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IMPROV IS FOR EVERYONE!

Held2gether, Improv for Life was created to bring out each individual’s greatest potential through the power of improvisation. We believe the benefits of improv comedy reach far beyond the stage.

However you take your dose of improv – we’ve got it.   Held2gether, is a Long Beach based Comedy School, a nationally recognized Corporate Training program and an INNY Award-Winning comedy troupe. With its’ 3 strong arms, Held2gether has built a foundation that keeps folks laughing and learning in the most powerful way.

DARREN HELD

CEO & Creative Director

The creator of Held2gether, Improv for Life – Darren Held is an instructor, improviser and accomplished trainer.

  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, Darren has performed at the Groundlings, Upright Citizens’ Brigade, Second City, and with his own troupe Held2Gether.   In addition to Improv Comedy, Darren has performed in film, TV, off-Broadway plays, and Stand-Up Comedy. 

Discovering a void of improv opportunities in his beloved home of Long Beach, Darren was inspired bring improv comedy to people from all backgrounds.   He continues to share this passion with aspiring performers, corporations, and as a private coach.

VIET HOANG

Corporate Trainer

Viet has been in training and development for over twelve years and has direct industry experience in entertainment, business services, manufacturing, agriculture, non-profit, and municipal government. Viet is designated as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and has been a member of ASTD since 2007. He is certified as a Career Development Facilitator and holds a certificate in professional coaching and mentoring. Viet has utilized these skills, along with extensive improvisational training, to assist organizations in talent development, brand strategy, and team building.

Viet performs regularly with the Held2gether improv troupe, and has formal training from Groundlings, Second City, and Upright Citizens Brigade.

KENDRA NICHOLSON

Level 1 Improv Instructor

Kendra Nicholson brings her degree in Theatre Arts to Held2Gether as a Level 1 Improv instructor. She received her bachelor’s degree in theatre from Oklahoma State University in 1994.  After being a full-time mom for a few years, she moved to California where she jumped back into performing in plays and independent films.  She began studying improv four years ago, and has performed as a member of Jumpstart and H2G.  She has also made guest appearances with Corporate Recess Players.  She has written for and performed in four H2G sketch shows.


When she’s not teaching, performing, taking classes, or otherwise feeding her improv addiction, she volunteers tutoring homeless children with School on Wheels.

SCOTT SAEGESSER

Troupe Musician /Song Improv Instructor

Singer, dancer, choreographer and all-around musical whiz, Scott lends his talents as our musical director and accompanist. He has over 25 years of experience as a musical theatre professional and can be heard playing at all of Held2gether’s short form shows. He’s currently the lead instructor in Held2gether’s music program — teaching Song Improv and Creating a Improvised Musical.

RICHARD MARTINEZ

Public Relations and Media /Improv Instructor

Richard Martinez has been involved with Held2gether since 2012, and has completed Levels 1-3, Musical Improv, Long Form, and Sketch. He performs regularly as a member of the H2G Improv Troupe, as well as occasionally hosting and directing shows. In addition to Improv, Richard has a rich background in the Theatre Arts. He has appeared in such plays as The Garage Theatre’s production of Stop Kiss (“Peter,”) and Cerritos College’s productions of The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot (“Judas”) and The Grapes Of Wrath (“Jim Casy.”) He co-founded the theatre company New Strand Ensemble, and appeared in their touring production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged. Richard has also directed The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, as well as several of his own one-act plays. Richard helps run Held2gether’s social media sites (including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube) and enjoys coming up with creative ways to bring Improv to the online world.

EMILY FORMENTINI

Marketing & Design

Emily joined the Held2gether family in 2012, taking a level 1 class to explore a lifelong interest in performing and was hooked instantly. She has since expanded her experience to long form, sketch writing, and performance and was lucky enough to become a troupe member in 2013. Outside of improv, Emily is a store display and freelance artist, designing and constructing store interior and window displays as well as her own wood and textile work. She received a degree in Architecture from University of Arizona in 2009 and is thrilled to be able to contribute her design expertise to Held2Gether, bringing together her love for art, design, and comedy. She is so grateful to be a part of this amazing team and is looking forward to all that is to come for Darren and Held2gether.

BETH CUNNINGHAM

Instructor, Teens and Kids

Beth is thrilled to share her love of improv with youth of all ages as Held2gether’s kids and teen instructor. From her earliest years, Beth performed frequently in theater and dance productions. Theater remained a large part of her life throughout high school, performing in such productions as The Crucible and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. During her undergrad at Cal State Fullerton, Beth minored in radio/tv/film to continue her creative outlet. While at Cal State Fullerton, Beth also got her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and has worked as a public school teacher in the Los Angeles area for over five years. An avid lover of improv and sketch comedy, Beth has performed in Held2gether’s improv and sketch comedy shows, and continues her improv training at The Groundlings.

BRIGETTE HECHT

Instructor, Teens and Kids

Brigette has been working with students for over 20 years. In addition to her teaching career, she has also written, produced and directed productions for her school. Brigette also has improv comedy experience and has taken classes with Held2gether and the Groundlings. She has performed in Held2gether’s sketch comedy and short form improv comedy shows.