Dave Morris of Paper Street Theatre Co. joins artistic directors from three other companies in working with a hand-picked ensemble of improvisers who will perform at this year’s Improv Festival, April 9-13.

Change is good: 2019 Improv Festival keeping things fresh

Paper Street Theatre Co. switches format, keeps learning and performance front and centre

Like all good improvisers, the folks at Paper Street Theatre aren’t afraid of switching things up.

Take this year’s fourth edition of the Victoria company’s annual Improv Festival, happening April 9-13 at the Intrepid Theatre Club.

“Every year it’s been completely different – not only the shows, because they’re all improv – but the makeup of the festival,” says Dave Morris, Paper Street artistic director.

Committed to keeping things fresh while maintaining the all-important learning and performance aspects of the festival, Morris says, “it’s a lot more about creating this time and innovating and pushing the art form forward, as opposed to strictly showing different examples of improv to people.”

To accomplish that, the festival is taking a new approach: bringing together artistic directors from four improv companies, including Owen Chan from Calgary, Red Deer’s Jenna Goldade, Domeka Parker from Portland and Morris. One per day will work with a hand-picked ensemble of 12 improvisers, who will perform the material they learn that day in each of the four evening shows (April 10-13, 8 p.m.).

Meanwhile, the four A.D.s – known for the festival as The Four Corners Collective – will work together daily creating material to be performed in the second half of the evening shows.

“It’s really almost like two ensembles,” Morris says.

The festival kicks off April 9 with Local Night, showcasing UVic’s Vikes Improv, First Time Last and Esquimalt High’s improv team. Morris and Missie Peters, another key member of Paper Street, will also perform as the improv poetry duo SpeakEasy, which they’ve toured at festivals around Europe.

“It’s almost like a little science experiment,” Morris says of the opening night. “It’s a way to say ‘hey, welcome to Victoria … It’s also part of growing the art form and growing the audience for it. Part of the craft is about seeing how audiences react, so we have to perform.”

The weekend also offers opportunities for improvisers at any level to learn from the experts, during three three-hour workshops. Chan offers his take on Playing Resistance, the Push and Pull (April 13, 2-5 p.m.), Parker discusses the challenges of Intimacy in Improvisation (April 14, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.) and Goldade discusses using The Building Blocks of Character (April 14, 2-5 p.m.). Cost is $50 and registration is by email to contact@paperstreettheatre.ca.

Morris hopes some newcomers will check out the festival to see what’s happening on a local level.

“Our mandate is to create improv that feels like theatre,” he says. “We’re aiming for a more theatrical experience as opposed to comedy all the time. One thing that is beautiful about improv, it’s constantly rediscovering itself and in fact, the whole art form is about discovery.”

*****

Tickets are on sale now but are limited for the shows, as capacity at Intrepid Theatre is about 50 people. You can purchase tickets online and find more information at paperstreettheatre.ca/festival.html.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbamania, Night Fever in spotlight at McPherson in Victoria

ABBA, Bee Gees songs will fill the Mac Feb. 7, along with Lady Gaga tribute

Vic High alumni named Victoria’s new Youth Poet Laureate

Neko Smart, the founder and coach of the Vic High slam poetry team, will serve a one-year term

Dance Victoria: The Trocks are in town!

Dance Days 2020 performance roster includes two powerhouse presentations

Pacific Opera Victoria exec member earns major honour

Yvette Guigueno to attend prestigious OPERA America leadership program this month in New York

ALLAN REID: Like fresh food? Find it in Cook Street Village

Hawaiian-inspired Poke Fresh offers right raw food combination for Monday reviewer’s liking

Winners announced for inaugural Victoria Arts Council/Monday poetry contest

More than 100 entries received in five categories

Canadian polar bears’ ‘ingenious’ survival seen in BBC Earth series

Film crews also go to Tofino to watch black bears snap up crabs under massive boulders

Spring author’s reading series kicks off early in Sidney

Sidney and Peninsula Literary Society hosting Yasuko Thanh and Carla Funk for Feb. 7 event

The winners of London Drugs’ 2019 Amateur Photographer of the Year contest are…

After more than 26,000 entries, the winners have been selected across Western Canada.

‘How to Train Your Dragon’ filmmaker Dean DeBlois among Canadian Oscar nominees

Multiple Oscar-nominated Canadian talents on Academy Award hopefuls list

Most Read