Fresh from the city that gave you charm and crabs, Casually Dope is a special project of the Baltimore Improv Group. With their mix of high-energy, audience inspired short-form and long-form, they create characters you’ll never forget, and leave you as satisfied as your mama’s sweet potato pie. Most importantly, they represent for their city!
Little Mountain Improv has been performing weekly shows in Vancouver since October of 2015. The members had performed together in different groups, shows and configurations for years and decided it was time to unite a start the show of their dreams. LMI likes to keep things fun and loose with a mix of short form games and a different long form each month. They are excited for their second Combustion Festival!
One Lions are a longform improv duo based in Calgary, Alberta. Founded by Stephen Kent and Covy Holland in 2012 over Po’Boys and a shared love of improv-as-theatre, One Lions performs in a variety of formats, all of which doggedly explore the human condition.
PREACH! is a combination of Spoken Word and Long-Form Improvisation. Established in 2016 and based in Chicago, Illinois, PREACH! trains their artistic voice on challenging apathy and promoting love and positivity through their art. The members of PREACH! are teachers, caregivers, activists... and they bring the spirit of a revolution wherever they perform. PREACH! Has been featured on NPR, LA Magazine, and in the Chicago Reader as a “Must See” group.
Ese studied improv with the incomparable Tina Fey (note: she had one dream that she did and has been spreading this lie ever since). In reality, Ese studied improv at Second City in Toronto and continued her improv training at Instant Theatre once she moved to Vancouver.
Christine is an actor and writer in Vancouver, BC. She made the web series Golden Futures with Bita Joudaki and is shooting season two this summer.
Bianca Casusol is a performer based out of New York City. You can find her acting like a maniac on stage with her house teams SheWolf and The Friday Night Show. She's been lucky enough to teach at The Magnet Theater, DSI Comedy Theater, and The North Carolina Theater Conservatory and to learn from every person she's ever played with. When she's not doing make believe, she's turning children's short stories into sketches as a touring member of The Story Pirates or trying to pet every animal. Her work has been featured on The Truth Podcast, Hot Mic with Dan Savage, Risk!, Bust Magazine, and Reductress.
Ti Coleman got his improv start taking classes at Washington Improv Theatre (WIT) and hasn’t looked back since. After bouncing around a few indie troupes, he auditioned with BIG and got in (the second time). Ti is a member of Casually Dope.
Improvising on turntables under the DJ name Mama Cutsworth, Winnipeg's Sarah Michaelson has provided soundtracks for many of the world's best in improvised theatre: Det Andre Teatret (Norway), CRUMBS (Winnipeg), Rapid Fire Theatre (Edmonton), Impromadrid Teatro (Madrid), Folie à deux (London) and countless other international performers. Collaborating with Daniel Orrantia and Felipe Ortiz of Colombia, she is one third of the project known as Speechless, a surreal, improvised long-form show that uses no words. Since its debut in 2013, the show has toured in over one dozen countries, from Brazil, to Holland, to the United Arab Emirates. In addition to improv theatre, Sarah is well-known for her deep knowledge and passion for music, DJing at parties and festivals for 14 years.
Elana Fishbein is a performer and instructor at the Magnet Theater in New York City. She can be seen performing with the Armando Diaz Experience, Magnet Theater TourCo, and her solo improv show, Pepita (Winner of Inspirado: the only improv competition in the world). She has been featured at the Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Eau Claire, Edmonton, Omaha, Philadelphia, and Women in Comedy Festivals. Her two-woman play, Sisters Three, was a New York Times Critics Pick
Megan is the Artistic Director of the Magnet Theater, a writer, performer, instructor and native New Yorker. She has performed with Second City aboard the NCL Gem and is a member of Magnet's resident team "Junior Varsity." She can be seen in such notable shows as "The Armando Diaz Experience" and "The Cast." Megan also produces and hosts the monthly female-identifying improv show "We Might Just Kiss" and travels around the world teaching improv.
Take Megan’s workshop, GO LONGER, on Tuesday, June 5.
Martin Gustafsson is a professional improviser and teacher, for Gbgimpro in Sweden (Gothenburg’s impro theater). He is also a director for the group Primalimpro that also is based in Gothenburg. He’s doing his education as a theater teacher at Sweden's only theater teacher education at Gothenburg University. He’s already teaching children and adults in both scripted theater and improv. He has performed on improv scenes like Unexpected Productions (Seattle), Loose Moose Theater (Calgary), Bad Dog Theater (Toronto), Copenhagen Comedy festival (Copenhagen), SWIMP (Swedish improv festival in Uppsala), Improfest (Swedish improve festival in Gothenburg) and more. He has motto in improv that everything that happens onstage is true. Mistakes are just another road.
