Improvaganza

Improvaganza is Edmonton’s international improv and sketch comedy festival! From June 14-24 we present the 17th annual edition of this raucous and spontaneous comedy party!
 
Just in time for Canada’s sesquicentennial, Improvaganza 2017 celebrates Canadian artists and features many international acts with their roots right here in Edmonton.
 
The festival takes place at the Citadel Theatre in the heart of downtown Edmonton. Tickets start at just $15, or you can purchase a festival pass  that gets you in to as many shows as you can physically see for $175.
 
Info on all the festival acts and when they showcase is below. Or, you can view all the shows chronologically, here.
 
 

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Benjamins – Vancouver

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Just like a good brunch, Benjamins shows have a mix of all the best things. Designed to delight and entertain with their irreverent take on life, a Benjamins show is high energy, clever, and wild. Their sets are equal parts story and game, and all parts fun. Benjamins are not at all what you expect, and everything you want. Benjamins is Ember Konopaki, Kelli Ogmundson, Nicole Passmore, and Rachel Smith.

Friday, June 16 – 10:00 PM

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Broke Gravy – Portland Oregon

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When you see Broke Gravy perform, expect to see 100 combined years of dynamic energy. Each player originated from a distinct part of the US (Florida, Minnesota, Michigan), with their individual journeys around the world landing them upon the streets of Portland, OR.

They pride themselves on small details and big ideas—be they from their own upbringings or the unique experiences their audiences bring to each show.

These Broke Gravy boys are grateful you have chosen to join them for an evening of the unexpected. We hope you are grateful for the show that we are going to create together.

 

Saturday, June 17 – 10:00 PM

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CBC Radio’s The Irrelevant Show

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Now in its seventh season on the national airwaves, the Irrelevant Show has consistently been one of CBC Radio’s most popular comedy shows. They’ve won Canadian comedy awards and sold out live tapings in Edmonton and beyond. And they have a strong connection to Ganza – many of their performers and writers are RFT alumnae. So they’re delighted to be back to perform an hour of the best sketches and songs from the more than 1000 they’ve recorded. Cast: Mark Meer, Jana O”Connor, Donovan Workun, Neil Grahn, Kieran Martin Murphy, Jan Randall, Dave Clarke, Peter Brown.

Thursday, June 15 – 7:30 PM

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Folk Lordz – Edmonton

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Braiding together high-octane improv comedy with folk storytelling, Rapid Fire Theatre’s Todd Houseman and Ben Gorodetsky present Folk Lordz!

The Recipe:

Take one part Cree-Blackfoot war story from the Indigenous, oral history.
Add one part Jewish fool’s tale inspired by Yiddish literature.
Stir in one part brand new genre – chosen by the audience at each show!
Bake for 60 minutes in a sweaty venue to create a fast, furious, and folksy improv show like you’ve never seen before!
Folk Lordz have been featured at the Vancouver International Improv Festival, Philladelphia’s DuoFest, Winnipeg’s Gas Station Arts Centre, Toronto’s Combustion Festival, Edmonton’s Thousand Faces Festival of Mythic Art, LitFest, Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton Fringe Festivals, and headlined numerous CHiMPROV shows at Rapid Fire Theatre.

Wednesday, June 21 – 7:30 PM

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H.U.N.K.S. – Winnipeg

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H.U.N.K.S. is a sketch comedy troupe from Winnipeg, Canada. Their distinct brand of finely tuned nonsense makes H.U.N.K.S. shows an engaging and unique experience.

H.U.N.K.S. have performed sold out shows in festivals across North America including Just For Laughs Northwest, San Francisco Sketchfest, Chicago Sketchfest, and Toronto Sketchfest.
At the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, H.U.N.K.S. have received a ***** review from the Winnipeg Free Press for 2 years straight and a  **** review from the CBC.

They also host a weekly podcast and radio show on UMFM 101.5 with past guests Mark Forward, Pat Thornton, Graham Clark, Mark Little and more.

