SPOTLIGHT ON… Tanya Wagner

Tanya Wagner, one of our mainstage performers, is a veteran improviser at Whole World. She began as a student January 2011, and by August 2012, was performing in the Thursday, Student & Ladies Night Shows. Her dedication to improv training and by performing regularly for live audiences has led her to become one of our most beloved Main Stage performers. In addition, Tanya is a positive force among our company members and students.  She never misses a special event or a graduation show.  She is always there to give her full support and encouragement to everyone she comes in contact with. Her genuine charm is what makes her so special on and off the stage.

A mom to two teenage girls (if that’s not a life full of improv, we don’t know what is), Tanya and her husband will celebrate twenty years of wedded bliss this fall. Tanya also has a wealth of marketing skills and works by day for Bosch.

Tanya will be teaching an Improv 101 Class that begins on January 24. In this class, Tanya gives her students a rich introduction to improv… Students learn why improvisers do what they do, and they’ll spend a lot of time learning how to actively listen and focus. She says, “I know it looks like we are goofing around and having fun on stage, and we are! But there’s also an intent focus on what each other is saying. Lots of listening; listening is truly the backbone of each scene.”

“The biggest obstacle in teaching this class is getting students to loosen up, and open up,” she says. “It takes time to build a rapport within the group, but it does happen and it’s a joy to watch that change over time.”

As for her own professional improv work on stage… it comes with challenges and rewards, like everything else. “It’s hard to keep it fresh and keep the work engaging; we all fall into bad habits, sometimes,” says Tanya. “Improv operates as a group thing, and if one of us gets off track, we can all go down. But we work very hard to prevent that. We listen, we focus. And then, a patron will tell me they are mystified by how we do it! And that they appreciate our work. That’s what makes it all gratifying.”

Catch Tanya on the Whole World stage on Friday and Saturday nights… and sign up for her class to improve your listening and focus skills! Who knows, you might be the next Main Stage Company member!