THE BNW PEOPLE

   

Meet the people who make it all happen at the Brave New Workshop.

Founder & Owners

Jenni is co-owner of BNW with husband John Sweeney, and serves as executive director of the BNW’s school, the BNW Student Union. Considered a ‘founding mother’ of modern improvisation study in Minnesota, Jenni has endeavored the past 20+ years to bring the mindset and tools of improvisation to as many people as possible. Outside of the BNW, the hallmark of Jenni’s community involvement is her work as co-founder of Gilda’s Club Twin Cities, a cancer support organization that opened in 2014.

CONTACT ME ABOUT:
Improvisation outreach in the community, Getting trained as an improv instructor, Applied improvisation for schools or community organizations and special audiences, Loon Calls, Using Improv for Life and Improv for Good

Jenni Lilledahl

Owner, Brave New Workshop and Executive Director, Student Union

Dudley Riggs is a fifth generation member of a distinguished show business family, and has worked (since the age of 5) as a circus aerialist, movie actor, vaudevillian, comedian, writer, stage director, and producer.

A noted improvisational comedian, Riggs created the Instant Theater Company in New York, which he moved to Minneapolis in 1958 to become the Brave New Workshop.

Dudley Riggs

Founder of Brave New Workshop

John is a visionary entrepreneur, author, and inspiring keynote speaker. His passion for innovation has led him on a life journey of bridging key improvisational behaviors and mindset to the business world through his work with Fortune 500 companies. His quest for making the world a better place includes building a sustainable business model for a self-funding arts organization.

Contact Me About:
Ways we can help your organization focus on and transform behaviors; Keynote speaking; cultivating an innovative mindset; entrepreneurial life; giving and philanthropy; Jiggly Boy

John Sweeney

Owner, Brave New Workshop and Executive Producer, Creative Outreach

Brave New Workshop Theatre

Orange is her favorite color and her favorite animal is the mighty elephant. She likes to wear enough jewelry that she makes noise when she walks.

HOMETOWN:
Saint Louis Park, MN

RECENT SHOWS:
Recent Shows: Throwback BNW, Mad Vax, 50 Shades of Gravy

Lauren Anderson

BNW Cast

Craig began working in front of house by picking up shifts at the Guthrie while in college. He joined the BNW team in 2012 and is responsible for managing our front of house staff and guest services. Craig leads the team in out-of-this-world service and makes sure that our guests enjoy every minute they spend with us.

CONTACT CRAIG ABOUT:
Visitor/audience related questions/requests/comments, employment opportunities for ushers, box officers, bartenders, or event staff

Craig Anderson

Operations Manager

Joanna came onboard in January 2016, and is thrilled to bring her 13+ years of accounting experience to the institution that is Brave New Workshop. When she is not counting beans, she is herding her two sons out in the beautiful St. Croix Valley toward their own bright futures.

Contact Me About: Accounts payable or receivable; Payroll; Sales tax questions

Joanna Coyle

Accountant

Ann comes to BNW from an eclectic career including years of marketing and communications experience, stints in corporate America as an Operations Manager, and strategic consulting services. Ann is fulfilling her dream job by guiding marketing content and strategy for the theatre, Student Union, and Creative Outreach divisions of the Brave New Workshop.

CONTACT ANN ABOUT:
Social media, PR inquiries, Marketing content and strategy, Partnerships

Ann Drewiske

Director of Marketing

Matt first performed at the new Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre in downtown Minneapolis with the inaugural performance of ``Dudley: Rigged for Laughter.``

HOMETOWN:
Undisclosed as requested by City Council.

RECENT SHOWS:
Throwback BNW, Wolf of Walmart, Attack of the Best of the Brave New Workshop

Matt Erkel

BNW Cast

Erin began working at the BNW more than fifteen years ago and has had multiple roles ranging from group sales to theatre marketing to her present day role as the glue that holds it all together. As the Managing Director, she keeps all lines of business communicating, often driving projects that involve the entire company and reflect BNW’s workplace culture.

Contact Me About: Partnerships/collaborations/special projects; Job openings and personnel questions; Facilities and operations; Coffee and snacks

Erin Farmer

Managing Director

Bobby is an expert facilitator who has bridged improvisational behaviors to real life for 7 years. Bobby’s dedication to practice has fueled success on many stages, including The Brave New Workshop Mainstage, where he has wowed hundreds of thousands of stoic Minnesotans. Recent Shows: The Trump Who Stole Chistmas, Mad Vax, 50 Shades of Gravy, Wolf of Walmart.

Contact Me About:
Using the mindset of discovery to improve storytelling, communication, collaboration, and ideation in your company; The Star Wars Universe.

Bobby Gardner

Actor and Assoc. Dir. of Applied Improvisation

Used to be the head of his hometown gang, ``The Butterscotch Boys``, until he moved to Minneapolis where its too cold for year round gang violence.

