Ryan Beil is an award winning actor and comedian born and raised in Vancouver, BC. He holds a BFA in acting from The University of British Columbia. Watch for him in the Upcoming films “Focus” and “Big Eyes” with the latter directed by Tim Burton. He produces Rapp Battlez Wezt Coazt and is the President of Baseball Operations at Little Mountain Gallery. As far as Improv is concerned, he’s got that shit covered too. Ryan has performed Improv-comedy in Berlin, Edmonton, Toronto, Seattle, Chicago, St. Louis, Bellingham, Portland, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, and many other places!
Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanbeil
Alsa Bruno (Minneapolis)
Bruno is a Texas native actor and improviser. He has organized communities working in the nonprofit sector and has experience as a youth worker. Bruno is a founding member of the premiere improv group, Blackout. He is also a member of the Theater of Public Policy, a writer for a news comedy show Minnesota Tonight, and a cast member in Rated G, an improvised musical group directed by Jill Bernard. He is excited to engage his background in civic engagement and theater.
Rene Dellefont (Atlanta)
René is one of the Associate Artistic Directors at Dad's Garage. While at Dad's Garage, René curated and directed The Saturday Morning Pajama Jam, an improvised throwback to the Saturday morning shows of the 80's that featured the world's only improvised cartoon and was hailed by critics at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival as a live version of MTV's Wonder Showzen.
David Donnella is the Diversity Coordinator and Class Registrar at the Philly Improv Theater. He began at the theater as a performer in 2013 when he was cast on the house team The Future, with whom he still performs every Saturday at the theater. In addition, he performs with Study Hall, a monthly improvised show which features improvisational comedy based on lectures delivered by local professors, and Dirty Laundry, an improvised sitcom about a multi-generational family. In addition, he is a regular contributor to Stark Raven Mad: A Game of Thrones Podcast, which won the Philly Comedy Award for Best Podcast. He began teaching at the theater in 2014. As Diversity Coordinator, David is helping to oversee the launch of the theater's first diversity program, which includes a scholarship program, expanded educational opportunities, and new programming.
Julian Faid (Edmonton)
Julian Faid has been improvising for over 15 years. He has appeared in improv festivals in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg and even Regina. He has also represented Alberta at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in Washington DC and was nominated for a New Zealand Comedy festival "Best Show" award in 2007. He is also the co-creator of TEDxRFT, the improvised Ted Talk, which won “Best of The Fest” at the Vancouver International Improv Festival 2015.
Jess Fildes (Montreal)
Jess Fildes is an actor and improviser based in Montreal. She graduated from Concordia University in 2013 with a BFA in theatre and photography. She is a student, performer and teacher at the Montreal Improv Theatre and was a part of the Montreal Improv house team from 2012-2014.
In addition to her teaching experience at Montreal Improv, she has helped coach various high schools from 2011-2014 in order to prepare them for the Canadian Improv Games.
Jess has participated in the MPROV and Big City Improv Festivals with her duo partner, Vance Gillis in 2014 and again in 2015. In 2014, Jess was a part of the ensemble cast in the inaugural East Coast Improv Festival in Halifax. This past April 2016, Jess played with the ensemble cast at the Ottawa Improv Festival hosted by the Experimental Farm Theatre.
Nima Gholamipour (Vancouver)
Nima Gholamipour hails from Vancouver BC (where it sometimes hails). He is an improviser, comedian, and is chocolate croissant obsessed. With over a decade of improv experience, a myriad of sketch and high concept based comedy shows under his belt, Nima has cemented himself in Vancouver’s comedy scene. He is part of the Little Mountain Improv troupe, Co-produces a monthly duo’s only sketch comedy show called SIDEKICKS, and is a member of the Instant Theatre Company. Nima has performed at the, Magnet theatre, Peoples Improv theatre (NYC), Upfront Theatre (Bellingham), The Detroit Improv Festival, Big City Improv Fest (Toronto), Rapid Fire Theatre’s Improvaganza (Edmonton), Seattle Festival of Improv and the Vancouver International Improv Fest. He's makin his rounds.
Meags Fitzgerald is a Montreal based comic book artist, performer and teacher. Over the last 10 years, Meags has performed at improv theatres across Canada, in the United States and Australia. Her recent improv travels include a summer-2015 tour of the Northeastern USA and headlining at the 2016 Ottawa Improv Festival with her troupe ‘Quest of the Dragon King’ and to Vancouver as an ensemble member at the 2015 Vancouver International Improv Festival. Meags has also designed about three dozen posters, t-shirts, and logos for various improv companies, including this year’s COMBUSTIONfestival designs.
