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About us

We design fun, age-appropriate programs to develop and support creativity, teamwork and communication through the art of acting and improv.


These skills build confidence, strengthen public speaking, and foster a strong sense of the world around you by empowering you with life-long tools you can use every day. 


Whether students are ready to take the first step onto the stage or looking to take their robust performing experience to the next level, our programs have something for everyone!


MARY WARD, Founder/Director/Lead Instructor Mary is an accomplished actress whose career has included leading roles in TV, film, and Theatre. Mary received the Golden FIPA award for Best Actress in SURVIVING DESIRE, directed by Hal Hartley, and was the Independent Spirit Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress in HANGIN' WITH THE HOMEBOYS, directed by Joseph Vasquez. Her TV and film credits can be found on IMDB. Her stage credits include Broadway, Off Broadway, and Regional Theatre.

She received her training from The London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art. She also studied with Wynn Handman of The American Place Theatre NY, The Groundlings, and with Leslie Kahn in Los Angeles. Mary has run acting and improv classes and camps for children, youth, and adults since 2002. She is a member of Actor’s Equity and Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA.

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WINNIE LEWIS, Summer Music Director  With a passion for music and a flair for the dramatic, Winnie adds a unique dimension to our team. Winnie holds a Bachelor's degree in Music and has a wealth of experience in both music instruction and performance. She taught pre-school music classes in numerous schools throughout NYC. With a knack for fostering creativity in young minds, she brings a vibrant energy to our summer camp programs. What makes Winnie's connection to our camp truly special is her history with us. She was once a camper herself, transitioning into a counselor role before stepping into the spotlight as the Music Director. Her journey from camper to director is a testament to her unwavering commitment to our mission. When she's not orchestrating musical magic at camp, Winnie calls Brooklyn home, where she enjoys making her own music and co-hosting vibrant music events with talented local artists.

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HARRY PRICHETT, Guest Artist Instructor Harry was a member of both the touring and main-stage companies of Chicago City Limits, one of NYC longest running improv-comedy shows. He was a co-founder of Radio Active Theatre, an interactive, improvisational comedy show that could be heard on radio, and seen live onstage. He has performed, and studied with: The Manhattan Punchline Theatre, Chicago City Limits, The Magnet Theatre, The Groundlings, First Amendment, The Pit, Aretha Sills and UCB, all in NYC. He has taught improvisation to both children, adults, and corporate executives. Check out some of his work at

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EMILY HOUPT, Instructor A graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse, Emily studied with Sanford Meisner and William Esper. She taught for over ten years at The Jr. School in New York City. Emily currently resides and teaches in Hudson Valley schools through Arts in Education programs. Most recently she attended a residency, Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance, at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Emily is a proud alumni of Interlochen Arts Academy and a Cherub from Northwestern University. 

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SYLVIE PIKE, Class/Camp Assistant Sylvie has been a student here at Mary Ward Acting/Improv since the sixth grade and is now in Mary's advanced improv class for high school students. She is currently a junior at Red Hook High School. Sylvie loves assisting in Mary's younger kids’ classes and summer camps. She has performed in numerous plays throughout the area for several years, some of which include Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, As You Like It, and The Winter’s Tale. Last year, as a sophomore at Red Hook High School, Sylvie played the lead role in Agatha Christy's The Mousetrap.

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