Vancouver International Improv Festival

October 6-10, 2015

tomhill portman midy zevlin


Learn. Grow. Do Improv.

VIIF is proud to present workshops in improvisation from some of the best instructors that the improv world has to offer. The two workshop packages will take place on the weekends of October 10th and 11th. Workshops will take place at the Instant Shop and Carousel Studio. Workshops do sell out, so don’t delay!

Weekend workshop packages of four workshops is only $149 each! Choose from two great options! All Workshops on sale now. 


To purchase Workshop Packages, Click Here

Saturday October 10th

Package #1


Musical Toolkit – Jennifer Pielak and Peter Abando

Musical Improv is quickly on the rise in the improv world and for good reason – it’s ridiculously fun. This workshop will give you some major tools that will help you rock it out in musical improv scenes as well as open the doors to the many possibilities that musical improv can bring to your work. Vancouver based musical improviser Jennifer Pielak and music director Peter Abando will give you a strong base in this workshop by covering: basic vocal technique, how to create melodies that “hook”, song structures, rhyming, emotional connection to music, some classic Broadway song types, and improvised back up singing & dancing. You will put this all together in improvised musical scenes and will be shocked at how far you came in just a few hours. Come and jam with us!

Instructors Bio

JENNIFER PIELAK is a working actor, improviser, and singer who has trained as a performer in Vancouver and Chicago. She is known for her energetic personality, being a musical improv nerd, and always having a new project up her sleeve. She regularly directs and performs with Off Key Improv, a musical improv company she co-created that has recently performed in festivals both in Vancouver and New York City. She co-wrote and performed in Connected: The Musical which got nominated for an Ovation award in 2014. Other credits include playing Katniss in Hunger Games the Musical, Marcy in Dogfight, “Young Mom” in Lays and Dannon Yogurt commercials, as well as performing improv with Table23 Comedy, The Fictionals Comedy Co., Second Storey Theatre, Instant Theatre and the Vancouver TheatreSports Rookie League.

PETER ABANDO When he’s not teaching, you can find Peter composing, rehearsing, directing, or performing music somewhere around Metro Vancouver. Peter’s work has been featured in numerous original musicals, and he has appeared as a pianist, accompanist and/or musical director for productions including Cinderella, Godspell, Les Miserables, CATS, Jekyll & Hyde and RENT. His music is featured in the 2013 Ovation Award-nominated Connected: The Musical, which premiered at Vancouver’s Pacific Theatre.

Workshop to be held at Instant Shop (#1-650 E Broadway) from 10:00 to 12:30. 


Midy Zevlin

The Monoscene – Andy Devlin and Mike Zakarian 

Being honest and present with your scene to tell a story.

This work shop will focus on monoscene work by really revisiting fundamental scenework aspects.  By taking a piece moment to moment reacting and listening honestly, you can create a larger narrative organically.  This work shop will help you create an interesting mono scene that is based off character relationships and isn’t dependent on narrative, but dependent on honest reaction.

Instructors Bios

The Midy Zevlin is a duo composed of Andy Devlin and Mike Zakarian.

Andy Devlin has trained at io Chicago and the annoyance theater in Chicago.  He has more recently been performing with the midy zevlin in festivals all over the U.S, and with resident casts in boston.

Mike Zakarian got his start in Boston with Improvboston Harold night and the Improvboston touring company.  He recently moved to New York where he is training at the upright citizens brigade.

Workshop to be held at Instant Shop (#1-650 E Broadway) 1:30 – 4:00. 


Sunday October 11th



The Imagination Advantage – Colin Munch

Audiences in the 21st century are surrounded by stories. Film, video games, and books are everywhere, transporting us to exotic locations and stimulating the mind with fantastic images. This course teaches participants to take a fundamental truth of improv, the lack of a set, props, or costumes, and use it to their advantage. Trusting the audience’s imagination to fill in the blanks, living, breathing worlds are created, rich in playable detail, from recognisable homes to exotic spacecraft. Additionally, this course rejects the one-stage, one-location style of scenework, instead treating the audience like a camera to simulate film techniques such as zooms, pans, dollys, and depth-of-field. This creates a terrifically fluid, dynamic, and cinematic approach to storytellin, where the only limit is the imagination and commitment of the performers. Developed as part of Bad Dog Theatre Company’s renowned Narrative Studio Series, The Imagination Advantage is presented on its own to add a new layer of creativity and style to scenework.

Instructor Bio:

COLIN MUNCH is a multiple Canadian Comedy Award-nominated writer, director, actor, and improviser. He is the Artistic Associate of the Bad Dog Theatre and a founding member of the Bad Dog Repertory Players. He has appeared in festivals in New York City, Boston, Montreal, Vancouver, Warsaw, and Regina and is a member of the internationally acclaimed troupe Uncalled For. He was a writer and the associate director of Spank! The 50 Shades of Grey Parody for Mills Entertainment. Both Glenn Sumi & Steve Fisher called him the comedy MVP of the 2014 Toronto Fringe for his work in Theatre Brouhaha’s Punch Up and Bad Dog’s Toronto, I Love You.

Workshop to be held at Instant Shop (#1-650 E Broadway) from 11:00 to 1:30. 

ken hall

Presence in Play and Performance – Ken Hall

Playing from your head rather than you heart?  Feeling flat and uninspired in your scenes?  This workshop will kick start a sense of authentic fun and play so you can grow and milk these wonderful moments.  This workshop takes elements of theatrical clown and combines it with the principles of improv to create a greater sense of play and presence in performance.  By doing so you are able to discover a greater connection to your work which in turn makes you more compelling to watch.