Thursday, June 22 – 7:30 PM

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IGLU Theatre – Ljubljana, Slovenia

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IGLU – Improvisational Theatre of Ljubljana presenting Peter Frankl, Vid Sodnik and Juš Mil?inski. They perform regularly in Ljubljana, all around Slovenia and are active all across Europe and North America. They have won four titles of Slovenian improv champions in Improv League and hold numerous titles for the best improviser in the Slovenian improv scene.

The cast members are regular visitors of numerous international festivals where they’ve been teaching, learning and performing. IGLU Theatre has performed in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Croatia, France, Italy, Belgium, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Poland and different cities in Canada and USA.

We are proud members of Ohana – European Impro Project and ITI – International Theatresports Institute.

Friday, June 23 – 7:30 PM

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Improvaganza International Festival Ensemble

The Improvaganza International Festival Ensemble is a collection of performers from all over the planet, performing together for the first time. This brand-new supergroup will work with two different directors, Kristen Schier from Philly and Christian Capozzoli from NYC to practice and perform new shows for the first (and possibly last) time!

Laura Doorneweerd 

Laura Doorneweerd is an Amsterdam-based improviser and a founding member of The Ferocious Four, ME & MY EX and Ohana, the young European improvisers project.

She teaches improv, theatre and dance to all ages, and she is a soft skills trainer for businesses. Furthermore she creates articles and podcasts about these subjects.

Laura loves biking, traveling, cats, pancakes, making lists, taking leaps, staying up late and sleeping in. Also, her last name is a castle. True story.

                                          

 

Jay Flewelling 

A native of Portland, Oregon, Jay showcases his broad comedic prowess in several different rodeos around Stumptown. Jay is not only a cast member of Curious Comedy Theater but also performs in the accomplished troupe, J Names (SF Sketchfest, Out of Bounds Comedy Festival). Jay has been featured as a storyteller on NPR’s LIVE WIRE! Kevin Allison’s RISK! podcast, The Moth Grand Slams, & Mortified. His most recently produced film won “Best in Humor” at Dan Savage’s HUMP! Film Festival.

 

                                            

Aaron Ranger

Aaron is an Improviser and Actor from Calgary Alberta. He has been working professionally since graduating from Mount Royal university’s theatre programme in 2007. Aaron has performed all across North America and loves finding a new cities best taco joint. He is the Co-Creator of Notorious which performs out of both Calgary and Toronto. Notorious is a half improv show half hip-hop concert. Aaron also performs with Obviously Improv and The Kinkonauts which have done many genre shows such as Tim Burton Musical, Jane Austen, Checkov, Film Noir, and Quentin Tarantino all improvised.

 

                                                 

Sam McLean                                

Sam McLean is a Winnipeg based comedian and improviser known for his energetic physical comedy. Sam has been a member of the Winnipeg based Dungeons and Dragons Improv Show for nearly a decade, and has also been involved with: sketch comedy, animation, video game development, and puppetry. He has performed in festivals across Canada including: Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal. Internationally, he has made people laugh all over the foggy old town of London, England. Whatever the style of performance may be, it is guaranteed that improv is going to play a major role in anything Sam does.

 

 

Todd Houseman   

Todd is a local artist and activist of many talents. He performs and teaches improv with Rapid Fire Theatre, and performs in Folk Lordz, an improvised play which combines Chekhovian tales, Cree creation stories, and a third genre chosen by the audience. Folk Lordz was created by Todd and performing partner Ben Gorodetsky and has toured to Fringe and improv festivals across North America. Todd engages in activism through his art, which is informed in part through his identity as a Cree Mixed-Blood individual, and his desire to explore the intersections and nuances of social justice and decolonization. 

 

                               

Andrea del Campo

This is Andrea’s first time at Improvanza, and she is embarrassingly excited to perform with the wonderful people at Rapid Fire Theatre. Andrea is a Winnipeg-based actor, singer, improviser and producer. She is one sixth of musical improv company, Outside Joke, and has been proudly performing across the country with them for 14 years. When she is not making up words and songs, she is delivering scripted ones in professional theatre, musical theatre, film and television. When she’s not doing THOSE things, she rides her bike, cooks noodle-based dishes and collects salt and pepper shakers.

