2019 Festival Workshops

Workshop registration is now open! Our workshops welcome improvisors of all experience levels.

ARE YOU WITH ME NOW?

with Amir Atsmon

This workshop brings together mindfulness meditation, Meisner technique, confessions and telepathy to serve your improv toolkit. You will use these tools to develop the four cornerstones of profound, grounded, emotional scene-work: utmost presence, authenticity, radical listening and relentless emotional engagement. By adding two more unique and easy tools – “calling it” and “the truth is…” – players will learn how to add presence, connection, truth and depth to each and every scene they play.

Wednesday September 25, 6:30-9:30pm
At The Greenhouse Studio at The Cultch (1885 Venebles Street)

Instructor Bio:

Amir has been improvising for over ten years. He is a co-founder of Lamabati, one of the leading improv groups in Israel and proud member of Ohana, a collective of European improvisors. He has spent the last several years building the improv community in Jerusalem, teaching classes and workshops and performing at various festivals with Lamabati. Amir developed the original format “Everyday Magic”, an improvised homage to the works of the Israeli author Etgar Keret. In addition to his pursuits in improv, he also performs playback theater with one of Israel’s leading troupes, Reflected Light. As a teacher, his main points of focus are group mind, the uses of physicality and trusting one’s instincts. Amir’s outlook and sensitivities as a teacher are enriched by his work as a Drama-Therapist at a psychiatric hospital.

HANG YOUR JUDGE

with Hila Di Castro

The purpose of this workshop is to help you learn how to handle your inner judge. Using highly practical tools, we will learn how to silence our inner judge when needed – and when to pay attention to what he/she has to say. This workshop will help you to get out of your head and be free in your improv.

Sunday September 29, 1:30 -4:30 
At Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive)

Instructor Bio:

Hila Di Castro is an actress, improviser and teacher based in Israel. Since graduating from Acting Studio in 2002, she has acted in various theater, film and television productions in Israel (including one super cool horror movie). Upon discovering the world of improvisation in 2005, Hila has performed with several improv groups: Improline, komikaza, provisori and an all-woman ensemble named Anna’s Friends. She is a member and a co-artistic director of LAMABATI, one of the leading improv groups in Israel. They perform throughout Israel and at festivals all over the world. Hila has also officiated improv competitions in Israel, including Israel’s 2015 National Improv Championship.
Since 2010, Hila has been teaching improvisation. She teaches at acting schools, high schools, private groups and a theatre school for orthodox Jews. She also coaches several improv troupes, including an all-orthodox women’s group. She is the co-founder and the artistic director of “20,000 Words”, an improv performance and workshop that teaches and discusses gender equality throughout Israel.

HANG YOUR JUDGE

with Hila Di Castro

The purpose of this workshop is to help you learn how to handle your inner judge. Using highly practical tools, we will learn how to silence our inner judge when needed – and when to pay attention to what he/she has to say. This workshop will help you to get out of your head and be free in your improv.

Sunday September 29, 1:30 -4:30 
At Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive)

Instructor Bio:

Hila Di Castro is an actress, improviser and teacher based in Israel. Since graduating from Acting Studio in 2002, she has acted in various theater, film and television productions in Israel (including one super cool horror movie). Upon discovering the world of improvisation in 2005, Hila has performed with several improv groups: Improline, komikaza, provisori and an all-woman ensemble named Anna’s Friends. She is a member and a co-artistic director of LAMABATI, one of the leading improv groups in Israel. They perform throughout Israel and at festivals all over the world. Hila has also officiated improv competitions in Israel, including Israel’s 2015 National Improv Championship.
Since 2010, Hila has been teaching improvisation. She teaches at acting schools, high schools, private groups and a theatre school for orthodox Jews. She also coaches several improv troupes, including an all-orthodox women’s group. She is the co-founder and the artistic director of “20,000 Words”, an improv performance and workshop that teaches and discusses gender equality throughout Israel.

WILDNESS & RESISTANCE

with Quinn Contini

When we surprise ourselves, we surprise the audience. The dream of this workshop is to tap into something deeper that cannot be predicted. The aim is to push YOUR current physical, mental, and emotional potential by playing between the extremes of wildness and resistance.

