“The Power of “What if…?” Coaching Questions and an Improv Mindset”
If you’re a coach, trainer or facilitator, this workshop that I’ll be leading on June 14, presented by the Hong Kong International Coaching Community, is for you. Non-members of the HKICC are welcome to attend.
We’ll be exploring how to use “What if?” questions and some improvisational activities with your clients, AND yourself.
Thursday June 14, 7pm-9pm at a venue in Central.
Featuring People’s Liberation Improv and Pajama Party!
Doors open 8.45pm, show starts 9pm
Spectrum, 11c Golden Sun Centre, 59-67 Bonham Strand West, Sheung Wan (a short walk from either the Sheung Wan or the Sai Ying Pun MTR station)
HK$150 cash at the door; BYO drinks
"Unscripted" TEDx Talk
I was a speaker at the TEDx event at Hong Kong Polytechnic University on March 10. The theme was “Unscripted”, and I spoke about improv and my concept of “The Playground of Possibilities”.
“All About Improv, Applied Improv, Creativity, Play, Innovation... Part 4”
Here's Part 4 in my series of blog posts about improv, applied improvisation and related topics, with a lengthy list of lots of useful resources.
Creativity and Improvisation
Here's my blog post about the book "Creativity, Inc." by Ed Catmull of Pixar Animation. It seems to me that much of what he writes about creativity and the
Pixar culture is actually about approaching things with an
Improvisation for Personal Development and Healing
I presented a 90-minute experiential workshop (twice!) at the international conference of the Applied Improvisation Network in Montreal, Canada, September 24-27, 2015. The title of my workshop was “Life is a Playground of Possibilities – Improvising More Resourceful, Joyful Ways of Being”.
The Other Hundred
At this evening of photography, theatre, poetry, music and storytelling, presented by the Global Institute For Tomorrow Foundation, I performed some improvised storytelling (with audience participation).
Tuesday September 15, 2015 at Orange Peel, Central.
I Love Improv
On July 12-13, 2012, I attended the "Thriving in Uncertainty" conference in Melbourne, Australia, about using improv in corporate training. Then on July 16, 2012, I co-taught a one-day workshop about improvisation for acting and directing students at Toi Whakaari, New Zealand's national drama school, in Wellington. My fellow teacher was Andrew McMasters from Seattle, Washington, USA. Here's my blog post about the conference.
"The Campfire" Storytelling ShowI told a true story from my life at "The Campfire" storytelling show on Thursday July 5, 2012, at the TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong. Here's the video (6m 23s).
Chaos is Good!
On May 24, 2012, I participated in some improvised fun at the TEDx MongKok event here in Hong Kong. The theme of the day was Chaos, so here's a video of a short talk by Professor Kay Ottik (i.e., me!) about Chaos.
My Comic Monologue
Check out a YouTube video (2m 55s) of me performing a comic monologue that I wrote myself.
Are you a performer? And do you want to know how to get media coverage for your next show? Listen to my series of FREE audio interviews with three Hong Kong journalists, who share their insiders' tips.
"Thank you so much for the stand-up comedy performance, it was very entertaining and make the dining gathering more merrier."
I Made Benny Artha, organiser of the CouchSurfing gathering in Bali where I performed stand-up comedy (December 29, 2008)
"I must say that even though you didn't have many lines, your bit was probably one of the best. It almost moved me to tears when your son carried you up to your room."
From an audience member at The Full Monty (Hong Kong Singers, November 2007)
"...you have a wonderful presence on stage sure and steady and just there, fully yes"
From an audience member at Emotional Baggage (American Community Theater, May 2006)
"And Kay Ross shone as the Fairy."
From a review by Andrew Lynch of the Hong Kong Players Christmas panto Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, in the South China Morning Post, December 10, 1994
“It was one of the best classes (if not the best) class that I’ve ever
had in university. Truly enjoyed it! (Could we have more classes likes
From a participant in an Applied Improvisation workshop that I taught for students of innovation and entrepreneurship at a university in Hong Kong, April 2014
You are here: Home > Performing
All The World's A Stage...
