Children don't need to be told how to play, to create, or to be delighted. It doesn't occur to them to justify why a stick becomes a horse to ride on or to judge the quality of that stick as a toy. The power of your imagination started slipping the day you, your parents, your teachers, or other well-meaning adults compared you to others to measure your achievement.

By the time we are adolescents, we abandon the imagined and the ordinary in pursuit of certainty and superlatives. Some of us double down on this shift by taking jobs that equate bigger, better, faster, more with success. For decades, we are continually rewarded for doing things “right”. The monitoring voice inside our heads has value – but it also tells us the hundred reasons to stay safely in the middle of a fairway we fabricate and reminds us the consequences of straying outside our expertise.

As the world and people around us consistently change, and even the rate of change changes, we idolize the predictive power of data to tell us how to make decisions. We juice the data-churning, problem-solving muscles of our analytical minds to make sure we stay safe and get things right. As if it will be the antidote to the ever-fluid nature of life, we seek tiny footholds of safety and assurance by trying to get people or events to stay on whatever script we wrote (and rewrote) for them in our minds.

But they don’t.

How do we respond?

Fear and frustration cloud our vision. We wander nomadically through an unhappy valley unable to see the peaks above the fog on either side. Our senses and awareness become numb. Our over-stimulated minds drift from the present moment into our “head.” Low level anxiety, judging past choices, fretting about the future, and trying to plan for and control outcomes become our day-to-day mindset.

There is another way. Instead of this gravity, we can follow a path to levity. 

There are many paths back – Lightside Collective focuses on blending a healthy dose of laughter, giving ourselves permission to play, and consistently applying an improviser's discipline and mindset.

Welcome to the collective – a tribe of people looking for the light.

Our Founder

Joey Neugart is a recovering lawyer and surviving executive of two Bay Area start-ups that churned through staff in the pursuit of bigger, better, faster, more revenue growth. While battling the mental and physical health consequences of burn-out in the fall of 2011, he stumbled on, and was instantly hooked by the study of theatrical improvisation which he has pursued with Keith Johnstone as well as teachers from BATS Improv, Second City Chicago, Saturday Night Live, and other fine institutions.

Once he started to internalize the wisdom inherent in its guiding principles, Joey began to apply an improviser’s mindset off stage, leading him to more intuitive decision making, including the intentional slowing of the pace of his personal and professional life and relocating his family to Austin – a town that values the power of live performance. Joey is the leader of Lightside Collective, a theatrical improv performer, a super-involved preschool parent, a DIY-enthusiast, and a small-scale real estate investor.

Joey is passionate about sharing the levity-restoring practices of improv with weighed down adults who need a way back to the light.