John Gebretatose (Minneapolis)
Gebretatose rose from the ranks of a HUGE Improv Theater student, to a HUGE Improv instructor. 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 member of the improv group Wonderful Wonderful. He is the director of the improv group With The Fur and teaches improv at HUGE Improv Theater. He is the founder and creator of the Black and Funny Improv Festival.
Megan is the Artistic Director of the Magnet Theater, a writer, performer, teacher and native New Yorker. She has been studying improvisation for over a decade, with Armando Diaz, Kevin Dorff, Christina Gausas, Dave Pasquesi, TJ Jagodowski, Dave Razowsky and many talented others. Megan has performed with Second City aboard the NCL Gem and has taught improvisation at universities and festivals around the country (and Canada), as well as companies and organizations. For more specifics, just ask her, she'd love to tell you.
Caitlin Howden (Vancouver)
Caitlin has been studying and performing improv for the last fourteen years. She has toured festivals across Canada, performing with some of improv’s ﬁnest including The Crumbs (Winnipeg), General Fools (Regina), Rapid Fire (Edmonton), Second City (Toronto and Chicago), Dad’s Garage (Atlanta), The Improfessionals (Paris) and Upfront (Seattle). Recently her teaching has brought her to multiple times to Poland and Paris. She is also the co creator of Ghost Jail Theatre (Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver).
Cari Leslie is a ghost that haunts the streets of Amsterdam. You might catch a glimpse of her whistling by on the bike path... Shushing you in the sauna... Buying the entire store's supply of yeba maté soda... She also does improv. One of the founders of Ottawa's Crush Improv, Cari moved to Amsterdam to perform at renowned improv theatre Boom Chicago. She recently starred in Rest Stop, a short film that has been making its way around short film festivals in London, Berlin, and Rhode Island, where it won Best Comedy Short at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.
Jiavani Linayao (Los Angeles)
Jiavani Linayao performs in Los Angeles with the all-female POC team, White Phone Voice, her queer team, Rainbow Tight, and Count Gumdrop. She teaches and performs improv all over southern California with LifePlay Productions. Jiavani is also a standup comedian, was a sketch writer for the CBS Diversity Showcase, and performed for five years on the National Comedy Theatre mainstage team.
Marina Mastros (San Diego)
Marina Mastros is a co-founder and Inclusion Initiative Director at Sidestage Improv. She performs with MAX, a mainstage Harold Team at iO West, and with indie teams Count Gumdrop, Treats?, and (musical team) Pamplemousse. She has graduated from UCB Los Angeles and iO Chicago, serves on the iO West Harold Commission, and is an LA Indie Improv Festival committee member. Previously, Marina was a mainstage performer at the National Comedy Theatre (NCT) in San Diego for eight years, and Director of the NCT College Team for five years.
Kory Mathewson (Edmonton)
Kory Mathewson is a polymath by day and an improvisor by night. Sharing the stage with top improvisors from across Canada, the United States, and Europe, Kory is a tour-de-force of improvisational prowess. In 2016, Kory presented TEDxRFT alongside Julian Faid at the Seattle Festival of Improvised Theatre. He has performed at the Montreal Improv Festival, the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, the Bellingham Improv Festival, Rapid Fire Theatre’s Improvaganza in Edmonton, with Outside Joke’s main season in Winnipeg, and served as 2014 Artist-in-Residence at the Curious Comedy Theatre in Portland, Oregon
Veslemøy Mørkrid (Oslo)
Actress and improvisor from Norway. Ensemble member at Det Andre Teatret in Oslo where she does various kinds of improvised shows every week. She also works as an actress at proper theatres where she learns lots of words by heart, and in TV and film, most recently seen as secret police investigator Ingrid Bø in the political thriller series Occupied.
Mikkel Niva (Oslo)
A Norwegian improv-comedian and actor based in Oslo, Norway. Being a member of the ensemble at Det Andre Teatret, he plays on a weekly basis in a wide variety of shows. Both long- and short-form. Besides improv his experience as a comedian comes from doing several TV-shows on some of the biggest networks in Norway.
Take a workshop with Mikkel!
