John Forrest Thompson
John Forrest Thompson has a B.S. in Elementary Special Education from SUNY Geneseo and is currently a Title 1 and arts integration drama teacher at Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts. Originally from Chicago, John is an improvisor, actor, director, and writer who trained at the Second City and iO Chicago theaters. At the latter, he was a member of the long running house team Airbourne. John has performed and taught improvisation at theaters and festivals all over the country, including Boston’s Improv Asylum, the Del Close Marathon in New York City, the Toronto Improv Festival, and the Seattle Festival of Improv Theater.
Locally, he is the co-founder and artistic director of the Focus Theater, Rochester’s only dedicated improv venue and training center, as well as the creator of the long-running Improv Plate at Johnny’s Irish Pub. John is also a member of the hit sketch comedy group Thank You Kiss which has been praised as smart and “frequently laugh-out-loud funny with some even funnier ‘heck yes’ social commentary” (Democrat and Chronicle). He has most recently performed as Lieutenant Schrank in RAPA’s West Side Story, William Gillette in Blackfriars Theatre’s The Game’s Afoot, and Deke Slider in Blackfriars Theater’s original comedy The Flight Before Christmas.
In the classroom, John integrates the theories, skills, and activities of improvisational and classic theater to create positive learning environments in which anxiety and fear are replaced with self confidence, creativity, and focus. All students are encouraged to contribute and explore their creative potential in lessons and experiences that are designed to encourage self confidence, collaboration, unselfishness, and fun.
In his free time, John loves traveling, exercising, reading, and rooting for the Chicago Cubs with his wife and two kids.