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Meet the Coaches


Meet the Coaches!

Better known as E.B., she is an acclaimed comedic character actor and the co-founder of the Queen City Comedy Festival and founder and director of the Acting Out Studio Improv Program.  E.B. hails from the original Queen City: Cincinnati, which is where she began her journey in performance as a competitive gymnast.  However when the leotards just didn’t fit quite right, she began performing on a stage instead of a four-inch beam.  She began her education at Northern Kentucky University with a BFA in Acting, and performed as a company player of This Side Up Improv Tour Troupe.  She then made her way to Chicago to train and perform at iO! (Improv Olympic), then jetted off to Savannah, GA to finish her education with an MFA in Performing Arts- Acting at the Savannah College of Art and Design (S.C.A.D.) where she was the founding director of Moxie and performed as a veteran member of The Mobb Line.  She’s made her way back up the coast to Charlotte, where she performs with Now are the Foxes and Mom’s Adhesive.  E.B. also takes great pride in being a working actor of the SouthEast.  She can be seen in a few commercials here and there, and this past year she became an internet sensation with 4 new subscribers to her youtube page.  

*She would like to send a very big thank you to Acting Out Studio owner, Kamber Hejlik, for her ongoing support, trust, love and giving us a place to create, explore and laugh together. 

Keli Semelsberger

Keli Semelsberger, Owner/founder of Charlotte Comedy Theater, has been performing improv comedy for over 23 years.  As a Chicago performer/instructor, she has performed on the top improv stages in the nation and was trained by legends in the crafts such as Del Close, Mick Napier, Charna Halpern and Amy Poehler.  

Kevin began his improv education at the beardless age of 14 with the Charlotte Comedy Theater. At age 15, he became a member of the main cast where he performed for many years. Then Kevin went to Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, where he was a member and the president of their improv troupe, Nutz & Boltz. He graduated Marymount with a BFA in Acting and has worked with many great theatre companies since such as The Pearl and The American Globe. Kevin went on to study improv at the famous People’s Improv Theater (The PIT) in NYC. He was a member of The PIT House Team, Barcelona ’92, which also participated in the 2014 Del Close Marathon Improv Festival. He was a member of many other teams such as, Classic Anne, Pyramid Scheme, Katie & Kevin. He's performed with The Baldwins, The Scene, Ali & Friends, & Rothwell & Hodapp. He also co-created and starred in The Two-Night Show with Kevin Shimko & Luke Ward.

Kevin coached numerous improv teams in New York City and was also a teacher in the 10,000 Hours Improv Training program. Kevin now teaches regularly in Charlotte. He is the co-founder and owner of the new Comedy Arts Theater of Charlotte (CATCh) where he teaches classes. He's also coached local teams such as Now Are The Foxes, Improv Charlotte, & 6 Cats In a Bed. Kevin is an acting teacher and taping instructor with Acting Out Studios. Supplied with thirteen years of improv experience, Kevin is ready to teach and coach both new members of the improv community as well as seasoned veterans.

Kevin Shimko

Jen Altizer

Jen Altizer is an actor/improviser/wino originally from Virginia. She started her improv education at the Peoples Improv Theater in NYC and has been performing with several theater companies and improv groups in Charlotte over the last 5+ years.


She is proud to play with and represent Now Are The Foxes, a team that has provided her with a funny family of talented humans dedicated to sharing laughter and their love of improv with Charlotte and the surrounding communities.

PJ Barnes

Born in upstate New York. Raised in Charlotte. PJ has always pursued a life in the arts in acting and writing. PJ first hit the main stage in middle school, and never looked back. Through straight plays, musicals, hip hop dance performances, and more, PJ has found every excuse possible to get his feet on a stage.


When he moved to LA to pursue his dreams in filmmaking, he promised himself to never forget his roots. The stage. While there he embarked on a totally new, humbling venture. Stand-Up. A platform where there was no character or script to hide behind. To have no peers on stage to catch him he floundered. Rawness. PJ quickly fell in love with the "bucket list" art form, and began to learn how to express himself in the way of telling stories on stage.


All of his favorite comedians (Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, etc.) were great story tellers, first. PJ looks forward to continuing his new career in comedy and continuing to entertain people. There's nothing quite like putting a smile on someone's face! 

Vinny Valdivia has been an improv comedian since 2008. Originally from Long Island, Vinny started taking classes at the ComedyWorx Theater shortly after seeing his first improv show. After a couple of years of being a stage performer, his journey continued in 2010 to Chapel Hill where he became a full-time company member and in 2012, Associate Producer at the DSI Comedy Theater. Vinny has been on multiple long-form improvisational teams and toured the country performing in NYC, Atlanta, Charleston, Virginia, and Washington D.C. Since 2011 he has been teaching improv and focuses on teammates being honest with their emotions, using one’s environment and performing in a way that not only surprises the performer but the audience watching as well. 

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