Michael Burns, Director
Michael Burns, Ph.D., is a teacher, editor, filmmaker, and actor. He is also the founder and curator of Tall Tales, India’s longest-running, live storytelling event series that features performances and writing retreats. He has conducted hundreds of workshops with students and clients using principles of storytelling and improv. He is originally from the US and teaches academic and creative writing at FLAME University in Pune.
Avinash Verma, Assistant Director
Avinash Verma is an actor and comedian who has been in the industry for over a decade. He has worked with brands including Monster.com, MTV, ICICI, Coke, Amazon, and many more. He has acted in ad films with stars like Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpayee, Arshad Warsi, Boman Irani, and Ryan Stiles from the hit show “Whose line is it anyway?”. He has performed in improv festivals across India and the globe.
Ankit Challa has trained and performed with Improv Comedy Mumbai since its inception and has performed at international improv festivals in Berlin, Dubai, Amsterdam, and Seattle. He also teaches Improvisation theatre and comedy to aspiring improvisers, comedians, actors, and corporates. He has starred in TV commercials for Nerolac and Shopclues. He also dabbled in the corporate world for a while before his boss caught him two-timing with his profession when his ad “Ghanshu” went viral.
Nasir Engineer is professional improv director, facilitator, and performer with over 11 years of experience. He co-founded Improv Comedy Bangalore and was its artistic director for 5 years. He founded and directed India’s first and only international improv festival: The Bengaluru Improv Festival. He has coached and performed for many corporates including Google, Uber, IBM, Philips, Decathlon, and others. Apart from improv, Nasir is a creative recruitment specialist at a tech company. He is a professional graphic designer and an ex-ultramarathon runner.
Surya Rao is an actor, writer and director. He has worked in more than 25 films and web shows in Hindi and Telugu. Some of the notable directors he has worked with are Ram Gopal Varma, Surinder Reddy, Akriti Singh, Barry John to name a few. When not on stage or a set, Surya is obsessing over Parkour. One day he will climb the three storeys of his house in one go.
Akriti Singh is a writer, director, and actress. She recently wrote, directed and edited her first feature film, Toofaan Mail. The film has won multiple international awards. Akriti also runs a theatre group in Mumbai called ‘Storia Senza Storia’ (Story Less Stories). She has written, directed and produced 14 plays in the past 4 years. She has acted in a number of films, web shows, and theatre plays. . An architect by education, she is deeply interested in the workings of the human mind.
Varsha has been doing improv for the past 6 years. She believes that improv should be a life skill to be learnt by everyone. She has conducted several improv workshops for corporates and kids as well. Her dream is to produce a children's playback theatre in Mumbai. When not on stage, she is a corporate trainer for India's largest IT company. Bringing improv to the corporate world is her pet project.
Lincia is an actor and an award- winning Emcee and TV presenter who has hosted 800+ events globally. In the last two years she has won four awards including Best Emcee of the year 2020, Best Emcee Wedding, Best Emcee Corporate, and Most Successful Emcee by Businessworld and Events & Entertainment Management Association. Recently she hosted Klose to My Life, The Great Food Show, the Press India Awards and many more programs and shows.