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About Vancouver Improv Festival

TERRITORIAL ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The organizers and board of the Vancouver Improv Festival respectfully acknowledge that the land on which the festival takes place is the traditional and unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. The members of our team are settlers on this land and come from places now called Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary. Through the lens of our work, we are committed to dismantling settler colonialism, a mindset that fails to respect Indigenous society, governance and jurisdiction. We believe that the spirit of improvisation is one of collaboration and joy, and we do this work with the hope that it will strengthen our collective communities through laughter and connection.

HISTORY

The Vancouver Improv Festival (formerly the Vancouver International Improv Festival) is one of North America’s longest running improv festivals. The festival aims to celebrate spontaneity and collaboration through the art form of improvisation. Since 1999, it has showcased over 1300 international and local performers for thousands of Vancouver theatre and comedy fans. The festival started in the late nineties as an impulse-based arts festival, focusing on the spontaneous excitement of music, physical theatre and comedy. As the years passed, and the festival grew, improv comedy became the main focus. Audiences grew as the festival soon became a destination for both local and international improv companies. The festival has hosted artists from all over the world; from Berlin, Helsinki, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Toronto and Reunion Island. A unique feature of the festival are ensemble-based shows, where individual improvisers collaborate with a director to create never-before-seen performances.

MISSION

The mission of the Vancouver Improv Festival is to produce high-quality improvisational performances that raise the profile of the talented improvisers of British Columbia, while hosting international improvisers to the benefit of the local community, and to entertain a growing audience. We welcome your feedback or questions. info @ vancouverimprovfest.com

FESTIVAL ORGANIZING TEAM

CURT DA SILVA

Curt Da Silva is a Vancouver-based improviser and math-fan. He is the creator and director of the all-Asian stage-combat improv comedy group Fistful of Kicks. He has performed all around North America, but most notably in Portland, Oregon and Austin, Texas. He has a degree in Math + Computer Science, if you’re into that sort of thing. Catch him performing on stages all around Vancouver, as well as working with Blind Tiger as a Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator.

PATRICK DODD

Patrick is a Vancouver-based actor and improviser who has performed in cities across North America, most recently with the duo Always Growing Up. He is a co-creator of the Alley Theatre’s #whatnow, which will see a full production in October 2021, and has been involved with the Vancouver Improv Fest as a volunteer, performer, and now Festival Organizer.

BRIGITTE MAY

Brigitte is an improviser and writer from Vancouver, British Columbia. She serves as a cast member of Fistful of Kicks and has toured with them internationally, performing at Stumptown Festival in Portland and The International Improvised Play Festival in Austin. She received her BAH in English from Queen’s University and is a staff writer for the satire news website the Beaverton.

AMY SHOSTAK

Amy is an improvisor and educator living in Vancouver, on the traditional, unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl ̓ ilw̓ ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Amy started improvising with Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theatre in 2002 and served as the company’s Artistic Director for six years. Amy now spends her time leading improv workshops with Blind Tiger Comedy, performing weekly with Little Mountain Improv, and touring with her duo Rå Power with Joleen Ballendine. In addition to improvising, Amy writes and performs sketch comedy in her Canadian Comedy Award-nominated sketch duo Gossamer Obsessions with Paul Blinov.

BOARD

LARA BRANSON

Originally from Calgary, Lara now calls Vancouver home. In her work life Lara is a lawyer and in her personal life she enjoys the many outdoor activities that Vancouver has to offer. As a past attendee of the Vancouver Improv Festival, Lara is happy to be part of the festival this year as a member of the board.

ALISTAIR COOK

Alistair has had the great opportunity to work and perform with the best in improvisation while working with Instant Theatre, the Improv Camp, Vancouver Improv Festival, and the Canadian Improv Games. Alistair is the manager of Havana Theatre and loves riding his bikes with his favourite improvisers (his kids) Oliver and Matilda.

TRACY DEFOE

Tracy Defoe is a Vancouver improv mom who proudly claims to have seen ten years of high school improv. She joined the Vancouver Improv Festival board with experience as past president of the board of directors of a youth theatre company. In her professional life, Tracy is a Canadian adult education consultant and researcher specializing in workplace learning. She is a writer and coach, and a community developer. Tracy identifies as a white settler, and her pronouns are she and her.

KRISTINA MATISIC

Kristina Matisic is a public relations consultant who has worked in media for over two decades. First as a news reporter and anchor; then as an award-winning TV host and producer; and now as a public relations expert and social media consultant with extensive experience on all sides of the PR equation. A graduate from USC’s School of Journalism, Kristina got her start at Global News in Vancouver, working as an overnight news anchor. After six years in news, she went on to co-create, co-host, and co-produce shows like The Shopping Bags and Anna and Kristina’s Grocery Bag for the W Network, the latter which was seen in over 65 countries. When not helping clients as a consultant, Kristina is an aspiring improviser and an actor, appearing in locally-shot commercials, TV shows and movies. An avid animal lover, she is also a spokesperson for the BC SPCA.

ROBIN MAZUMDER

Robin Mazumder is an award winning urban neuroscientist with a keen interest in understanding how living in cities impacts well-being. His PhD research, funded by the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, used wearable technology in real and immersive virtual reality settings to examine psychological and physiological responses to the urban built environment. His research interests are informed by his clinical experience working as mental health occupational therapist in the urban cores of Canadian cities, including Toronto and Edmonton. In addition to his research. Robin is an outspoken advocate for urban design that supports wellbeing, and has given more than 30 keynotes internationally on the topic. He is also passionate about science communication and has been interviewed by and written for major media publications, including the BBC, CBC, Huffington Post and Wired Magazine.

SIMON FULLER

Simon is a Director and the Treasurer of the Vancouver Improv Fest. He has been on the board since 2018 and is involved in all things numbers-related. He is a banker by day, and sports fan & comedy enthusiast by night. Born and raised in Vancouver, Simon loves to spend time outside. He can be found riding his bike or golfing in the summer and skiing or playing hockey in the winter. Whenever possible, Simon loves jumping on a plane and traveling the world trying to cross as many countries off his list. He and his wife live in sunny East Vancouver.

PARTNERS

Our Board leads the Vancouver Improv Festival Society, meeting six times a year, and supports the Organizing Team as needed. We are interested in connecting with folks passionate about improv and non profit governance, as well as community partners. If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact Board President, Kristina Matisic – kristina @ vancouverimprovfest.com.

Vancouver Improv Festival is committed to creating and maintaining a safe environment, where creativity can flourish.
Read our Anti-Harassment Policy, here.