Instructor Bio 

Ken Hall is a Canadian Comedy Award Winner (Best Breakout Artist 2014) and multiple CCA award nominee including one for Best Improv Troupe as one half of the award winning improv duo 2-MAN NO-SHOW with Isaac Kessler.

Ken has also studied improvisation at The Second City (Toronto), iO Theare (Chicago), The Annoyance Theatre (Chicago) and The Upright Citizen’s Brigade (NYC)

Ken has performed improv and sketch comedy in numerous cities and festivals including Edinburgh, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Charleston, Carboro (North Carolina), Austin, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.

Ken teaches improv, clown and public speaking at The Second City in Toronto.

Workshop to be held at Instant Shop (#1-650 East Broadway) 2:30 – 5:00. 

To purchase this workshop package, Click Here



Saturday October 10th

adam cawley

Game of the Scene – Adam Cawley 

Games are all about fun. Games would be boring if they started at one level and just hung out there for a while. The game is the fun part of your scene, the part you and the audience wants more of. This workshop explores different ways to identify, create and find multiple games for your scenes and what to do once you have them. Learn ways to heighten, explore and expand your game through repetition, relationship, environment and emotion.

Instructor Bio:

Adam Cawley is a Second City Mainstage Alumni and three-time Canadian Comedy Award winner from Toronto. He currently performs with MANTOWN (CCA winner for Best Improv troupe 2013) and RN and CAWLS with Rob Norman. Adam is also the co-host of the weekly improv tutorial podcast: The Backline. He is an instructor at The Second City and has also taught improv at The Bad Dog Theatre and Humber College Comedy Writing and Performance program. He has performed at festivals across Canada and the U.S. including The Just For Laughs festival, and Chicago, Montreal, Detroit, Vancouver and Toronto Improv fests as well as the Del Close Marathon at the UCB. In 2014 was awarded the Canadian Comedy Award for the Best Male Improviser.

Workshop to be held at Carousel Studio B (Granville Island) 10:00 – 12:30. 



The Math of Improv – Bill Binder

Left-brained thinking is great for analytical, logical, critical thinking. But it can also be a bit judgmental, which is why beginning performers turn it off for a while so they can learn to embrace the imaginative, creative parts of their brains without self-doubt. Once that creative part of the brain learns to thrive, however, most of us never allow the left brain to come out to play. That’s only playing with half the tools available to you. Improv – like any art – is filled with beautiful patterns and symmetries; volume, stage position, and status – they’re all variables which can be toyed with in a beautiful equation. This workshop teaches players not to be ashamed of their analytical gifts, but to learn how to apply them in all of their work to build stronger more cohesive shows.

Instructor Bio:

Bill began performing in Michigan in 1994 where he performed for six years before moving to Phoenix, AZ. Bill helped organize the first Phoenix Improv Festival in 2002, spent two years training at iO West in Los Angeles and was one of the founding members of The Torch Theatre. Currently Bill is an instructor at The Torch Theatre and producer for the Phoenix Improv Festival. He tours teaching and performing across North America. Bill is also a founder and website administrator for the National Improv Network.

Workshop to be held at Carousel Studio B (Granville Island) 1:30 – 4:00. 


Sunday October 11th


In a World…

Feel like you’ve been in enough scenes of two people standing and talking?  Let’s make things cinematic. Using simple stagecraft and improv techniques, Brad MacNeil will show you fun ways to bring action and sci-fi to the stage. Blow up buildings, have dogfights, bring the joy of the sandbox to your scenes. Be ready to move but all are welcome.

Instructors Bio

Brad is a member and instructor with Instant Theatre. With over 20 years of improv experience, he’s just now starting to get it. Highlights include international festival performances, Edinburgh Fringe and performing in Afghanistan in 2003. Brad is a graduate of Studio 58 and a dad.

Workshop to be held at Carousel Studio B (Granville Island) from 11:00 to 1:30. 


Facing Your Fears – Amy Shostak

What is the worst that could happen on stage? What is the most terrifying improv experience you have had?

How can we use our fears to our advantage in order to tackle them? This workshop will focus on failing often and failing hard. We will explore how to use moments of surprise in our scene work, and that there is truly no “wrong” offers, as long as we commit. (2+ years of improv experience required)

Instructor Bio:

Amy Shostak was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. She is the former Artistic Director of Rapid Fire Theatre, Edmonton’s longest-running improv comedy company, and has been performing with the company since 2002. In 2015, she was recognized for her work as Artistic Director with an Excellence in Artistic Direction award from Edmonton’s Mayor’s Celebration for the Arts.

Improvisation has taken Amy all over the world; she has toured Europe and North America, performing and teaching in cool places like Bogota, Oslo, Austin, Milan and Wurzburg. She has created numerous scripted projects, written for radio and the web, and she appears in SuperChannel’s Tiny Plastic Men.

Amy is a graduate of The University of Alberta’s Bachelor of Arts program. Amy is also a member of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Class of 2012, and was named one of Alberta’s Rising Stars by Alberta Venture magazine.

Workshop to be held at Carousel Studio B (Granville Island) 2:30 – 5:00. 


To purchase this workshop package, Click Here