improv for life
INNY Award Nominee Best Improv Training Program
Best in Short Form Improv
Held2Gether was created to expand the philosophy that improv comedy is not only frigging hilarious, but life enhancing. It keeps us present, listening and open to life’s experiences. Held2Gether began teaching intro classes in 2009, and since has expanded to teaching four levels, for all types. Some students at the advanced levels perform with the Held2Gether troupes, based in Long Beach. Held2Gether's approach focuses on channeling creativity from a place of strength and encouragement. Science shows that encouraged people laugh harder.
The Held2Gether Main Company performs every 4th Saturday of the month at Hot Java for Last Laugh Saturdays. The troupes also have frequent gigs at Elise's Tea Room, Long Beach Playhouse, Paradise and the EXPO Art Center. Other classes often get the opportunity to show off their goods at Graduation Shows.
Held2Gether is available for private performances and events, as well as corporate workshops. As a part of its continuing mission to use improv comedy to enhance the lives of the community, Held2Gether equips recovering addicts, at-risk youth and children with autism, among others, with the tools of improv.
INNY Award Nominee Best Improv Coach
Darren has been a comedic writer, performer, and instructor since 1992, when he received a B.F.A. in Acting from New York University. Since then, he has performed in stand-up comedy, off-Broadway plays, TV and film. In 2001 he enlisted at the famous Groundlings Comedy School in Hollywood. He continues to perform improvisational comedy at The Groundlings, Upright Citizen's Brigade and South Coast Repertory, and with his troupe Held2Gether.
Discovering a void of improv opportunities in his beloved home of Long Beach, Darren began teaching improv workshops through the city's Parks and Recreation Department. He was so inspired to see people from all backgrounds benefitting from the life skills learned through improv comedy, he developed Held2Gether to expand that joy to teaching workshops at schools, enhancement retreats, corporations, and as a private coach.
INNY Award Nominee Best Improv Blog Series
Sonnjea has been with Held2gether since its inception, as a student, marketing director, performer and instructor. Besides Held2gether, her improv training includes Groundlings, Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade. She performs regularly as a founding member of the Held2gether Main Company and makes guest appearances with other troupes, including The 3 Square Players, the H2G Friday Company and Corporate Recess. She has also written for and performed with the sketch comedy troupe 3 Square: the series.
Experiencing firsthand the incredible benefits improv comedy brings to real life, Sonnjea has devoted herself to sharing “improv for life” with as many people as possible. In addition to teaching H2G Intro to Improv Comedy classes, she writes the Held2gether blog, offering improv tips, techniques and observations to educate people about the power of improvisation, as well as to provide encouragement to current students.
From her earliest years, Beth has performed in musical theater, plays, dance productions, and original skits. She discovered a love for improv after taking classes through Held2gether, and sharpened her skills in guest performances with the H2G Friday Company. She also acted in H2G’s production, “Sketchy People,” a performance of original comedy sketches.
When not on stage, Beth is a public school teacher in the Los Angeles area. She has a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Cal State Fullerton. Beth is thrilled to share her talent for teaching and love for improv with youth of all ages.