Do you need an actor, improviser, Applied Improvisation trainer, MC, guest speaker, storyteller or publicist for your play, film, commercial, party, corporate training programme, video, conference, PR event...? Call me!
I'm Kay Ross in Hong Kong, and I LOVE watching, participating in, teaching and marketing the performing arts.
Check out my performing arts CV and my fab photo gallery, then contact me today if you need my services.
A multi-talented performer
As a teenager in Adelaide, Australia, I was a member of a youth theatre group called The Saturday Company for four years; sang in the choir and performed in theatre productions at Adelaide Girls' High School, and sang in the choir and studied Drama (history, theory and performance) for one year at Adelaide University.
Since then, I've done countless workshops in acting, Playback Theatre, improvisation, stand-up comedy, singing, dancing, clowning...
When I was based in Edinburgh, Scotland, from August 1979 to October 1980, I performed in some amateur theatre productions, including one in the 1980 Fringe Festival.
In Hong Kong, I've been involved in lots of shows with the Hong Kong Players, Hong Kong Singers, American Community Theater, Kassia Women's Choir and other groups - I've performed onstage and/or helped with publicity or stage management.
I've also done some professional acting gigs: I was an extra in a local feature film; played Margaret Thatcher in a TV commercial; appeared as Mrs Santa Claus in a Christmas promotion in several shopping-malls; was a story-teller for local kindergarten students; and acted in an online promotional video for a group of Hong Kong hotels.
I also speak French, so I've performed many roles as a cheeky French maid. Ooh la la!
I devised, directed and performed in some improvised stunts as part of the TEDxMongKok event in Hong Kong on May 24, 2012. The theme of the day was Chaos. In the morning, we had a group of actors playing various characters, interacting with the delegates. Then in the afternoon, we presented a fake but very believable TED talk about chaos by "Professor Kay Ottik" (me!). Here's the 6-minute video.
The healing power of laughter
I’m a member of People's Liberation Improv
(PLI), an English-language comedy improvisation troupe founded in 2008 and based in Hong Kong. We perform comedy improv shows - usually once a month - featuring unscripted, improvised-on-the-spot
scenes inspired by suggestions from you, the audience (think “Whose Line is it
Anyway?”). Not suitable for children.
We’ve performed at many venues in Hong Kong, and at improv festivals in Hong Kong, Manila, Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul.
Our next shows: Saturday July 14 and Saturday August 18
Times, venues, ticket prices and booking details to be confirmed.
Contact me if you have any questions.
- Using improv as a training tool
“Applied Improvisation” means taking the principles, skills and mindset of improv offstage, and applying them in life and work. And they absolutely do apply, because life and business don't come with a script!
So I offer tailor-made training workshops for corporate clients, universities and community groups, giving them a fun, hands-on, practical and immediately applicable experience of approaching life and work in an improvisational way. Not your typical training lecture with PowerPoint slides! And don’t panic - it’s not about performing or being funny, and no acting or improv experience is required.
Why hire me to lead a workshop? Because you and your team will build your skills in
leadership, teamwork, communication, public speaking, emotional intelligence, creativity,
innovation, experimentation, intelligent risk-taking, trust, presence,
resilience, resourcefulness, nimble responsiveness to change and the
unexpected... And because of that, you and your organisation will thrive in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.
Around the world, Applied Improvisation trainers/facilitators like me work with clients in such fields as business, education, government, healthcare, coaching, therapy, youthwork, the military and police forces, conflict resolution, disaster preparedness and response, community development…
Curious? Want to know more about hiring me? Contact me
My experience as an Applied Improvisation trainer includes:
- Since June 2011 I’ve given many talks and led or co-led many public and private workshops in Hong Kong; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Wellington, New Zealand.
Clients have included a global insurance company, universities, a global data analytics company, a company that manages serviced apartments around Asia, New Zealand's national drama school, a department of the Hong Kong Government that focuses on innovation, a company that runs musical-theatre summer camps for children, a branding/graphic design firm, a bank, business networking organisations, non-profit organisations... Participants have included teenagers and adults.