Covy Holland is a writer and star on Calgary’s home-grown sketch comedy show Cowtown. He performs in multiple troupes with the Kinkonauts in Calgary, Alberta. He’s performed internationally at Improv Olympic in Chicago, UCB in New York, Improvaganza in Edmonton, Bullskit in Red Deer, and at the Vancouver International Improv Festival.
Todd Houseman is an indigenous actor and seasoned improviser living in Montreal, Quebec, but hails from Edmonton, Alberta. In Edmonton, Todd was a senior performer of Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theatre where he performed weekly for 8 years, and taught as a primary instructor through the Boyle Street outreach program. In Rapid Fire, Todd met Ben Gorodetsky and together they created the improvised play, Folk Lordz, which has toured across North America delighting audiences with cultural comedy and storytelling. They Have performed at such Improv festivals as Duo Festival in Philadelphia, The Improvised Play Festival in Austin, Improvaganza in Edmonton, and The Vancouver International Improv Festival. Folk Lordz has recently lead to the production of Folk Lordz the web series. Todd is delighted to be returning to Combustion festival this year.
Stephen Kent is the Artistic Director of the Kinkonauts. He’s performed at Improvaganza in Edmonton, the Vancouver International Improv Festival, the Orlando International Improv Festival, and the Calgary International Improv Festival. He's appeared on television in Cowtown, Tin Star, and some really artistically satisfying commercials. Before moving to Calgary, Stephen spent two seasons as an actor at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.
Shane McLean is an improviser, writer, and actor from Vancouver. He is 1/9th of Little Mountain Improv and an alumni of Blind Tiger Comedy. He is also new in town so you have to be nice to him.
TJ Medel is the Co-Artistic Director of the improvised spoken word collective PREACH. He’s a writer, performer, and spoken word artist from Jersey City New Jersey, with a BA in Theater from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. He’s also trained at The Second City, iO Chicago, and The Annoyance. TJ has performed in the Detroit Improv Festival, the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, the Chicago Improv Festival, Second City’s Los Angeles Diversity Festival, and the Manila Improv Festival. As a spoken word artist, TJ was on the first New Jersey Youth Slam Team in HBO’s Brave New Voices (2006), and placed in the top 20 in the NY Knicks Poetry Slam Series at Madison Square Garden (2007). He was also the Southern Fried “King of the South” Individual Poetry Slam Champion in 2009. TJ is an alum of the 2015 Second City Bob Curry Fellowship, and is a facilitator for The Second City Training Center and Second City Works. He is also a teaching artist for The American Theater Company, Mudlark Children’s Theater Company, The Poetry Center of Chicago, and After School Matters. He is represented by Stewart Talent.
Shawn Norman has been performing improv with groups in Vancouver and Victoria for over 15 years. He was previously an artistic director of Victoria's Impromaniacs and a faculty member at Instant Theatre, and is also a long time volunteer with the Canadian Improv Games. This will be his first Combustion Festival and he is so excited!
Kelli Ogmundson is an actor, a comedian, and a small lady. She has performed in festivals across Canada with both Little Mountain Improv and Benjamins. She has appeared on Supernatural, Haters Back Off and plays a couple of archaeologists on My Little Pony. Recently she played Medium Alison in the Canadian premiere of Fun Home the musical. She hopes to meet Shawn Desman in Toronto.
Kristen Schier is a teacher at the University of the Arts as well as a performer, instructor and Improv Producer at the Philly Improv Theater. She is also the Artistic Director of The Philly N Crowd, which performs weekly short form improv shows at The Actor’s Center. Kristen has a B.F.A. in Theater Arts from the University of the Arts and has been working in Philly as a professional actor, improviser and teacher for several years. Kristen has also studied physical theater intensively with the Movement Theater Studio and clowning with Virginia Scott and Giovanni Fusetti. She has taken classes with both The Second City and the Annoyance Theater in Chicago and the Magnet Theater in NYC.
RobYn Slade improvises with Outside Joke and The DnD Improv Show, and has had the pleasure of performing at festivals across North America including the Vancouver International Improv Festival, Edmonton’s Improvaganza, Calgary International Improv Festival, and the Montreal Improv Festival. In 2017, she lead a team of lion-hearts to a shiny 2nd place win at the World Domination Improv Tournament at Dad’s Garage Theatre, in Atlanta, GA.
RobYn has also made non-improvised appearances at Prairie Theatre Exchange, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Manitoba Theatre for Young People.