Sunday September 29, 10AM – 1 PM
At The Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive)

Instructor Bio:

Quinn Contini is an improvisor, actor, instructor and emcee. He is an alumnus of Loose Moose Theatre in Calgary, Alberta, and is currently a senior member of the Rapid Fire Theatre ensemble in Edmonton. Quinn is the Co-Artistic Director of the Canmore International Improv Festival, actor/writer/co-founder of Marv n’ Berry – Sketch Comedy, cast member of Off Book – The Improvised Musical, and has been known to emcee the dog show at the Calgary Stampede. Teaching and performing improvisation have brought Quinn throughout Canada and the United States, around Europe, and to the United Arab Emirates. He has a degree in Entrepreneurship from the University of Alberta, has recently picked up skijoring, and loves spending time in the woods with his partner their two dogs. Want more? Check out www.quinncontini.com. 

THREE & FOUR PERSON SCENES

with Bob Dassie

This workshop will concentrate on the foundation of scene work and how it applies to more complex relationship-based scenes. Focus will be on sustaining, balancing and making strong choices for the sake of the scene regardless of how many people are on stage. Using exercises that isolate certain aspects of scene work, we’ll break down the elements to generate specific character information, define our environment and create interesting relationships.

Saturday September 28th, 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
(with a 30 min break)
At Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive)

Instructor Bio:

Bob is originally from Chicago where he has studied with many improv greats such as Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Del Close. He has performed and taught improv all over the world, from New York to Los Angeles, from Singapore to Scotland. Over the years he has been involved with several long-form groups including the improvised musical Baby Wants Candy, The Armando Show and alongside Stephnie Weir in the 2-person WeirDass. Until recently, he performed with Dasariski and Quartet at the IOWest in Los Angeles and has appeared in the fully-improvised play, Stolen House, which premiered in Chicago and had a limited run in New York.

THREE & FOUR PERSON SCENES

with Bob Dassie

This workshop will concentrate on the foundation of scene work and how it applies to more complex relationship-based scenes. Focus will be on sustaining, balancing and making strong choices for the sake of the scene regardless of how many people are on stage. Using exercises that isolate certain aspects of scene work, we’ll break down the elements to generate specific character information, define our environment and create interesting relationships.

Saturday September 28th, 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
(with a 30 min break)
At Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Drive)

Instructor Bio:

Bob is originally from Chicago where he has studied with many improv greats such as Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Del Close. He has performed and taught improv all over the world, from New York to Los Angeles, from Singapore to Scotland. Over the years he has been involved with several long-form groups including the improvised musical Baby Wants Candy, The Armando Show and alongside Stephnie Weir in the 2-person WeirDass. Until recently, he performed with Dasariski and Quartet at the IOWest in Los Angeles and has appeared in the fully-improvised play, Stolen House, which premiered in Chicago and had a limited run in New York.

STAGE COMBAT FOR IMPROVISORS

with Jackie T. Hanlin &
Nathania Bernabe

Exploring the place where improv theatre and stage combat meet, this introductory workshop will give improvisors foundational knowledge to explore falls, punches, kicks and other techniques through choreography and how they can be applied to an improvised scene. Using effective partnering techniques such as zen fighting and ensemble building through movement, Jackie T. Hanlin and Nathania Bernabe will give improvisors tools to apply to their scene work, that will allow them to make more physical and dynamic offers.

Friday September 27, 6:30-9:30pm
At The Greenhouse Studio at The Cultch (1885 Venebles Street)

Instructor Bios:

Jackie T. Hanlin is an actor proudly hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has worked and trained with Haligonian theatre groups including Dapopo Theatre with whom she toured an original piece to Berlin, Germany. She received her BA in Drama from Bishops University in 2015, studying with prolific Nova Scotian actor/director Cory Bowles and Mump and Smoot’s Michael Kennard. Nathania Bernabe is an actor who has trained with The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (London), SITI Company (New York), Zen Zen Zo (Australia) and Second City (Chicago). Nathania has a profound love for movement-based theatre. Together, Jackie and Nathania founded “Affair of Honor”; a theatre company that produces fight and movement based shows that show cases diverse emerging artists and cultivated stories with strong female leads.. They have produced Soul Samurai by Qui Nguyen, Heroine by Karen Bassett and their first written work: Playthings.