 

Chris Borger  

Chris Borger is a joke of a man currently residing in Vancouver. He performed regularly with Rapid Fire Theatre from 2011-2016 and has since gone on to perform with improv companies across North America. He is also a member of the sketch comedy group “Marv N Berry”, is a stand-up comedian, and even used to work for the Edmonton Oil Kings as the guy who runs the weird contests on the jumbo-tron in between periods (and subsequently now always carries a t-shirt cannon). Look out, or he’ll get cha.

 

Whittney Millsap  

Whittney Millsap is a full time actor and improviser from Atlanta, Georgia. She has been a company member of Dad’s Garage Theatre since 2010. During that time she has had the pleasure of performing various gigs and acting in DGTV sketches, as well as collaborating with artists such as the Atlanta Opera, Backside of the Tent, and Fly on a Wall. Whittney also teaches improv to high school and college students, corporations, and the general public of Dad’s Garage. In addition to Dad’s, Whittney is a member Automatic Improv, performs improvised operas with the group Improper, and is part of a two person improv team called Diamond Scrapyard. When she isn’t performing improv, Whittney is pursuing her acting career by auditioning for TV, film, and voice over work. This is Whittney’s first time to ‘Ganza, as well as first time to Canada, and she is honored to be one of the International Ensemble members. Whittney looks forward to seeing a new place, making new friends, and creating with lots of artists. Let the adventure begin!

 

Fraz Wiest    

Fraz Wiest is an actor, improviser, story-teller and classically trained air-musician who makes his home in Vancouver, BC. During his Canada-spanning, 20-year improv “career”, Fraz has performed with Ghost Jail Theatre (Toronto), DnD Improv (Winnipeg) and Vancouver TheatreSports League, amongst many others. He is thrilled to be at his third Improvaganza, and to be in the presence of such world-class talent, especially his good friends and biggest inspirations in Rapid Fire Theatre.

 

Tara Koett  

Tara Koett is a senior ensemble member of Rapid Fire Theatre. She joined the company in 2012 and has also trained with the Magnet Theater and the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre in NYC. By day (and most nights and weekends), Tara is a high school theatre teacher and improv coach, and by night(s she isn’t with her students), she plays pretend onstage with her friends, and teaches grown-ups the magic of make-em-ups. She loves potato chips and sincerity in all forms.

 

 

K$M – Toronto

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K$M(pronounced K and M) splices the quick-witted comedic minds of Kirsten Rasmussen & Matt Folliott and delivers a completely improvised show rich in wildly funny characters and relationships. K$M has showcased their work at The Vancouver International Improv Festival, MProv (The Montreal Improv Festival) & in 2015 were nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Improv Troupe. Individually, Kirsten Rasmussen is an alumni of The Second City and in 2015 won a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Female Improviser. TV credits include Schitt’s Creek, Odd Squad and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Matt Folliott was nominated for Now Magazine’s Readers Choice award for Best Male Improviser two years in a row, TV credits include Make it Pop, The Wide World of Wandering Wenda and The Next Step. Both Kirsten and Matt are instructors at Second City and BadDog Theatre and direct numerous comedy groups in Toronto. You can also see them sell you useless junk in a wide variety of TV and web commercials.

Saturday, June 24 – 7:30 PM

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Karaoke Bar

Sing. Drink. Laugh.
Join us as a mixed ensemble of Improvaganza artists turns the audience’s favourite karaoke songs — sung by you — into smash hit improv scenes.

Saturday, June 24 – 10:30 PM

Ladies & Gentlemen – Montreal

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Daniel Carin & Chris Sandiford are Montreal-based comedians/writers/actors who have performed at various sketch festivals including San Francisco, Philadelphia, Toronto, Vancouver, as well as Seattle, where they won the Best Visiting Troupe award and Montreal, where they’ve won both the Best Local Troupe and the Just For Laughs awards. They’ve also performed at MprovFest, LadyFest, Zoofest, and the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, where they performed both sketch and their long-running stand-up show, The Ladies & Gentlemen Comedy Show, which was voted #1 comedy show by newspaper CultMontreal two years in a row.

