Santa Fe Improv Staff


Kita Mehaffy, Managing Director

Kita Mehaffy has a graduate degree in Public Administration and an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She has produced three award-winning independent short films and has been involved in most aspects of theatre, including as a dramaturg, playwright, script consultant, and dramatic editor for Clockhouse, a national literary journal. Kita has taught creative writing, nursing, meditation, dance, and a few other things that captured her interest!

But right now, what she sees as paramount is the need to be present for each other, to feel safe using our own words creatively, spontaneously, and truthfully. That’s improv. That’s Santa Fe Improv.

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Charles Gamble, Senior instructor

Charles Gamble trained in physical theater at L’Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, at the Roy Hart Institute for Voice in Malérargues, France, and at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts.

In New Mexico, Charles has performed with the Tricklock Company, Fusion Theater, Theater Grottesco, The Santa Fe Opera, Shakespeare Santa Fe, Moving People Dance, Theaterwork, the National Dance Institute, and NO HOLDS BARD, an improvised Shakespeare troupe. Outside of New Mexico, Charles has developed original work and toured with Angel Exit Theater in Dublin, Ireland, and acted with Shakespeare Santa Cruz (CA), the Houston Grand Opera (TX) and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

Charles toured Canada with the Tricklock Company, garnering an award for best original work at the Ottawa Fringe Festival. Screen credits include the noir western Heat LightningIn Plain Sight, and From Dusk Til Dawn. Charles teaches drama at New Mexico School for the Arts and manages the Active Learning Through Opera outreach program for the Santa Fe Opera.

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Gabe Smith, Senior instructor, Artistic advisor

Gabe Smith received his B.A. in theater with an emphasis in directing from UC Santa Barbara and his JD from the University of Wyoming. Gabe started at ComedySportz –High School League when he was 14 and graduated to the ComedySportz performance team.

At UCSB he founded their first improv group, Major League Improv, which he directed and played in, focusing on both short and longform improv. Gabe has also trained at UCB Los Angeles where he completed their program and wrote sketch comedy for UCB Late Night. Gabe is a District Attorney.


Benjamin Bailey-Buhner, Instructor

Benjamin Bailey-Buhner has studied with Ben Taxy since the beginning and firmly believes that the truth is really out there. He studied improv with Durango DOT Comedy and performed with Sketch Pad, also in Durango. He has worked as a contributing writer for The Mountain Gazette and currently runs his own company dealing in rare books.


Kate Chavez, Instructor

Kate Chavez is a New Mexico native with advanced degrees in theatre from Brown University and the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA). 

She has worked in theater throughout the US and Europe with a variety of organizations including MOVEO International Corporeal Mime in Barcelona, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, the Foundry Theatre in New York, Pig Iron Theatre in Philadelphia, and y artes and Expresion Entrenamiento Integral in Madrid, Spain.

Ms. Chavez writes and performs political satire as co-artistic director of Up & Down Theatre Company, based in NM and New York. She is currently on the theatre faculty at New Mexico School for the Arts and has taught master classes at Santa Fe University of Art and Design and the University of New Mexico.


Donna Connolly, Instructor

Donna Connolly has a BA in Media Studies from Hunter College, a JD from American University, and began her improv training with Ben Taxy in 2011. She has studied and performed at the Box in Albuquerque and taken workshops with improv greats Alan Arkin and Dave Razowski. She works as an attorney representing Tribal groups.


Scott Plunket, Instructor

Scott Plunket studied Theatre Arts at Dartmouth College. After arriving in Santa Fe in the mid 90’s he wrote and produced plays with Montessori students and ran creative writing groups. For the last 14 years, he’s worked on film production teams including Longmire, Crazy Heart, Sicario, and Terminator.


Advisory Board

Donna Connolly Scott Plunket

David Del Mauro Peter Sills

Sonya Martinez Pamela Thompson