“It was one of the best classes (if not the best) class that I’ve ever had in university. Truly enjoyed it! (Could we have more classes likes this?)”
“The idea of “Yes, and...” will definitely help open up more opportunities for me at school, at work and in life.”
“This is just a quick note to thank you personally for all the great work you did on our programme this week as well as your warm and lovely facilitation. We found the activities well focused on the ideas we wanted to highlight, and we found that your debriefing really brought home the relevant issues and your presence and supportive approach was taken very positively by the participants.”
“Kay held a half-day workshop with our entire team, using improv as a way to cultivate greater collaboration and creativity... We were immensely pleased with the outcome, with all participants saying they found the training very useful, with techniques that they will apply in their daily work. While it’s not immediately obvious, improv techniques are very applicable in a business setting and I highly recommend Kay.”
“Your Improv session was very interesting and inspiring, and it really got me thinking about how I should react to the world around me.”
- I gave two presentations at the regional conference of the international
Applied Improvisation Network in Manila, the Philippines, in July 2013.
The sessions were titled “Making the Case for Applied Improv”, about
how companies and organisations around the world are using applied
improvisation, and “How to Sell an Applied Improv Program”, about how to
make a convincing case to potential clients.
- Combining my skills and interest in improv and personal development, I presented a workshop (twice), titled “Life is a Playground of Possibilities: Improvising More Resourceful, Joyful Ways of Being”, at the international conference of the Applied Improvisation Network near Montreal, Canada (September 2015). I've also presented the same workshop, as a public event, in Hong Kong (April 2016 and November 2017) and Darwin, Australia (May 2016).
“The work you do and person that you are exemplifies the thriving life and future I imagine and aspire to.”
“As a facilitator, you are fun, engaging and able to get your point across, without imposing your views. I enjoyed every part of the session and am now putting what I learned into practice.”
- I also organised and promoted a public workshop, “The Wisdom of Play”, led by visiting American improviser and trainer Gary Schwartz in Hong Kong (March 2014).
So what qualifies me to be an Applied Improvisation trainer?
- I've been an actor since I was teenager, I studied Drama for one year at university, I performed stand-up comedy for four years, and I've performed with Hong Kong-based English-language improv troupe People’s Liberation Improv since March 2008.
- I’ve attended regional and global conferences of the Applied Improvisation Network in Melbourne, Australia; Manila, the Philippines; Berlin, Germany; and Montreal, Canada.
- I’m also a Marketing Consultant, Editor and Copywriter, so I understand business.
- I have over 20 years’ experience designing and presenting corporate training workshops about marketing, copywriting, PR, social media and the concept of “Content Marketing” (i.e., using storytelling and emotions in marketing material).
- I’ve also attended many workshops about such topics as personal development, emotional intelligence, bodywork, healing, public speaking, entrepreneurship, marketing, communication, psychology, training, facilitation, coaching and storytelling.
Here are some blog posts I've written about Applied Improvisation:
“Thriving in Uncertainty – The Promise of Improv”, about the applied improvisation conference in Melbourne and my trip to Wellington in July 2012
“How To Succeed In Business: Improvise!”
“34 Reasons To Learn Improv”
“All About Improv, Applied Improv, Creativity, Play, Innovation…”, which includes a link to a no-cost list of resources by many people that I compiled
“All About Improv, Applied Improv, Creativity, Play, Innovation... Part 2” - MORE resources
“All About Improv, Applied Improv, Creativity, Play, Innovation... Part 3” - even MORE resources
“Improvising More Resourceful, Joyful Ways of Being” - about the workshop I presented at the Applied Improvisation Network’s conference in Montreal, September 2015 (written before the event)
“New Choice” – about one of the games we played in the workshop I presented at the Applied Improvisation Network’s conference in Montreal
"Creativity and Improvisation" - about the book "Creativity, Inc." by Ed Catmull of Pixar Animation. It seems to me that much of what he writes about creativity and the Pixar culture is actually about approaching things with an improvisational mindset.
