Winnipeg if... Improv Festival Returns for its 11th Year!
Five-day Festival Features World-Class Slate of Improvisers!
The 11th Winnipeg If… Improv Festival hits the city November 9 – 14. Presented by the Gas Station Arts Centre, the festival brings to Winnipeg special guests from New York City, Los Angeles, Edmonton, and Toronto for five nights of sensational and improvisational theatre. Tickets for the Winnipeg If… Improv Festival are available through the Gas Station Arts Centre website at www.gasstationtheatre.com or by calling (204) 284‑9477.
This year, the festival features five nights of theatre shows and two days of workshops.
The festival kicks off on Tuesday, November 9th with a free “Festival Sampler” show at The King’s Head Pub. Hosts Stephen Sim and Lee White of CRUMBS will do scenes with out-of-town guests and local players in this Improv Festival tradition. The Festival Sampler show is a part of the ongoing Free Laughs Comedy Series that puts on free live comedy shows at the King’s Head every Tuesday night.
The festival continues on Wednesday night with a Winnipeg Comedy showcase at the Gas Station Arts Centre. A new addition to the Winnipeg Improv Festival, the event promises to showcase the immense local talent of underground and alternative comedy that is emerging out of Winnipeg, in its stand-up and sketch forms.
Thursday night, Winnipeg’s popular Dungeons & Dragons Improv Show takes to the Gas Station stage. This improvised show based on the role playing game D&D, has resulted in two hit shows at the Winnipeg International Fringe Festival. This fully interactive show has giant dice, amazing costumes, hilarity and plenty of fake blood.
Friday’s mainstage show truly exemplifies the collaborative nature of the festival, pairing Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theatre with Winnipeg’s Outside Joke. The second set features the festival ensemble playing Toronto’s Ghost Jail Theatre’s brand of improv, a fusion of improvised writing with improvised performance.
Another staple of the Improv Festival is the Friday Night Late Show. This late-night jam features players from across North America and our own backyard, playing together the way only spontaneous improv masters can. The Friday Night Late Show is always a fast and loose improv mess of beauty.
The festival concludes with the Saturday Night Mainstage Show. Featuring a new long-form creation as performed by the festival ensemble, the show will be made up of hand-picked local performers and special out-of-town guests. The show will also feature another mash-up, this time fusing the international touring company Crumbs with members of New York City’s finest group, 4Track.
This year the festival will also offer workshops conducted by 4Track’s very own George Basil (NYC/LA) and Christian Capozzoli (NYC). The workshops will take place at the Prairie Theatre Exchange and will be suitable for both beginner and advanced improvisers.
The Winnipeg if… Improv Festival was founded in 2000 by Stephen Sim after he had traveled to Vancouver, Edmonton, Seattle and Chicago. On his travels, he took part in a couple of improv festivals and was inspired to bring these fresh ideas back to Winnipeg. A partnership developed between the improv scene and the Gas Station Arts Centre – one that still lives on today.
The focus of the festival has always been to bring new improv ideas from around the world to both Winnipeg improv players and audiences alike. In its decade of existence, the festival is proud to have showcased dozens of local, national, and international improv troupes. The festival also prides itself in developing new improvisational formats – many having their world première right here in Winnipeg. The Winnipeg if… Improv Festival is also a proponent of experimental and innovative improv, having hosted live improv video performances, and even improv animation!
Each year, the Winnipeg If… Improv Festival continues to thrill audiences with new players, new games and exciting new work.