Julia (she/her) “started her improv journey” with the Notorious University Improv Group (UIG) in September 2010 and began volunteering with Rapid Fire Theatre in 2011, before becoming a part of the ensemble in 2012.
She has travelled all over the place doing improv from Vancouver, Calgary, Whitecourt, Portland and even New York City! Julia is a senior ensemble member in RFT, teaches workshops, and is the co-creator and producer of SPHINXES, a regular show featuring improv by the women and non-binary company members. Aside from improv, Julia loves animals, horror films, science and Star Wars and will talk your ear off about any of those subjects if you give her the opportunity to (you’ve been warned).
TV Shows: Twin Peaks, M*A*S*H, the Mighty Boosh, Jeopardy!
Movies: There Will Be Blood, Magnolia, Zodiac, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, A Clockwork Orange, Funny Games, 12 Years A Slave, The Exorcist, Jurassic Park … UGH TOUGH QUESTION!!!
Comedians: Alex Trebeck and my dad Voytek Grochowski
Video Games: Skyrim, Bioshock, THE SIMS (a classic game of life, love, lust, & LOLs)
Authors: Vladimir Nabokov, Isabel Allende, Haruki Murakami
Music: I’m open to anything, as long as it’s fun. I’m currently really into Jurassic 5, Public Enemy, Die Antwoord, Super Mash Bros, oh and of course my homegurl Katy Perry.
Food: Pizza, Nachos, and Tacos. No meat though.
Places to eat in Edmonton: Padmanadi, Veggie Garden, NextAct, Dadeo’s, Daawat, Duchess Bakery, Sailin’ On Food Truck (if you can catch it, as trucks can be faster than humans)
I believe that it is the single, most practical hobby one can apply directly to their day-to-day life. Improv teaches confidence, self-awareness, decision-making, and makes it a whole lot easier to speak in front of people.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH RAPID FIRE?
Back in 2010, a little bird named Gordie Lucius was sitting at a table in Quad during the University of Alberta’s clubs fair. He told me about a little group called the University Improv Group (UIG). I started meeting with them regularly and heard about RFT. I started going to shows, volunteering, taking workshops, and here I am today!
WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL IMPROV SCENE?
Improv is truly an inherently beautiful art form, but I think in order for a scene to be enjoyable for both the performers and the audience you’ve got to set up the basics right away. If you answer the “who are you”, “where are you”, and “why does it matter that we watch you” in a scene, you have so much more to go on and really play in the scene to find its ending.
WHAT ARE SOME TIPS YOU CAN OFFER AUDIENCE MEMBERS ABOUT GIVING SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVISERS?
It’s probably been either said or heavily implied that we’ve already done the “tits” “poo” “penis” and “gynaecologist” scenes, so we probably won’t take those. Try to give a suggestion that has a lot of potential or detail. Get creative! And there is really no stupid suggestion – blurt any word out that’s on your mind, and you’ll be surprised what your brain has been hiding!
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SHORT FORM VS. LONG FORM AND VICE VERSA?
They are completely different: short form is fun because of the challenge placed upon the performer to make the audience care about a scene you have to complete in 3-5 mins. Long form allows you to stretch out a narrative, develop a great character, and have little inside jokes and nods to earlier parts of the set, so it’s totally different. Short form is like a movie and a long form is like an epic TV show like The Wire: the former is digested and finished as a quick, single unit while the latter can have those transitions and moments to call back to because you have more time to do so.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR IMPROV STYLE?
I’ve been told that I’m a wacky improvisor. I guess I just like having fun onstage with my friends, while telling a cohesive story. Also I am a big, big troll.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT ON STAGE?
One Halloween I dressed as Pazuzu from The Exorcist, and acted exactly like the demon who invaded Regan’s body and played that up to the max. I don’t usually like swearing and being too crass onstage, but the character called for it. So fun.
WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF RFT?
I am a freelance videographer, so I shoot and edit videos. I do work that ranges from weddings, to theatre archive, to promotional videos, to creative work that I submit to festivals. Check out my stuff at www.jcgrochowski.com, if you like!
HOW DOES IMPROV COME IN HANDY IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE?
I believe that it is the single, most practical hobby one can apply directly to their day-to-day life. Improv teaches confidence, self-awareness, decision-making, and makes it a whole lot easier to speak in front of people. You don’t have to be funny or extroverted to join; even one improv class will change your life in such a positive way. Plus, improvisors are all loving, beautiful, weirdos.
DESCRIBE WORKING FOR RAPID FIRE IN A SINGLE SENTENCE:
I get to play games and tell stories with my best friends and make a group of (mostly) strangers laugh and feel things, and I’m extremely proud that I get to do it.