Santa Fe Improv Staff
Ben Taxy, Artistic Director
Ben Taxy is a guy. A person, really. He used to write for the network TV show Family Guy and then got married and now he's here. On a comfy couch in his living room. Here from your POV is really wherever you are, and isn't that a bit self-centered - and yet so human?
He has a psychology degree from Harvard and who cares but he studied improv with Second City’s Jeff Michalski and Jane Morris, Stan Wells of The Empty Stage, Cynthia Szigeti of ACME Theater, and Andy Goldberg, author of Improv Comedy.
Ben has been helping people write books and speeches since 2002. His clients have been featured by Oprah, Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, BBC, FOX, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Variety, and NPR.
After launching Santa Fe Improv in 2009, Ben has been featured by IQ Magazine, Santa Fean Magazine, Santa Fe Reporter, KSFR, KTRC, and The Santa Fe New Mexican. He has taught improv workshops for The Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico School For The Arts, The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, The Little Theater (Los Alamos), The Box Theater (Albuquerque), and Warehouse 21.
Kita Mehaffy, Managing Director
Kita Mehaffy has a graduate degree in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco and an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College.
She has produced feature films and three award-winning independent short films, including The Lark Snare, winner of Best American Short at the Napa Sonoma Wine Country Film Festival. She has acted as dramaturg, playwright, and script consultant, and is currently a dramatic editor for Clockhouse, a national literary journal. In a previous career, Kita was a nurse and nursing instructor, working in the areas of cardiology, patient education and gerontology.
For information about auditions, classes, performances, and space rental, email Kita.
Gabe Smith, Performance Director
Gabe Smith received his B.A. in theater with an emphasis in directing from UC Santa Barbara and his JD from the University of Wyoming. Gabe started at ComedySportz –High School League when he was 14 and graduated to the ComedySportz performance team.
At UCSB he founded their first improv group, Major League Improv, which he directed and played in, focusing on both short and longform improv. Gabe has also trained at UCB Los Angeles where he completed their program and wrote sketch comedy for UCB Late Night. Gabe sues oil companies for a living.
Benjamin Bailey-Buhner, Instructor
Benjamin Bailey-Buhner has studied with Ben Taxy since the beginning and firmly believes that the truth is really out there. He studied improv with Durango DOT Comedy and performed with Sketch Pad, also in Durango. He has worked as a contributing writer for The Mountain Gazette and currently runs his own company dealing in rare books.
Kate Chavez, Instructor
Kate Chavez is a New Mexico native with advanced degrees in theatre from Brown University and the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA).
She has worked in theater throughout the US and Europe with a variety of organizations including MOVEO International Corporeal Mime in Barcelona, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, the Foundry Theatre in New York, Pig Iron Theatre in Philadelphia, and y artes and Expresion Entrenamiento Integral in Madrid, Spain.
Ms. Chavez writes and performs political satire as co-artistic director of Up & Down Theatre Company, based in NM and New York. She is currently on the theatre faculty at New Mexico School for the Arts and has taught master classes at Santa Fe University of Art and Design and the University of New Mexico.
Donna Connolly, Instructor
Donna Connolly has a BA in Media Studies from Hunter College, a JD from American University, and began her improv training with Ben Taxy in 2011. She has studied and performed at the Box in Albuquerque and taken workshops with improv greats Alan Arkin and Dave Razowski.
Charles Gamble, Instructor
Charles Gamble trained in physical theater at L’Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, at the Roy Hart Institute for Voice in Malérargues, France, and at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts.
In New Mexico, Charles has performed with the Tricklock Company, Fusion Theater, Theater Grottesco, The Santa Fe Opera, Shakespeare Santa Fe, Moving People Dance, Theaterwork, the National Dance Institute, and NO HOLDS BARD, an improvised Shakespeare troupe. Outside of New Mexico, Charles has developed original work and toured with Angel Exit Theater in Dublin, Ireland, and acted with Shakespeare Santa Cruz (CA), the Houston Grand Opera (TX) and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.
Charles toured Canada with the Tricklock Company, garnering an award for best original work at the Ottawa Fringe Festival. Screen credits include the noir western Heat Lightning, In Plain Sight, and From Dusk Til Dawn. Charles teaches drama at New Mexico School for the Arts and manages the Active Learning Through Opera outreach program for the Santa Fe Opera.
Robin Holloway, Instructor
Robin Holloway has theater degrees from the Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC and London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA), and music degrees from Chicago College of Performing Arts and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
He has performed in the US, Germany, and throughout Europe including singing with one of Britain’s premier choral-jazz ensembles, The London Vocal Project, performing the musical theater piece Cosmic Jazz Cabaret (for which he composed the music and lyrics) at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and acting in multiple episodes of the TV show Better Call Saul.
As co-artistic director of Up & Down Theatre Company, Holloway has created online video sketches including the satirical music video "Make America Great Again" which garnered over 20 million views in 2016. He teaches at New Mexico School for the Arts.
Scott Plunket, Instructor
Scott Plunket studied Theatre Arts at Dartmouth College. After arriving in Santa Fe in the mid 90’s he wrote and produced plays with Montessori students and ran creative writing groups. For the last 14 years, he’s worked on film production teams including Longmire, Crazy Heart, Sicario, and Terminator.
Stephanie Taxy, Producer
Stephanie Taxy teaches screenwriting to film and television writers. Previously Stephanie was the Director of Creative Affairs for MGM where she heard over 3000 pitches and supervised the acquisition, development and production of feature films.
Stephanie left MGM to create her own company to help people learn to pitch, and also wrote the book Good in a Room which was published by Random House. She has been featured on The Today Show on NBC, The Early Show on CBS, KTLA, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio and in Inc, Atlantic, Variety and Script magazines.
She has produced many projects with Ben including websites, books, events, speeches, and even a son. She received a BFA in Theater Directing from Carnegie Mellon University.