EMBRACING MISTAKES

with Daphney Joseph

Mistakes are your best friends. Don’t punish them by blocking or ignoring them. Try to embrace them! In this workshop, we’re going to learn how to get along with our crazy bff’s, because once we learn how to love them, they’ll take our scene to a whole new level.

Tuesday September 24, 6:30-9:30
At The Greenhouse Studio at The Cultch (1885 Venebles Street)

Instructor Bio:

Daphney Joseph is a bilingual actor, comedian and writer from Montreal. She is one half of the acclaimed comedy duo Coko and Daphney. Together, they have performed in all of over North America including Philadelphia, Chicago, New York City, Ottawa and multiple festivals including OFFJFL, Brave Festival where they’ve opened for Gina Yashere. Daphney also does stand up around the city and has performed at various festival like Yas Kween, SheDot, Shade and Spice. She’s currently writing digital series in French and English. You may have seen her on TV on Baroness Von Sketch Show, Private Eyes and TFO flip.

THE TRICKSTER

with Itamar Karbian

The trickster character as a ubiquitous as it is controversial. This archetypical character existed before stories were written down, and was both hated and admired since its first appearance in the collective unconscious. The trickster exists wherever order exists – its sole intention, to undermine it. Loki, Jack Sparrow and Bugs Bunny are all examples of wonderful tricksters – they’re charming, annoying, and absolutely brilliant.
In improv, we all get to be tricksters. After all, the trickster is spontaneous, funny and totally present – everything we want to be on stage. However, its urge is destructive. The trickster doesn’t have our best interests in mind – it wants to make us uncomfortable and reveals the vulnerability of our scene partners. This makes us worry, which makes us silence the trickster within us.
This workshop will challenge us to come to terms with our own inner trickster. We will mess with each other and with ourselves, we will create chaos and accept the consequences, we will let the trickster shine and take us into dark, unexplored territory.

Thursday September 26, 6:30-9:30 pm
At The Dusty Flowershop (2050 Scotia Street)

Instructor Bio:

Itamar Kabrian has been improvising for 11 years and teaching improv for about 8. He has taught improv in improv schools, and the Tel-Aviv-based MOVE acting studio, as well as in corporate environments. He has coached teams for both short-form and long-form formats from beginner to performance level. Itamar is the founder and co-artistic director of Lamabati, one of the oldest performing groups in Israel, and was co-founder, co-artistic director, MC and coach of the Improleague, an Israeli initiative intended to provide performance opportunities for beginner improvisers.
He has travelled to perform all around Europe, including Finland, Barcelona, Edinburgh, Turkey, Greece, Estonia and Sweden.

THE SOUNDTRACK:

Rethinking how music is used in improv theatre
with Sarah Michaelson

Inspired by film soundtracks rather than musical theatre, this workshop geared for actors and improvisors offers a different approach to working with improv music. Workshop participants will learn how to listen and respond to music in new ways, how music can be another character, how to use silence intelligently, and how tools like contrast or montages can strengthen or transform scenes at unexpected moments.

Sunday September 29, 10:00AM-1PM

At The Greenhouse Studio at The Cultch (1885 Venebles Street)

Instructor Bio:

Improvising on turntables and a mixer for 15 years, Winnipeg’s Sarah Michaelson—known better by her DJ name, Mama Cutsworth—has provided soundtracks for many of the world’s best in the improvised theatre scene: CRUMBS (Winnipeg), Det Andre Teatret (Norway), Patti Stiles (Australia), Impromadrid Teatro (Madrid), and more. In 2013, she co-created a wordless long-form improv show called Speechless, along with with Bogotá’s Felipe Ortiz and Daniel Orrantia. Since its debut, the trio has toured Europe, North and South America, and the United Arab Emirates. Most recently, Sarah directed the 2019 ensemble at Edmonton’s Improvaganza, presenting her format called “Midnight Radio.”

THE SOUNDTRACK:

Rethinking how music is used in improv theatre
with Sarah Michaelson

Inspired by film soundtracks rather than musical theatre, this workshop geared for actors and improvisors offers a different approach to working with improv music. Workshop participants will learn how to listen and respond to music in new ways, how music can be another character, how to use silence intelligently, and how tools like contrast or montages can strengthen or transform scenes at unexpected moments.

