is currently a director and teaching artist in Chicago, Illinois. As a faculty member at The Second City Training Center, Jessica has spent the past ten years teaching improvisation and comedy writing to students of all ages and skill levels. For over five years, Jessica worked as a Lead Teaching Artist in Open Book’s ReadThenWrite Residency Program where she traveled throughout Chicago, teaching reading comprehension and creative writing to students in underserved communities. Independent of Second City, Jessica has trained comedians in over 10 different countries including Lebanon, Greece, Poland, Germany, South Africa, China, and Czech Republic and leads corporate improv and idea generating workshops where she has enjoyed working with companies such as NetSuites, LinkedIn, and Willis Towers Watson. She has directed more than 40 productions, including MY AMERICAN COUSIN at Silk Road Rising, VISPETTA: A COMMEDIA DELL’ARTE PRODUCTION at Italian American Theatre Company of Chicago, MEAT CUTE, and NOSTALGIA SUCKS: BUT IT USED TO BE AWESOME! Jessica was a participant in LaMama International’s 2017 Directing Symposium as well as The Lincoln Center’s 2018 Directors Lab. She is proud to have served as Associate Artistic Director of The Second City Training Center and to have worked as Director for one of Second City’s National Touring Companies and as Assistant to the Director on the Mainstage production, SOUTH SIDE OF HEAVEN.
Welcome to The Nursery, Jessica! 🎉
If you have something to share, an idea for a class or course you’d like to see us offer, give feedback about your learning experience at The Nursery or just want to say hi, write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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