The South's Premier Comedy Theater and Comedy School

DSI Comedy Theater boasts a local company of 100 active performers in Chapel Hill, NC and a national network of comedians. A dedicated member of its community, DSI supports the greater Triangle region with fundraisers, outreach, and educational opportunities for all ages and abilities. It is the home of DSI Communication, a Corporate Training, Leadership Development and Team Building organization, and the DSI Comedy School, which offers new classes to the public every month, classes in the art of improv, stand-up and sketch comedy.

Zach Ward, Owner, Executive Producer and Artistic Director of DSI, has trained comedy talent featured on television (Jeff Richards —SNL, MadTV), the big screen (Maddy Curley —Disney's Stick it), and students now featured at IO Chicago, The Magnet, UCBT-NY and UCBT-LA, Second City, Boom Chicago (Amsterdam), and ComedySportz® across the World Comedy League. Zach served as Managing Director of ImprovBoston in Cambridge, MA from June 2011- November 2013.

Ashley Melzer, Associate Artistic Director, is a freelance writer, photographer, and filmmaker living in Carrboro, NC. Born in North Florida, she received her Bachelors in Cinematic Arts from the University of Southern California and then a Masters in Folklore from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her work has been featured in Indy Week, Paste Magazine, eMusic, and The Carrboro Citizen.

Paula Pazderka, Comedy School Manager, has been involved in comedy for over a decade, studying in Chicago at ImprovOlympic before moving to Carrboro, where she immediately found a home with DSI. Paula has an MFA in Creative Writing from the Art Institute of Chicago, is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and has a Masters Certificate in Project Management from the George Washington School of Business. Paula has conducted interactive improv workshops for professional growth for years; most recently she has worked with Motorola, Duke University, Durham County Health Department, the Chapel Hill Carrboro Chamber, SUN (Southern University Newspapers) Conference and Leadership Triangle.

Vinny Valdivia, Associate Producer, has been studying and performing short form and long form improvisation since 2008. He is currently on a million teams and loves playing with everyone. Besides performing, Vinny coaches and teaches at DSI. Take one of his classes, say Hi! He likes people.

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