Sunday September 29, 10:00AM-1PM

At The Greenhouse Studio at The Cultch (1885 Venebles Street)

Instructor Bio:

Improvising on turntables and a mixer for 15 years, Winnipeg’s Sarah Michaelson—known better by her DJ name, Mama Cutsworth—has provided soundtracks for many of the world’s best in the improvised theatre scene: CRUMBS (Winnipeg), Det Andre Teatret (Norway), Patti Stiles (Australia), Impromadrid Teatro (Madrid), and more. In 2013, she co-created a wordless long-form improv show called Speechless, along with with Bogotá’s Felipe Ortiz and Daniel Orrantia. Since its debut, the trio has toured Europe, North and South America, and the United Arab Emirates. Most recently, Sarah directed the 2019 ensemble at Edmonton’s Improvaganza, presenting her format called “Midnight Radio.”

EXTREME PERFORMATIVITY

with Sarah Ormandy

This never before taken or taught workshop will focus on an intersection of performance art and improvisation.
It will take the fundamentals of improvisation in a direct comparison with performance art, and utilize the skills in both to explore a heightened form of creation. This interdisciplinary workshop may involve movement, music, text, research and props. Participants can hope to gain a better understanding of the way their already-existing improvisation skills can transcend into new forms of creation and experiences. Is improvised comedy performance art? We will discover the answer is: Yes, And…

Sunday September 29, 1:30-4:30pm

At The Greenhouse Studio at The Cultch (1885 Venebles Street)

Instructor Bio:

Sarah Ormandy is a performance artist, improviser, and retired actor. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Alberta, and is an alumni of Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theatre. She was a member of Second City Toronto’s House Company (2018/2019), in an ensemble that has now transformed to be ‘Milk’. In addition to improvising extensively in Edmonton, Montreal, and Toronto, she has a background in devised creation and improvised movement, and has performed in a variety of theatres and found spaces across Canada. Sarah is most well known for Only Wearing Black Turtlenecks for a full year. She is currently handwriting out the entire contents of her Facebook profile. Please refer to www.sarahormandy.com for a more detailed overview of her work. 

THE WHO

with PEARL

The women of PEARL will dive into character development, with the goal of enhancing perspective and relationships in improvisation. The workshop focuses on establishing unique character points of view, and specific wants/desires of character, then investigating how those perspectives change the relationships to other characters within scenes. Participants will work on their acting skills, use physicality and vocality, and be asked to connect to their emotions to find their own original characters, ultimately adding a more broad and diverse variety to their character repertoire.

Thursday September 26, 6:30-9:30
The Greenhouse Studio at The Cultch (1885 Venebles Street). 

Instructor Bio:

 The girls of PEARL (Piper Gillin, Amanda Barnes, Theresa Gumprecht & Carla Delaney) are Second City-based improvisers who’ve been playing together for five years. They perform longform improv with focus on relationship and character. Pearl can be seen playing shows all over Los Angeles, and at festivals across the US. This fem-tastic foursome is proudly coached by Celeste Pechous.

 

THE WHO

with PEARL

The women of PEARL will dive into character development, with the goal of enhancing perspective and relationships in improvisation. The workshop focuses on establishing unique character points of view, and specific wants/desires of character, then investigating how those perspectives change the relationships to other characters within scenes. Participants will work on their acting skills, use physicality and vocality, and be asked to connect to their emotions to find their own original characters, ultimately adding a more broad and diverse variety to their character repertoire.

Thursday September 26, 6:30-9:30
The Greenhouse Studio at The Cultch (1885 Venebles Street). 

Instructor Bio:

 The girls of PEARL (Piper Gillin, Amanda Barnes, Theresa Gumprecht & Carla Delaney) are Second City-based improvisers who’ve been playing together for five years. They perform longform improv with focus on relationship and character. Pearl can be seen playing shows all over Los Angeles, and at festivals across the US. This fem-tastic foursome is proudly coached by Celeste Pechous.

 

CHAIN REACTIONS

with Andrew Phung

As people, we go through each day reacting to all of the things around us. Those reactions shape our emotions, attitudes, and relationships. As improvisers, we often forget to react because we’re worried about what will happen next. This workshop will remove the fear of “what comes next” and encourage improvisers to react to all of the little offers and moments in a scene. The goal is build a chain of reactions which will strengthen your scene work, and add layers to the characters your build.

