5F414C26 CA50 495C BD73 16EFCAA5EA65

Vancouver Improv Festival 2023

Tonight I was attending the opening night of the 25th Vancouver Improv Festival. This is one of North America’s longest running improv festivals. Since 1999 the festival has “aimed to celebrate spontaneity and collaboration through the art form of improvisation, and in the process have showcased 1350 international and local performers for thousands of Vancouver theatre and comedy fans.” (As taken from the press release).

Out of all the shows available during their week long stint, my favourite is this, the one on opening night at Commercial Drive’s The Cultch theatre. I like the fact that this “Opening Night Gala” has a little bit of everything and is essentially a sampling of a handful of the amazing acts and performers ticket holders can expect at the festival this year.

The festival runs October 10th to the 15th with shows at both The Cultch in East Vancouver and the Tightrope Theatre on Main Street.

This year the line up includes The Great Canadian Baking Show’s Ann Pornel, who is also known for her appearances on The Baroness Von Sketch Show and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. She is a Canadian Comedy Award winner, a winner of the 2017 Entertainer of the Year award from My Entertainment World, and a Canadian Screen Award nominee for Best Host. 

The festival lineup also includes Edmonton’s Gordie Lucius, the host of CBC Gem’s Frick I Love Nature. And a handful of well establish troupes like Toronto’s Hinprov, Canada’s first bilingual Bollywood-inspired improv ensemble. And Branded Silk, a troupe from New York City.

The festival includes a number of in-person workshops, all taught by veteran improvisers who are performing at the festival. Classes are geared towards improvisers of all levels of experience.

The week long event also features a 50/50 raffle with a guaranteed pot of $1000, inviting patrons to purchase tickets to support the festival.
For festival tickets, show schedules and more workshop information, please visit www.vancouverimprovfest.com.

If you missed opening night, here is a list of some of the other shows you can still get tickets to. 

No Sex and The City from Portland, Oregon. Roland Mechanik and Mariah Munoz invite you to laugh as they use their lacklustre love lives as comedic fuel to ignite the stage.

Performance: Sat Oct 14, 10 pm at the Culture Lab 

Queerprov has been Vancouver’s premiere queer improv comedy troupe since 2006. Their shows are playful, personal and slightly saucy, bringing diversity to centre stage. 

Performance: Sat Oct 14, 8 pm at The Culture Lab 

Wadsworth Constant is an improvised, absurdist one-act play by Portland’s Kristen Schier and Philadelphia’s Nick Gillette. Drawing from the theatrical traditions of Albee, Ionesco, and Beckett, these two veteran improvisors launch themselves into a newly generated world of absurdity and existentialist themes.

Performances: Thu Oct 12, 9:45 PM at Historic Theatre and Fri Oct 13, 7:30 PM at Historic Theatre 

Spontaneous Shakespeare Company out of Vancouver improvises a full Shakespearean tragedy. Using an audience suggestion, the troupe turns even the most calamitous situation into comedy gold. This format recently played a sell-out run at Vancouver’s Tightrope Impro Theatre before becoming a smash hit on the 2023 Fringe circuit. It was also awarded “Best National Show” at the Saskatoon Fringe.

Performance: Sat Oct 14, 9:45 PM at Historic Theatre

. Duo Pop Up Show pairs improvisers from the festival who have never worked together before. Hosted by Ese Atawo, the audience is treated to fresh combinations of comedy magic. And in an added artistic twist, the scenes inspire an illustrator to create drawings before the audiences’ eyes, and those drawings then inspire the next scenes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top