Sunday, June 18 – 7:30 PM

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Luke N Owen – Edmonton

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Luke N Owen is made up of Rapid Fire Theatre’s own lovable brother duo; Joey and Gordie Lucius! These two siblings spin true stories of their childhood into mischievous and endearing improv escapades.

Friday, June 23 – 8:00 PM

 

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Maestro

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Amy Shostak directs an all-star ensemble of Improvaganza artists and local talent in Maestro: The Hunger Games of Improv! 13 performers enter the ring and are eliminated by audience vote until only one performer remains and is crowned the MAESTRO.

Friday, June 16 – 10:30 PM

 

 

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Marv N Berry – Edmonton

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Marv n’ Berry is an Edmonton-based sketch posse consisting of Mike Robertson, Chris Borger, Quinn Contini, Sam Stralak and Nikki Hulowski. As all members are also players in the Rapid Fire Theatre ensemble, Marv n’ Berry was formed at the annual Bonfire Improv Festival (a celebration of experimental improv formats), and after creating an hour long sketch showcase in a week, have emerged fully formed as a quintet of dedicated sketch performers. Since then, they have produced and performed sold-out shows at the Vancouver Sketch festival, Edmonton’s International Comedy festival, Improvaganza, and a critically-acclaimed full show at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Marv n’ Berry presents: Is Everyone Ignoring Me or Am I Just a Ghost?.
Additionally performing shows in-and-around the Edmonton area, Marv n’ Berry are have been confidently branching out to the rest of Canada and the United States.

Saturday, June 24 – 8:00 PM

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Missed Connections – Calgary

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Missed Connections: a fully improvised comedy based on REAL craigslist ‘missed connections’. Come see what happens when you do make that connection you were looking for.

The cast of Missed Connections are all senior company members at Loose Moose Theatre Company based in Calgary. Having spent many years focused on creating narrative based short form scene work, this cast prides themselves on telling well rounded improvised stories with strong relationships between their characters. They hope to give you some big warm belly laughs throughout their show. Missed Connections is delighted to be a part of Improvaganza and thrilled to make some new international friends 🙂

Saturday, June 17 – 7:30 PM

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Odd Wednesday

Odd Wednesday is a biweekly sketch comedy showcase at The Sewing Machine Factory in Edmonton, Alberta. Produced and hosted by The Débutantes, Odd Wednesday features a variety of both local and touring performers. The show is intended to be a home for all different types of sketch and alternative comedy, including (but not limited to): live sketch, short films, character pieces, performance art, and musical comedy. In the past, Odd Wednesday has hosted everything from escape artistry to live podcast tapings to nude kite flying, and everything in between.

During Improvaganza, we are presenting a very special edition of Odd Wednesday, featuring Improvaganza guests on June 21. Only $5 at the door.

LOCATION: The Sewing Machine Factory (9562 82nd Ave, downstairs from Mill Creek Cafe, entrance at back of building)

START TIME: Doors 9, Show 9:30

Tickets at the Door

One Lions – Calgary

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Stephen Kent and Covy Holland formed One Lions during 2012’s Improvaganza and they’ve been performing and touring ever since. Accompanied by pianist Eric Nyland, One Lions tends toward theatrical longform improv, mining the intricate and absurd fault lines present in all good (or fraught or complicated or strange) relationships.

Recently, One Lions won “Best of the Fest” at the 2016 Vancouver International Improv Festival for their show “Waiting for _____________”.

Friday, June 23 – 10:00 PM

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Reckless Theatre: Dark Sneak Love Action – New York

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Dark Sneak Love Action hails from the Reckless Theatre in New York City. We run riot with our hearts, out of our heads to create live theatre that hopes and dares to stun and astonish. We are actors, comedians, writers and artists. We roister and revel ensemble. Gazetted and ridiculous. We improvise with craft and care and sting and bite. We are wild. We are rowdy. We are reckless.