HOMETOWN:
Plainfield, IA

RECENT SHOWS:
50 Shades of Gravy, Wolf of Walmart, Twerking Around the Christmas Tree

Andy Hillbrands

BNW Cast

RECENT SHOWS:
The Working Dead, The Trump Who Stole Christmas, Throwback BNW

Josie Just

Musical Director

LATEST SHOWS: Lady and the Trump

Andy Rocco Kraft

BNW Cast

Caleb brings two decades of experience as a performer, writer, and director to The Brave New Workshop’s mainstage. During that time he has also traveled the world as a corporate speaker, trainer, and facilitator (and yes, world-class knife thrower).

CONTACT CALEB ABOUT:
The Brave New Workshop Mainstage Theatre, Master of Ceremonies Services, Live Event Entertainment, Writing Projects, and Video Production

Caleb McEwen

BNW Artistic/Creative Director

Katy began as a writer and company member during the first Clinton administration, and they haven't managed to get rid of her yet. Yes, she is married to Artistic Director Caleb McEwen, and you can read into that whatever you like. It's a free country- for now.

CONTACT KATIE ABOUT:
Auditions, tech and musical director inquiries, and maybe some other stuff (she's been around a while, so she knows things).

Katy McEwen

Assoc. Artistic/Creative Director

LATEST SHOWS:
Recent Shows: Throwback BNW, Mad Vax

Heather Meyer

Actor/Teacher

Earl officially started with BNW January 1st of 2014 but he was so excited to dive in that he showed up a couple of days before he was supposed to. He brings a background in entrepreneurship and business management with his 18 years of launching and growing, with his wife and partner, the salon concept, Kids’ Hair. He watches over all aspects of the entertainment company and gets strangely excited about reading financial statements.

CONTACT EARL ABOUT:
Any Emcee, Custom Entertainment, or Video Production needs. For help with any customer service issues. For any ideas to help make BNW better.

Earl Mollerud

President, Brave New Workshop Entertainment Company

RECENT SHOWS:
Recent Shows: Throwback BNW, Mad Vax

Ryan Nelson

Actor

After escaping the merciless Iowan wilderness in pursuit of entrepreneurship and adventure, Hillary found her way to the BNW in 2014. Hillary now manages all theatre ticket sales, box office operations, database management, and outbound patron communication, ensuring the highest level of patron satisfaction. You can find her at the Box Office during some daytime business hours and on busy Saturday nights. Her background in theatre communication, visual & performing arts, customer service, sales, and management makes her an ideal utility player on the BNW team.

CONTACT HILLARY ABOUT:
Ticket requests and group sales; Email lists and communications; Printed promotional materials; Photo and graphic design editing; Spontaneous travel

Hillary Olson

Marketing and Box Office Manager

Tom Reed is a Minneapolis actor and comedian who has performed regularly at Brave New Workshop, Comedy Sportz and Stevie Ray’s in addition to hosting Sample Night Live as crooning sensation Lounge-asaurus Rex.

RECENT SHOWS:
The Working Dead, 50 Shades of Gravy, Mad Vax, Throwback BNW, The Trump Who Stole Christmas

Tom Reed

BNW Cast, Teacher

With education in video and technology, Harry works to turn video and tech problems into video and tech solutions, proving that a film degree CAN be useful.

CONTACT HARRY ABOUT:
Questions about tech for an event; Questions about video capabilities

Harry Reeder

Director of Video and Technical Services

Mary has a passion for helping clients create unique, creative and memorable events with her knowledge of all the BNW entertainment company products and resources, and will make sure that no detail of your event is overlooked.

CONTACT MARY FOR:
All event logistics; Food and beverage menus; special décor or set-up needs

Mary Ressler

Entertainment and Events Manager

Taj finds it amusing when people can't pronounce her name correctly. Don't feel bad, she can't pronounce ``clothes`` correctly. We all have our own struggles.

HOMETOWN:
Minneapolis, MN

RECENT SHOWS:
Throwback BNW, Mad Vax, 50 Shades of Gravy

Taj Ruler

BNW Cast, Teacher

RECENT SHOWS:
Recent Shows: Throwback BNW, Mad Vax, 50 Shades of Gravy

Matthew Vichlach

Technical Coordinator

RECENT SHOWS:
Twerking Around the Christmas Tree, A Pedalpub Named Desire, A Snowplow Named Desire

Melanie Wehrmacher

Actor



Student Union

Elliot left behind a career in architecture to join the Student Union as Operations Coordinator. His vast knowledge of buildings and their workings has come in handy with the renovation of our new space. In addition to keeping the new building from falling over Elliot can be found throughout the Twin Cities performing improv and acting in scripted plays.

