Tad Hargrave

Tad started with RFT in 1992 where he features regularly at
Theatresports and where he stars in Doctor Whom and Cliffhanger. He
has been a founding member of 3 comedy troupes (including Gordon’s Big
Bald Head).

His love of building community has seen him co-found of
www.thelocalgood.ca (one of Edmonton’s leading hubs for green and
local living resources), found www.IndigoDrinks.ca,
www.socialyogiyeg.com and www.streetcarshows.com. He’s also a hardcore
Doctor Who fan and speaks Scottish Gaelic.

His bills get paid through his coaching and training business –
www.marketingforhippies.com where he’s a hippy who developed a knack
for marketing (and then learned how to be a hippy again).

FAVOURITES

TV show: Doctor Who. I’m a huge Doctor Who nerd. I’ve based the timing of my last two trips to England around Doctor Who conventions.
Film(s): Children of Men, Away We Go, The Princess Bride, Much Ado About Nothing (the Kenneth Branagh version)
Books: A Language Older Than Words by Derrick Jensen
Website: Huffington Post
Restaurant(s) in Edmonton: Noorish, Three Boars and Phobulous
Music: Bon Iver

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A MEMBER OF RFT?

Twenty years. I was in Grade 10 at Victoria School of the Arts and a comedy troupe called Three Dead Trolls in a Baggy was in town doing a show at Teen Fest at the Citadel Theatre. The show was called Three Fried Teens in a Baggy. It was a sketch show that was going to be written through improv and I auditioned for it with Mark Meer.  We got in and we started learning a lot about improv, and Wes Borg and Cathleen Rootsaert brought us to Theatresports to perform. Usually you have to go through the whole rookie thing, but we skipped it and went right into the first half and then second half within six months.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE PLAYING FOR RFT?

It’s like going to your best buddy’s house to play games and everybody is showing up and paying to watch. Rapid Fire is an amazingly strong company. We’ve been lucky that every artistic director we’ve had has brought something new to the company.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT RFT?

It keeps itself so fresh. I’ve seen a lot of other improv companies that have got weighed down in dogma or stuck in an outdated way of looking at improv. But because the folks at Rapid Fire tour so much to other cities and bring so many other people in, I feel it keeps the improv fresh and new. A lot of other cities’ improv scenes are like land-locked towns, whereas RFT is a port city. I love it.

HOW HAVE YOU SEEN RFT EVOLVE OVER THE YEARS?

When I came to RFT Patti Stiles was the artistic director and she took a very Keith Johnstone approach to Theatresports, because I think that’s what was out here at the time. It was super fun to go into because all about saying, “Yes,” and being very positive. I feel like over the years RFT has evolved. We started doing CHiMPROV, and began developing the troupes. At first CHiMPROV was just a big jam show where we would do a big Harold and so many games and forms came out of that time. I feel like CHiMPROV has gotten tighter as a show over the years, the marketing has also gotten tighter. Every time we do IMPROVAGANZA things go smoother. In other ways RFT has become more flexible and loose because there are so many voices with great ideas contributing.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE FLAVOUR YOU BRING TO RFT?

I’m a very commenty improviser. I like to do Meta improv, where I’ll stop and talk about the scene within the scene. Generally I’m a better supporter in scenes rather than a driver of scenes. I like finding gaps and stepping in to fill them.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT ON STAGE?

I was on stage with Jacob Bannigan and we were doing a scene about countries and he asked me, “What kind of trees?” And I was like, “Count… Why!” It was memorable.

One of my favourite memories was right before the first IMPROVAGANZA started. It was myself, Ron Pederson, Josh Dean, Jocelyn Ahlf, Mark Meer and Belinda Cornish were all backstage and about to go on and I remember Ron started running around yelling, “We’re a troupe everybody! We’re an honest to god troupe!” I felt so proud.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A DAY JOB?

I have a business called Marketing for Hippies, and I work with green, local, holistic businesses and figure out ways to get more of the clients they’re looking for without doing things that feel gross or cost a fortune. When I was young I worked a few sales jobs and learned really pushy, aggressive and gross way of selling. But I saw my friends were struggling with marketing so I spent a lot of years unlearning what I had learned and learned more about marketing to help my friends who had all these amazing green and ethical business.

 

HOW DID YOU GET HOOKED ON DOCTOR WHO?

My mom introduced me to Doctor Who as a kid back when Tom Baker played the Doctor. I became an instant fan. Joined the fan club. I liked it for the same reason I loved MacGyver so much. This amazing guy was so cool under pressure and solved his problems (usually) without violence or guns. He was always so ahead of everyone else. And the idea of the Doctor regenerating and thus being able to be played by different actors. Brilliant.