Thursday, June 22 – 10:00 PM

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RÅ Power – Edmonton/Vancouver

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Rougher. Tougher. Brutally spontaneous. In Rå Power, Joleen Ballendine and Amy Shostak, two of Rapid Fire Theatre’s senior performers, are focused on chasing joy and doing things that scare them. They will explore an every day action through scenes, songs, and whatever other ways they feel like.

Friday, June 16 – 8:00 PM

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Speechless – Bogota, Colombia & Winnipeg

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Speechless is a theatrical project created by Colombia’s Felipe Ortiz and Daniel Orrantia with Canadian DJ Mama Cutsworth. The magic of this long-form improvised show comes from one key element: no words are used. Elements inspired by Buster Keaton’s physicality or the magical realism of Gabriel García Márquez are wrapped inside rich musical soundscapes. Based on physical theatre, clown techniques, and film scores, Speechless lives at the intersection of familiar and surreal. Since its debut in 2013 in Germany, Speechless has toured to Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, the United Arab Emirates and all over Europe.

Tuesday, June 20 – 7:30 PM

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Success 5000 – Edmonton

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Success 5000 is an Edmonton-based duo specializing in musical comedy. They have toured the country, released two albums, performed on CBC’s The Irrelevant Show, and been featured in comedy festivals such as Vancouver Sketchfest, Philly Sketchfest, Toronto Sketchfest, and Sled Island. Self-described as “musical comedy that doesn’t suck,” Success 5000’s guitar-driven comedy anthems blend absurd humour with biting cynicism, managing to be equal parts soulful and ridiculous. Reviews have noted that their songs are “layered with fun, seriousness, self deprecation, love, thoughtfulness and a fine, refreshing touch of nihilism.”

Sunday, June 18 – 7:30 PM

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The Ferocious Four – Amsterdam

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Imagine a combination of Ghostbusters, the Fantastic Four and Jason Bourne in a fierce theatre show called…

THE FEROCIOUS FOUR; an improvised tale of action, power and heroines.

A talented cast of performers will give you a bad-ass improv show, in which the story is told of a group of 4 heroines collaborating to battle evil.

If you like cool characters and exciting action, you will love seeing these performers jump, move, chase, defuse, fight and basically… Kick ass.

Featuring an improvised sound design by Jesse Lynn Anderson, as seen in Jamie Northan and Andrew Phung’s KILL HARD.

Friday, June 23 – 10:30 PM

 

 

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The Improvised Vinyl Cafe

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Cozy up with your nearest and dearest for an hour of heartwarming Canadiana. The Improvised Vinyl Cafe is an homage to the late, great Stuart McLean. RFT’s own Tim Mikula pays tribute to the Canadian treasure with local stories, musical guests, and of course an improvised tale of Dave, Morley, Stephanie and Sam.

This show is only one act. It may not be big, but it’s small.

Saturday, June 17 – 10:30 PM

 

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The Sunday Service – Vancouver

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Their high energy and commitment to comedy carries the audience through a kaleidoscopic trip; watching scenes barrel into tangents and stories smash together to create a piece that holds the collective spirit to its highest regard, the group dips in and out of meta-comedy, rock opera, word play and even slapstick shtick.

Friday, June 16 – 7:30 PM

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Your Moms – Vancouver

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Your Moms bring their pleated jeans and unfiltered comedy to the stage as they charm their way through a high energy show that places them in the most unlikely or likely places such as a Gym or a Night Club. From Vancouver, these four eccentric ladies give birth to some of the most unique and hilarious scenes all while showcasing their individual voices and dynamic female interrelations, spinning off into scenes that’ll make even your slightly racist grandmother blush.
Your moms are Annalise Stuart, Ese Atawo, Kerri Donaldson and Kimberley Yip. They’ve performed at this past year’s Vancouver International Improv Festival (voted “Best Local Group”), the Seattle Festival of Improv Theater, as well as Portland’s Siren Theater.

Saturday, June 17 – 8:00 PM

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