CONTACT ELLIOT ABOUT:
Student Union building access, issues; Current class offerings; Student Union Lost and Found

Elliot Stevenson

Operations Coordinator, SU

Kevin Albertson

Teacher

Liv Augusta Albertson

Teacher

John Barrett

Teacher

Jason Bindas

Teacher

Joe Bozic

Actor/Teacher

Chris Campo

Teacher

Justina Cegelski

Teacher

Alex Cleburg

Teacher

Mike Fotis

Actor/Teacher

Elizabeth Gernes

Teacher

Damian Johnson

Teacher

David Kappelhoff

Teacher

Matthew McCloud

Teacher

Aric McKeown

Teacher

Brian Rice

Teacher

Jim Robinson

Actor/Teacher

Jake Scott

Teacher

Jen Scott

Teacher

Amanda Underwood

Teacher

Creative Outreach

Bobby is an expert facilitator who has bridged improvisational behaviors to real life for 7 years. Bobby’s dedication to practice has fueled success on many stages, including The Brave New Workshop Mainstage, where he has wowed hundreds of thousands of stoic Minnesotans. Recent Shows: The Trump Who Stole Chistmas, Mad Vax, 50 Shades of Gravy, Wolf of Walmart.

Contact Me About:
Using the mindset of discovery to improve storytelling, communication, collaboration, and ideation in your company; The Star Wars Universe.

Bobby Gardner

Actor and Assoc. Dir. of Applied Improvisation

Strategist, innovative thinker and life-long learner who focuses on maximizing the impact of BNW’s speaking and training programs and creating sustainable models for behavioral change.

CONTACT ELENA FOR:
New business or partnership opportunities, curriculum questions, citizenship/sustainability

Elena Imaretska

VP of New Products, Partnerships and Sustainability

Lynn is the chief accounting and financial officer for the Brave New Workshop. Since 1986 she’s been upholding strong financial management and accountability; as well as behind the scenes administrative support. She works diligently to provide accurate and reliable financial information while strengthening the internal controls for this unique operation.

CONTACT LYNN ABOUT:
Accounting, Payroll, Business Insurances, Licensing and Employee Benefits

Lynn Lanners

Financial Director

Renee Scott wears ‘many hats’ at the BNW, including Personal Assistant to John Sweeney and Jenni Lilledahl, Event Coordinator & Client Liaison for Creative Outreach trainings & events and lastly, coordinating our monthly philanthropic event Happy Hour Squared! Reneé is the quickest, fastest, and most effective way to brighten your day. And personally connect you with Sweeney and Jenni.

CONTACT RENEE FOR:
All things Happy Hour Squared; John Sweeney and Jenni Lilledahl Personal Matters; your daily dose of morale boosting and FUN!

Renee Scott

Sweeney and Lilledahl Personal Assistant

Margi is one of the most caring and skillful facilitators you will ever meet. She creates safe and fun learning environments for thousands of professional every year where they can laugh, stretch and make small shifts in their everyday behaviors.

CONTACT MARGI FOR:
Incorporating the mindset of discovery into your day-to-day routine via improvisational workouts; Programs for women, educators, and small teams; Fostering confidence, authenticity and diversity in the workplace; Allergies to cats

Margi Simmons

Director of Applied Improvisation

Event Services

Sean first attended the Brave New Workshop when he was just 12 (still doing therapy from that experience). He started taking improv classes in 1998. Sean has spent more than 20 years in radio, much of that time in sales and digital sales management). Sean will work with businesses locally, regionally and nationally on event services, video, venue rentals, emcee services,and more.

CONTACT SEAN FOR:
Venue rentals, client/employee appreciation events, custom entertainment, emcee services, video projects, or any event you want to make exceptional and memorable!

Sean Barnard

Event Sales Ambassador

Erin began working at the BNW more than fifteen years ago and has had multiple roles ranging from group sales to theatre marketing to her present day role as the glue that holds it all together. As the Managing Director, she keeps all lines of business communicating, often driving projects that involve the entire company and reflect BNW’s workplace culture.

Contact Me About: Partnerships/collaborations/special projects; Job openings and personnel questions; Facilities and operations; Coffee and snacks

Erin Farmer

Managing Director

Caleb brings two decades of experience as a performer, writer, and director to The Brave New Workshop’s mainstage. During that time he has also traveled the world as a corporate speaker, trainer, and facilitator (and yes, world-class knife thrower).

CONTACT CALEB ABOUT:
The Brave New Workshop Mainstage Theatre, Master of Ceremonies Services, Live Event Entertainment, Writing Projects, and Video Production

Caleb McEwen

BNW Artistic/Creative Director

Earl officially started with BNW January 1st of 2014 but he was so excited to dive in that he showed up a couple of days before he was supposed to. He brings a background in entrepreneurship and business management with his 18 years of launching and growing, with his wife and partner, the salon concept, Kids’ Hair. He watches over all aspects of the entertainment company and gets strangely excited about reading financial statements.

CONTACT EARL ABOUT:
Any Emcee, Custom Entertainment, or Video Production needs. For help with any customer service issues. For any ideas to help make BNW better.

Earl Mollerud

President, Brave New Workshop Entertainment Company

Mary has a passion for helping clients create unique, creative and memorable events with her knowledge of all the BNW entertainment company products and resources, and will make sure that no detail of your event is overlooked.

CONTACT MARY FOR:
All event logistics; Food and beverage menus; special décor or set-up needs

Mary Ressler

Entertainment and Events Manager