Comedian Shelley Carling Provides Maranatha High School Drama Students with Improv Instruction

Maranatha High School’s Drama 1 class, taught by Performing Arts faculty member Taylor Wesselman, recently benefitted from having a special guest lecturer join their Zoom classes. Comedian Shelley Carling joined Mr. Wesselman to teach the students improv — a form of live theatre in which the plot, characters and dialogue of a game, scene or story are made up in the moment, not in advance. Mr. Wesselman shared, “Shelley has joined us as a guest instructor to teach the kids the building blocks of improv, sketch writing, and stand up. Through virtual Zoom meetings, we have been teaching the students how to create unique characters and how to begin writing their own comedy sketches. Shelley and I team up to teach improv games, story building exercises, and the anatomy of a joke. The students are actively able to join together to create hilarious scenarios and craft stories from scratch. Right now, the students are prepping for their final exam, which involves writing and performing their own stand-up routine for the class.”

A native of Utah, Shelley grew up on stage. She performed in musical theater and taught acting and film classes before moving to New York City to attend The American Musical and Dramatic Academy. After graduation, Shelley spent the next few years performing in regional theaters around the country before eventually going back to school in NYC to study screenwriting at The New School University. She then landed an internship in Los Angeles at Ambush Entertainment (now known as The Film Arcade), where she worked in development, eventually heading to The Groundlings, where she studied and performed improv and sketch for the next five years.

Maranatha’s Drama 1 class has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn from someone as skilled and gifted as Shelley and the school is grateful for her partnership!

Maranatha High School, 169 S. St. John Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 817-4000 or visit





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