Briana Rayner (Vancouver)
Briana Rayner is a Vancouver-based improviser, actor, voice artist, and classic typewriter enthusiast. She improvises with Virginia Jack Comedy, The Instant Theatre Company and The Bobbers. Her many years in improv have taken her to festivals like Edmonton's Improvaganza, Philadelphia's Duofest, and Portland's Stumptown Improv Festival, among many others. Recently she won Best Actress in a Short Film (Macabre Film Festival) and was nominated for a Leo Award for her work in "Bruised". She is a dedicated clown-doctor in a long-term care facility with Jest for Joy, where she tells purposefully bad jokes, sings songs, and trips over her feet. In her spare time, Briana likes to bake and watch shark attack videos.
Aaron Read is an improvisor, musician, and visual artist working out of Vancouver BC. His primary contribution is as active member of The Sunday Service. Previous improv experience includes being a founding member of CCA nominated AKA Improv, a main stage player at Vancouver Theatre Sports League and providing live instrumentation for Sister Act Improv. A few notable moments in the improvisor’s young career include winning best improv troupe with The Sunday Service in 2012, a nomination in 2007 for best improv troupe with AKA improv at the age of 18, and performing alongside the likes of Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show), Paul F. Tompkins (Mr. Show), and Mark Chavez (The Pajama Men). With over 9 years of improv experience including training from Alistair Cook (Instant Theatre), David Razowsky (Second City) and Lee White (Crumbs) Aaron has cemented himself as a creative and collaborative force in the improv world.
Atlanta, Georgia sweetheart Tom Rittenhouse is a proud ensemble member of Dad’s Garage Theatre Company. He began his journey through classes at Dad's in August of 2006. Since then Tom has been performing, teaching, and learning locally and internationally from Canada to Norway, or as he likes to call them "the coldish places." He is one third (arguably) of the comedy trio, Ed, Tom & Rueben Present: Rueben, Ed & Tom. So there's that, too.
Henrik Stoltz Vernegg (Oslo)
Norwegian DJ, soundimproviser, light and sound designer, actor and improviser. Resident DJ and responsible for all light and sound design at Det Andre Teatret.
Olli Wermskog (Oslo)
Olli Wermskog A Norwegian Actor and improvisor based in Oslo, Norway. Being a member of the ensemble at Det Andre Teatret in Oslo, he plays on a weekly basis in a wide variety of shows. Both long- and short-form. He also works as an actor on different stages, Tv-shows, and radio.
Keisha Zollar (New York)
Trained at the New School for Acting, Keisha Zollar is also a comedian and creator who performs at the Upright Citizens Brigade and The Peoples Improv Theater, specializing in sketch, improv, and general weirdness. Her comedy is influenced by the Maria Bamfords and Andy Kaufmans of the world with a splash of Aisha Tyler. Bringing her performances to screen and stage, Keisha has appeared on Nickelodeon, MTV, Netflix, FUSE, Comedy Central, College Humor Videos, and even was a finalist for the 2012 Andy Kaufman Awards. She'll have a role in Sarah Jessica Parker's new HBO series, Divorce, later this year, and recently appeared in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black and the Tribeca Film Festival award-winning feature, 'Women Who Kill.' Born in California, Keisha now lives in New York City and is also a cooking enthusiast.
Improv comedy at its finest. Rob Baker, Ashley Botting, Alastair Forbes, and James Gangl are a group of Toronto improvisers and writers, Second City Alumni and Critically Acclaimed Actors, Canadian Comedy Award winners and CTV news personalities, Television stars and NOW cover artists, Disc Golf Players and Yoga Enthusiasts, Fathers and Singles.
Count Gumdrop has been improvising together since 2012. A darling of the Los Angeles indie improv scene, they are teachers of workshops and friends for life. They have taught and performed at San Diego State University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Irvine, and at various theaters across California.
Flint Improv Co. Was founded in Sackville, New Brunswick by a group of students and alumni of Mount Allison University. Their fast and odd brand of comedy filled the campus pub every Wednesday. Students and Locals came to see improvised musicals, sitcoms, Soap Operas, and scripted sketch comedy often featuring visiting comedy talent from across Canada. They are recipients of the 2015 Pat & Tony Adams Freedom Fund award.
