Michael Lewis: Ownner/Director
Michael Lewis started improvising over 20 years ago with Hermit Colony in Bakersfield, California, and founded his own improv company, Empire Improv, in 2007. Michael performed with ComedySportz for several years before moving on to iO West where he studied and performed for five years. He taught his first improv class in way back in1996. Since then Michael has created the three level Foundations curriculum for Empire Improv, along with several workshops he teaches at other improv theaters: Leap First, Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Body, Improvising Shakespeare, and Group Work. In addition to teaching for Empire Improv he has taught workshops for Synergy Theatre, American Improv Theatre, The San Jose Improv Festival, The LA Improv Festival, The California Improv Festival, University of Nevada Reno, Blacktop Comedy, Made Up Theatre, Reno Improv, and Truckee Meadows Community College.
As a performer he has performed with Empire Improv’s Hostel Greetings, Police Cops!, and Bow Tie Kitty. He has improvised Shakespeare style with the Backstreet Bards, The Spontaneous Shakespeare Company, and continues to perform with Made Up Shakespeare. An alum of iO West, he performed with both The Award Winning Documentary and The Improvised Documentary helping to develop the improvised documentary as a performance form. He has been on iO West Harold teams, cage match teams, and performed at Magnet Theater: New York, PIT: New York, The Comedy Spot: Sacramento, Reno Improv, Blacktop Comedy: Rocklin, American Improv Theater: San Jose, and Made Up Theater: Fremont. He currently performs as part of the duo “Bakersfield” with a fellow Bakersfeildian as they perform at improv festivals across the state.