“All About Improv, Applied Improv, Creativity, Play, Innovation... Part 4” - yes, with even MORE resources
So if you’d like me to show you and your team how to approach life and business with an improvisational mindset, contact me.
From February 2007 to July 2011,
I regularly performed my own original stand-up comedy material at the TakeOut
Comedy Club, Hong Kong’s (and Asia’s) only full-time, dedicated comedy
For a taste of my stand-up style, check out this YouTube video of my performance at the late-night show at the Club on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2009 (thanks to cameraman James Foreman).
I’ve also performed stand-up comedy at other venues and events in Hong Kong; New York City; Honolulu, Hawaii; Tucson, Arizona; Wellington, New Zealand; Bali, Indonesia; Pune, India; and Mumbai, India.
And there's more...
All of my performing arts experience helps me to be a more effective marketer, editor, writer, trainer and public speaker, so YOU’’LL get better results. For example:
- I present public training seminars about marketing and media relations that are particularly popular with visual and performing artists and arts organisations.
- I used to be the Listings Editor at the South China Morning Post newspaper - for six years I compiled the daily listings of what was on around town (e.g., performing and visual arts shows, arthouse films, community events etc.). So I know what journalists want and need.
- I’ve written or edited all sorts of marketing communications material about the performing and visual arts.
- I edit the English-language publicity blurb about the shows and events at the Hong Kong Fringe Club, our leading alternative arts venue.
- I’ve done lots of paid or volunteer work on marketing campaigns for performing arts shows and events - I was the professional publicist for the 1986 Adelaide Fringe Festival, and have helped with marketing and front-of-house duties for many shows in Hong Kong.
- Watching and performing in shows helps me to understand human psychology and behaviour (and that helps me with my healing work too).
So if you're looking for someone with my unique combination of talents, please contact me today.
Onstage at the TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong with US comedian
March 3, 2007
With proprietor Wanda Shipp at Sharkey's Comedy Club, Honolulu, after I performed at the open-mic night there
September 20, 2007
Performing in the "Funniest Person in Hong Kong" contest
TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong
October 20, 2007
Onstage at the TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong
February 10, 2007
Performing at a CouchSurfing gathering
December 29, 2008
Performing with Sean Coleman in a comedy improvisation show by People's Liberation Improv at the
TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong
October 15, 2009
Photo by Kenneth Lim
People's Liberation Improv, with Jami Gong, founder/owner of the TakeOut Comedy Club, and his dog Lucky
TakeOut Comedy Club
Performing stand-up comedy at the Open Mic night at the Prithvi Theatre Cafe, Mumbai, India
August 24, 2010
Me in my new PLI t-shirt
March 10, 2011
Me in my PLI t-shirt at the Great Wall
Mutianyu, Beijing, China
April 25, 2011
At PLI's "Life Is An Improvisation Game" talk/workshop
Hong Kong Fringe Club
June 28, 2011
With participants in the one-day improv workshop that I co-taught
Toi Whakaari, New Zealand's national drama school, Wellington
July 16, 2012
Me outside the Fringe Bar after performing stand-up comedy at the open mic night
Wellington, New Zealand
July 16, 2012
Me performing in a People's Liberation Improv show at the
Manila Improv Festival
Manila, The Philippines
June 30, 2013
Me with co-presenter Paul Falconer at the "Improv Your Life" workshop
July 15, 2013
At an applied improvisation workshop at the Entrepreneurship Winter School, The University of Hong Kong,
January 9, 2014
Participating in the
No Pants Subway Ride,
January 12, 2014
Performing the "4 Rooms" game with People's Liberation Improv,
July 11, 2014
Me in action in the Hong Kong International Improv Festival
Me performing in an international jam
at the Manila Improv Festival
July 10, 2015
At the international conference of the Applied Improvisation Network
Blueberry Lake Resort
near Montreal, Canada
September 24-27, 2015
Photo by Alex Tran
Me with the legendary improv teacher Charna Halpern from Chicago, at the Shanghai International Improv Festival
November 8, 2015