Proudly hailing from Toronto Canada, FAKE COPS is a long-form improv ensemble known for absurd humour, fast-paced scenes, the ability to play the ‘game of the scene,’ and heighten to the ‘nth’ degree. FAKE COPS produce a monthly alternative comedy show entitled “THE DISASTER” and a second monthly show called “THE THUNDERDOME” where they battle against one of Toronto’s most talented long-form teams “S&P.” FAKE COPS are multi-year performers at Toronto's Big City Improv Festival (2013, 2014 and 2015) and have performed internationally at festivals in Chicago (2014), Detroit (2014 and 2015), and at the Del Close Marathon in New York (2015). FAKE COPS recently won the “Emerging Ensemble” award under the Tony & Pat Adams Freedom Fund for the Arts presented by Bad Dog Theatre. This award supported the creation of their new improvised show entitled "Fake Cops Presents: A Fantastic Journey....at all costs." The troupe formed in the fall of 2013 after studying at The Second City (Conservatory Program), Bad Dog Academy and Impatient Theatre. FAKE COPS were drawn together by a desire to explore and create alternative comedy that pushes new forms of improvisation. Also we're buds and we like hanging out and doing 'bits.'
"Det Andre Teatret" or The Other Theater is almost like a real theater, it’s just more fun. We host the city's best improv, international guest performances and other nice or strange things we like.
We have created a theater we would like to visit ourselves - where one can watch theatre that's simple, unpretentious and new. We love theater that is made of the guys showing it - instead of cherished, famous and ancient texts in a new guise. We believe it is possible to present fresh and surprising performances for a wide audience. Much of what we do is fun, but also sad, charming and poetic. But most of all we believe in a theater in dialogue with its audience and made by people who love doing it. The Other theater is a small theater with a big heart. Theatre has to be popcorn, party and people!
Join Evany Rosen and Kayla Lorette as they show us what really happens when studio executives must give notes to those pesky creatives and hopefully shape their movies into something that won't be box office poison.
This special edition of Network Notes features improvised scenes from nonexistent movies created by Festival guests, harsh and likely nonsensical notes on those scenes, and an endless supply of complimentary bottled water!
During each performance, the cast of incredible, award winning improvisers creates a brand new musical on the spot, where each night is opening night and completely unique. Audience suggestions are transformed into all singing, all dancing shows with surprising and hysterical results.
As everything is made up, each show is completely different. Fast paced, ridiculous and always entertaining, the cast is endlessly ambitious creating an hour long musical from a series of suggestions provided by the audience. Not only do they create the music from thin air, but they also create a world full of engaging characters and captivating stories you won’t forget (even if you will never be able to see them again).
Created in the summer of 2015 by Stephanie Malek (Bad Dog’s Final Frontier) and Josh Murray (Second City Education Company), this improvised musical is directed by Tom King and Carly Heffernan. Joining Malek and Murray in the cast are Kristian Bruun (Orphan Black), Ashley Comeau (Second City Mainstage), Tricia Black (Sketchersons), Matty Burns (Second City Naughty Listers), Alexandra Hurley (Edinburgh Fringe), Nug Nahrgang (Evil Dead! The Musical) and Connor Thompson (Second City Mainstage).
The Sunday Service (Vancouver)
The Sunday Service is Ryan Beil, Caitlin Howden, Kevin Lee, Aaron Read, Taz VanRassel, and our musical director, Emmett Hall.
Favoring discovery over structure, the group builds, demolishes, and builds again an absurd patchwork of scenes and stories. Using strong narratives and character work to ground their set, the group dips in and out of meta-comedy, rock opera, word play and even slapstick shtick.
Their high energy and commitment to comedy carries the audience through a kaleidoscopic trip; watching scenes barrel into tangents and stories smash together to create a piece that holds the collective spirit to its highest regard, and puts a big ol’ goofy shoe down to show everyone they’re not so serious!
TEDxRFT is two entirely improvised TED talk from Rapid Fire Theatre. With slides they’ve never seen, and topics from the audience, Julian Faid, and Kory Mathewson will aim to inspire while scrambling for justifications. Forget ideas; these are Jokes Worth Spreading.
The Unpronounceables are John Gebretatose & Alsa Bruno.
The Unpronounceables are a dope duo of can-do friends with names people can not pronounce. We have a commitment to improving the world through improv and connecting communities through laughter. Case in point -- our first meeting led to the creation of a festival. We love to enjoy each other and do the best with what we have. The Unpronounceables: breaking the rules of pronunciation and audience engagement since 1865.
Virginia Jack (Vancouver)
Hailing from rainy Vancouver, Canada, Virginia Jack is the charming and edgy duo of Briana Rayner and Nicole Passmore. They have performed in festivals across North America, from Portland to Toronto to Austin and more. One is an actor and clown doctor, the other is an improv teacher and comedian, and both are knockouts- both comedically and when they actually choose to brush their hair.