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DSI Comedy Theater Announces New Leadership

CARRBORO, NC – DSI Comedy Theater recently announced the departure of founder and Executive Producer Zach Ward to take the helm at ImprovBoston. This week, the comedy theater is pleased to announce its new leadership. DSI welcomes Paula Pazderka as the company’s new Artistic Director and Comedy School Manager and John Reitz as Assistant Artistic Director and Production Manager. Ward will remain Executive Producer, but starting June 13th Pazderka and Reitz assume the day to day responsibilities of running the theater.

Ward found his new leadership within the ranks of DSI. DSI Comedy Theater is located at 200 N. Greensboro St. More information can be found online at www.dsicomedy.com.

“I am exceptionally proud of what my company has been able to do over the last decade in North Carolina,” explains Founder Zach Ward. “With our comedy festival starting in 2001, our first students registering for classes in 2003 and our theater space opening in 2005, DSI knows Hustle. Awarded ‘New Business of the Year’ and the ‘Indy Arts Award’ in 2006, ‘Small Business of the Year’ in 2009 and finalist for ‘Best Place to See Comedy’ in 2011, I have incredibly high expectations. That said, I am confident that both Paula and John will deliver and, with support from DSI company, we should all look forward to the next steps and ideas from our new DSI Comedy Leadership.”

Paula Pazderka, current member of MISTER DIPLOMAT and Faculty for the DSI Comedy School, moved to Carrboro in June of 2007 with her husband. Prior to moving to North Carolina, Pazderka had performed improv and sketch comedy for over a decade in Chicago at The Improv Olympic and The Playground Theater, studying the art of improvisation with Mick Napier, Charna Halpern, Noah Gregoropoulos, Susan Messing, and Joe Bill. Working directly with Zach Ward in her four years at DSI, Paula has established herself as a pivotal part of the comedy community as a performer, teacher, and director. Pazderka also has Professional Project Management Certification is from the Project Management Institute and a Masters Certificate in Project Management from the George Washington School of Business.

John Reitz moved to Chapel Hill in his early teens and literally came up through the ranks of DSI Comedy Theater. He started studying with the company while at Chapel Hill High School and went on to perform and direct sketch and improv comedy with CHiPs (Chapel Hill Players) at UNC-Chapel Hill. He performs with MISTER DIPLOMAT, Harold Team Omaha 9 and is the director of IMPROV SLAM. John has a B.A. from UNC in Dramatic Arts and English and graduated this year with a Master’s in Education.

About North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival and DSI Comedy Theater

For the last 12 years DSI Comedy Theater has produced and presented one of the largest comedy festivals on the East Coast, the annual North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival. Each year, the festival welcomes improv, stand-up and sketch comedians to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area. The festival features workshops and performances from talent that has been seen on the small screen on Saturday Night Live, MTV, Late Show with David Letterman, Comedy Central, and on stages at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and Second City. As the festival grew, DSI found itself a home and in 2005, opened the DSI Comedy Theater, an 84-seat venue in North Carolina, and the company’s new home for shows and the DSI Training Center. The festival and theatre have attracted high level instructors in improvisation and stand-up comedy including: Eddie Brill, Asaf Ronen, Jeff Griggs, Eric Hunicutt, Kevin Patrick Robbins, Anthony King and Jill Bernard. From the DSI Comedy Training Center and Theater in Carrboro, NC to its productions in Chicago, and professional Touring Company, the DSI name has spread around the country, drawing both participants and quality teaching staff to its theater and to the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival year after year.

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