If improv is just performers’ experiences and imaginations combining in real time, I believe more diversity onstage will directly result in more interesting shows.
— Marina Mastros, program founder

At Old Town Improv Co., we know that diversity is essential to a thriving community.

We're looking to increase the diversity of our students and performers, provide class opportunities to underrepresented groups, and create an improv culture that prioritizes inclusiveness. To work toward these goals, our program includes a scholarship, special classes and workshops, and unique events.

Inclusion Initiative Scholarship

Interested in either trying improv for the first time or advancing your existing improv training? Are you a student from an underrepresented background? Then apply for our inclusion scholarship! What does “diverse” mean? For us, it means anyone who identifies as one or more of the following:

  • POC (person of color)
  • Female
  • Differently-abled
  • Veteran or retired military
  • Over the age of 60

If you identify in a category not listed here, but think you would contribute to an underrepresented group, apply and tell us so! Previous applicants and current scholarship recipients are both encouraged to reapply.

The application period is currently closed. It will reopen in early September.

Inclusion Initiative Panel


Lauren Manalo, Inclusion Initiative Director

Lauren is currently on Old Town Improv Company's house Harold team, shark., and local independent team Sinister Multicultural Objective. She previously performed with Finest City Improv's house team, Mutiny!, taught improv at Tower Talent Studio West, and was captain of UC San Diego short form team, FOOSH.



Marina Mastros, co-founder, Sidestage Improv

Marina is on MAX, a mainstage Harold Team at iO West in Los Angeles. She is in advanced study at UCB and graduated iO Chicago's summer intensive. Previously, Marina performed with the National Comedy Theatre's mainstage team for eight years, and directed the NCT College Team for five. She also co-founded Sidestage Improv in San Diego, and performs with Count Gumdrop, Treats?, and musical team, Pamplemousse.


Jiavani Linayao, Comedian/Writer/Actress

Jiavani performs in Los Angeles with the all-female POC team, White Phone Voice, her queer team, Rainbow Tight, and Count Gumdrop. She teaches and performs improv all over southern California with LifePlay Productions. Jiavani is also a standup comedian, was a sketch writer for the CBS Diversity Showcase, and performed for five years on the National Comedy Theatre mainstage team.


If you have questions or comments about our Inclusion Initiative program, email us at inclusioninitiative@oldtownimprov.com