A post to honor David Shepherd, who has passed away at 94.
David co-founded The Compass Players with Paul Sills(Viola Spolin’s son) which was the first major professional improv-based theater group in the US. The Compass was Elaine May, Mike Nichols, Alan Arkin, Alan Alda, Jerry Stiller among others.
David Shepherd also seeded Improv Olympics and ImprovOlympic (iO) with Howard Jerome and Charna Halpern as well as developing other improv theatres/forms over 7 decades.
About 10 years ago I called him to ask him how he performed “Living Newspaper” a format he did at the Compass. Our conversation lead to creating an improv format, along with my friend Carman Dewees, called “Life Play,” which are phone-based improv games(especially good when you’re limited in mobility for any reason). It was an inspiring time for us and he’s an example of someone who always wanted to play and create.
Thinking of Nancy, David’s family and friends including Michael Golding who championed David’s work and legacy.
Here is a clip from an appearance at a Tedx where he talks about Improv and mentions Life Play: https://youtu.be/4050-byfsCA
Cheers to David!