From Shanghai to Bangkok, Meet The Zmack! Improv Family

Zmack’s mission is to touch everyone we can with improvisational theatre,
and use it to enhance lives

WTF is Zmack!

Curt Mabry, Founder of Zmack Improv Family, has absorbed the art of Improvisation into his DNA. “Life is Improvised” is Curt’s philosophy and Zmack! Improv aims to teach life skills through improvised performance. The journey started with Curt in Shanghai 2009, where he built the pioneering Zmack Improv community. They are now flourishing with five shows per-month including a Chinese Improv team called “ZhiMaKong” (Sesame Addicts). Now Zmack! are here to build a home for Improv in Bangkok.

Zmack! is first and foremost a community – shows are not for profit, the
revenue goes to the team first, and we practice the principle of Chivalry
and Support by asking WIIFT? What’s In It For Them? What does the
Audience get from this? What is the benefit to the Venue partner?

Curt Mabry – Founder of Zmack!

Zmack! Shanghai is run by Lilian Shen, and Bangkok by Whitney Hutchings, with both female improvisers working closely together to develop their communities. Whitney Hutchings (below, with Curt on stage) is American, but speaks fluent Thai and is highly immersed in the Thai culture.

The Shanghai branch now has four shows per-month, and Zmack! Bangkok, still in its infancy, currently does one show per-month. Regular “mixers” are held each month, which allow beginners to get involved and have fun with the Zmack! improvisers. I joined a mixer myself and it was an absolute blast – so much fun!

Zmack! host a mixer at Live Lounge Bkk

A disproportionate number of Improv teachers and professional level Improv actors are white North American or European males. Zmack is committed to Intercultural Improvisation and the diversity that represents humanity.

Curt Mabry – Founder of Zmack Improv Family

Intercultural Improvisation is a form of Improv which can be taught and understood universally – through the language of emotion. This is a form of physical improvisation theatre, which is relationship-based, and allows different cultures to blend easily as they engage in what makes us humans all one and the same, emotions.

Zmack! improvise in English and Thai, and currently have three Thai “Zmackers” in their Bangkok family. This will continue to grow as Zmack’s dedication to fun and play will strike just the right chord with Thai culture, which is synonymous with the concepts of “sanouk”” and “len” (fun and play).

Compared to Shanghai 2009, there’s already a flourishing and thriving arts
community here. The Thai culture and by extension the Bangkok
international culture seems to place more value on art for arts sake.

Curt Mabry – Founder of Zmack! Improv Family

With Intercultural Improvisation, Curt has a style of performing arts which can bring the Eastern and Western Cultures together as one. This is a smart and necessary move, as an American man looks to build a successful brand in Thailand and beyond. If Zmack! can help Improv become a recognised art form in Thailand it would be a monumental achievement.

“ZhiMaKong” (Zmack! Shanghai’s Chinese Improv team) developed new forms and games that could not have been conceived by a Western mind. We are excited to see what this could bean in Thailand – with an ancient unbroken culture which values art, aesthetics, and happiness.

Curt Mabry -Founder of Zmack! Improv Family

Curt brought his brand to Bangkok inspired by the words of his dear, departed mother, who one day asked him: “Why aren’t you living in Thailand?”. From that day a seed was planted, and Curt, with his wife (and Zmack! improviser) Elva, up-rooted their lives in Shanghai to set up a new base in Bangkok.

With a wealth of Improv experience behind him, and as a former Fox Network TV show host, Curt now travels Asia as a corporate trainer. He is a speaker who strongly advocates Improvisation as a vital tool for self-growth in this volatile world we live in.

In my corporate training and coaching, the term VUCA is very popular – today’s world is Volatile, Uncertain, Chaotic, and Ambiguous. Plans don’t work well in that environment. The innovators we admire today take advantage of disruption – seeing the change with opportunity rather than stubbornly fighting against it.

Curt Mabry – Founder of Zmack! Improv Family

Zmack! Bangkok have monthly mixers and shows at Live Lounge Bkk, their home in the heart of Sukhumvit, Bangkok. All beginners are welcome at mixers, and will be welcomed, coached and treat as one of their own.

Zmack! Bangkok are now 14 strong, they are:

Elva Yao (China)

MK Lodick (USA)

Kira Melville (USA)

Skyler Lieber (USA)

Nantwachr ‘Top’ Janbenjanath (Thailand)

Pitchaporn “Frammy” Chang (Thailand)

Olivia Gilmore (USA)

Whitney Hutchings (USA)

Gary Yarbrough (USA)

Isaiah Farrow (USA)

Richard Cook (USA)

Iris Park (USA)

Napasorn ‘Nui’ Saesow (Thailand)

And Curt Mabry (USA)

For more information on Zmack! Here’s how to contact them:


Upcoming show: January 31st – “Hindsight 2020” at Live Lounge Bkk


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