Ensemble BRAVO

The International Ensembles are an opportunity for our festival to host the worlds top improvisational talent. Bravo Ensemble is stacked with great performers from all over the world and will be directed by Kaisa Kokko and John Gebretatose.

 

Michelle Hart

Michelle Hart is an improviser and writer hailing from Riverview, New Brunswick. She is a graduate of Mount Allison University’s theatre program, the Second City Conservatory, and the Bad Dog Theatres Featured Players. She has trained, taught, and performed across North America and South East Asia. Her deepest roots come from the Canadian Improv Games, where she currently serves as the head referee, and workshop coordinator at the National Festival. Michelle holds collaboration and community above all else in performances. It’s not only about creating something interesting to watch on stage, but it’s being excited to collaborate offstage.

Kerri Donaldson

I’ve been performing and studying improv for 5 years, with Instant Theater and through various shows in the city including two monthly’s (Nasty Women, Brunch). I’ve been to a few festivals (humble brag alert) mainly, Austin, Seattle, NYC, Portland, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton but my fave is always VIIF.

Andy Assaf

Hailing from Montreal, Andy Assaf has been performing and producing comedy shows for a little over two years, mainly with his comedy troupe Goddamn Bear. Producing and starring in numerous shows including the award-winning, sell out 2017 Fringe hit Precinct: an Improvised Cop Story, as well as Films in Focus: an Improvised movie review show. Together with Goddamn Bear, he has toured NYC’s Del close Marathon, Bad Dog’s Blockbuster week in Toronto and VIIF 2017. Andy also writes, performs and co produces local regular sketch show Party Dinosaur which will be headlining this year’s Montreal Sketchfest. Andy also recently created the new video sketch show/short film festival “Video Island”, where he helps teams of local comedians produce/shoot and edit short comedy films in only 2 weeks! Finally, he can also be heard on his monthly podcast the Frank Mythic Hour where he and co-star Dimitri Kyres invite comedians to improvise a whole movie on the spot!

Martin Gustafsson

Martin Gustafsson is a professional improviser and teacher, for Gbgimpro in Sweden (Gothenburgs impro theater). He also was a director for the group Primalimpro that also is based in Gothenburg.

Domeka Parker

Domeka Parker is a captivating performer and exceptional teacher of improvisational theater. She teaches, directs and performs around the globe. With a specialized and radically different approach to improvisational theater Domeka breathes new life into the work and empowers the performers she trains and directs. Domeka has 31 years of performance experience, 13 years of teaching experience and a voracious appetite for continuing education and growth.

Ronald Dario

Ronald Dario is a sketch comedian and improviser from Vancouver, BC. He is a faculty member at Blind Tiger Comedy and an alumnus of some of its sketch and improv house teams. Ronald occasionally directs sketch comedy videos for local comedy groups like Brunch and Carmelahhh. He is also a cast member at Instant Theatre.

Jackie Twomey

Jackie Twomey is one half of TwoSon, a sketch and improv duo. She has performed at festivals in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Portland, Chicago, Detroit, New York, D.C., and Seattle. Last year, Jackie was an instructor at Improvcamp, a member of the International Ensemble at the Vancouver International Improv Festival, and assistant directed the most recent remount of Toronto, I Love You at Bad Dog Theatre. She performs with Pantsuit, the Bad Dog Studio Series alumni group, and with Jibber Jabbar, a house team with The Assembly. Jackie is also in the 2018 Emerging Creators’ Unit at Bad Dog Theatre.

Nick Gillette

Nick Gillette is a physical theatre artist, a co-founder of Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, and for the past ten years an instructor and performer at the Philly Improv Theater. He is a graduate of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training, a 2014 New York Live Arts Fresh Tracks resident artist, a 2016 Colgate University Christian A. Johnson resident artist, and currently a resident artist at the Philadelphia School for Circus Arts. With Almanac he has collaborated to devise and perform Communitas (2014), Nightfall (2014), The Fleecing (2015), Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes (2015 & 2017), IAMMADEOFSTARS (2016), Exile2588 (2016) and Demon Magick Seminar (2017). He has performed with Cabaret Red Light, BRAT Productions, Lighting Rod Special, Pig Iron Theatre Co., Alex Bechtel, and Philly Improv Theater. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two children.

Jay Flewelling

In addition to being a performer, Jay also is an award winning filmmaker and knows a thing or two about producing. His most recently produced film short won Best in Humor at Dan Savage’s HUMP! Film Festival.

Jill Lockley

Jill has been improvising since 2009, and making people laugh since 2017! She performs regularly with Grad School Improv in Vancouver and has studied improv comedy in Regina, Vancouver, and Toronto.

Tunji Taylor-Lewis

Tunji caught the improv comedy bug in Grade 10 high school drama class. After high school he joined his first improv troupe at Trinity Western University from 2012 to 2016 and has now been a part of the Vancouver TheatreSports Rookie League for the past 2 years. He considers himself to be a character actor who gets a lot of inspiration from his comic heroes including Eddie Murphy. Jerry Lewis, Will Smith, Kevin Hart, and Martin Lawrence.

ENSEMBLE DIRECTORS

John Gebretatose

John has trained at HUGE Improv Theater and now enjoys working as an instructor at HUGE. He trained and worked at Brave New Workshop.

He has performed stand-up comedy in the Twin Cities for over nine years. He is currently part of one of the hottest new improv groups, Blackout, and also a founding member of Late Nights Minneapolis With Joe Rapp.

John has taught improv workshops internationally, coached improv groups and currently teaches at HUGE in addition to heading up diversity and inclusion programs.

He is the founder and creator of the Black and Funny Improv Festival as well as the Twin Cities chapter of Our Cities on Our Stages.

Kaisa Kokko

Kaisa, an improviser, instructor and communication skills teacher, has learned, performed and taught improvised theater for more than 12 years and has more than 20 years of experience in scripted theatre. She has had the pleasure of teaching and performing improv in the United States, Peru, Costa Rica and all over Europe. Kaisa is the co-founder of Finland’s first Finnish Improv Training Center ImproKampus and the co-artistic director of two theaters, JOO! and KujeImpro. Kaisa has taught improv for kids, teenagers and adults from different fields of life. She also does a lot work in the field of applied improvisation and communication skills.

Kaisa specializes in deep and meaningful connections, relationship based grounded scene work and musical improvisation. Kaisa has studied at the iO Chicago, Unexpected Productions in Seattle and under many great improv teachers all over the world. Kaisa firmly believes in the strengthening power of improv and is thrilled to be part of something that will – little by little – change the world!