Saturday September 28, 5-8pm
At The Green House Studio at The Cultch (1885 Venebles Street)

Instructor Bio:

Andrew Phung is an award winning actor, improviser, and emcee. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Andrew began studying improvisational theatre at the Loose Moose Theatre Company at the age of 16, training under Dennis Cahill and Keith Johnstone. His improvisational style is a mix of high energy characters with a focus on narrative story storytelling. Andrew has co-developed numerous hit comedy shows including Past your Bedtime, Northeast: The Show, and Kill Hard. He is considered one of Canada’s top emerging comedic talents and was recently nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award (2018). Andrew is currently one of the stars of the hit CBC television series, Kim’s Convenience, where he’s won back-to-back Canadian Screen Awards for “Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series” for his portrayal of Kimchee. His recent TV/Film credits include Save Me, Mings Dynasty, and the Beaverton. Andrew is a father to two little boys, and an avid sneaker collector with over 300 pairs. Yes, that’s right, 300 pairs of sneakers. 

FINDING CHARACTER & MANAGING POINT OF VIEW

with Rich Talarico

Character = choice. Learn how to line up your own choices with gifts from your teammates as you create each other’s characters instantly on stage. Feel the power of POV – the choice that guides all choices. See how easy it is to discover your character’s world view, the filter through which only you look, and how to keep “playing the game” of your character throughout a scene and a show. Join Rich Talarico, a 25+ year improv vet and alumnus of The Second City and Improv Olympic, as he leads this character workshop that will leave you with many tools to create characters instantly.

Saturday September 28, 1:30-4:30pm
At The Greenhouse Studio at The Cultch (1885 Venebles Street)

Instructor Bio:

Rich Talarico is an Emmy nominated and Peabody Award winning writer and producer best known for his work on
Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele.“ Additionally, Rich has written/produced “The Key & Peele Superbowl Special”, “Review” for Comedy Central, FOX’s “MadTV,” NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” “The Tonight Show w. Jay Leno”, and the 2-hour TV Special “Must See TV: A Tribute to James Burrows.” Rich also served as an improv coach on the first “Anchorman” and did punch-ups on the feature films “Mean Girls” and the Oscar-winning “Get Out.” Rich took his first improv class from Stephen Colbert at Chicago’s Second City Theater back in the 1900s. Rich went on to tour with Second City’s National Touring Company and later co-created five original sketch comedy revues with SC’s Etc., and Main Stage Companies. While in Chicago, Rich was also involved at Improv Olympic (Now iO) under the direction of Charna Halpern and the late, Del Close.

FINDING CHARACTER & MANAGING POINT OF VIEW

with Rich Talarico

Character = choice. Learn how to line up your own choices with gifts from your teammates as you create each other’s characters instantly on stage. Feel the power of POV – the choice that guides all choices. See how easy it is to discover your character’s world view, the filter through which only you look, and how to keep “playing the game” of your character throughout a scene and a show. Join Rich Talarico, a 25+ year improv vet and alumnus of The Second City and Improv Olympic, as he leads this character workshop that will leave you with many tools to create characters instantly.

Saturday September 28, 1:30-4:30pm
At The Greenhouse Studio at The Cultch (1885 Venebles Street)

Instructor Bio:

Rich Talarico is an Emmy nominated and Peabody Award winning writer and producer best known for his work on
Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele.“ Additionally, Rich has written/produced “The Key & Peele Superbowl Special”, “Review” for Comedy Central, FOX’s “MadTV,” NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” “The Tonight Show w. Jay Leno”, and the 2-hour TV Special “Must See TV: A Tribute to James Burrows.” Rich also served as an improv coach on the first “Anchorman” and did punch-ups on the feature films “Mean Girls” and the Oscar-winning “Get Out.” Rich took his first improv class from Stephen Colbert at Chicago’s Second City Theater back in the 1900s. Rich went on to tour with Second City’s National Touring Company and later co-created five original sketch comedy revues with SC’s Etc., and Main Stage Companies. While in Chicago, Rich was also involved at Improv Olympic (Now iO) under the direction of Charna Halpern and the late, Del Close.