Format Studio: Pushpins

The Bad Dog Theatre Format Studio Series is a leveled professional conservatory-style program for experienced improvisers, focusing on finessing and elevating classic forms of long form improvisation, like Harold.



Format Studio: Pushpins with Julie Dumais Osborne

Like Google street view come to life, Pushpins creates improvised landscapes on stage, fills them with characters and landmarks, and reveals the stories that make them unique. Smart and mischievous, Pushpins uses a simple audience suggestion to map out a comedic playground for improvisers to explore. Bad Dog Artistic Director Julie Dumais Osborne began developing Pushpins almost ten years ago at a summer improv camp in British Columbia before refining it in Toronto, first with PROJECTproject, then with the Bad Dog Repertory Players. Now a Bad Dog staple, Pushpins embodies the company’s affinity for balancing absurdity with heart-felt honesty in long-form, unscripted comedy.
"I love the interplay between people and place...the indelible effect they have on shaping each other's identities," says Dumais Osborne, "It feels particularly fitting that a show about imaginary human geography has now travelled across the country and is performed all over Canada."
In the past three years, Pushpins has been presented on stages in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal and Halifax. This format studio affords participants the opportunity to workshop this format with its original director.

What is the Format Studio? Our core Studio Series classes (Ensemble, Narrative, Shortform & Musical Improv) explore broader categories of improvisational styles & approaches. The Format Studio is where we get specific. Each Format Studio delves into an individual existing model for performance & play within the canon of western improvisation (i.e. Harold, Cat’s Cradle, Pushpins, Story/Monologue-inspired Improv, Toronto, I Love You, etc.)... tailoring each teaching module to the specific needs and areas of specialization of the particular form being explored.

Who is this Format Studio for? Experienced improvisers with previous stage experience. This is a particularly ideal class for graduates of the Ensemble Studio. Familiarity with Harold/longform techniques an asset. Studio grad +

When? March-April 2019 | 1 level (weekday afternoon class)

Instructor: Julie Dumais Osborne

Julie in theatre.jpg

About the instructor: Julie has been Bad Dog's Artistic Director since 2010. She is an award-winning improviser, director and instructor who has done all of these things across North America, in Australia and on a boat. Previously, she spent nearly two decades working with the Canadian Improv Games in various roles including National Associate Artistic Director, Artistic Director of both Improv Camp & the Next Act Festival, National Head Judge and Regional Director of the Toronto & Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph tournaments. She is the co-creator of the internationally-franchised improv show format: catch23 IMPROV, is one half of performance comedy duo 10,000 to Flight and founded the Canadian Comedy Award-nominated improv collective PROJECTproject as well as the COMBUSTIONfestival which she now produces under the Bad Dog umbrella.

How to apply for the class: Audition or inquiry sent to

Duration: 2.5hrs/week for 8 weeks (1 level)

Price: $250 (+HST)

Please Note: In addition to the in-class hours, students will be invited to participate in one performance showcase of the format (this will be held on a Tuesday evening at 8pm).


Pushpins Studio
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If you have any questions regarding our classes, please don't hesitate to contact our Academy Director, Vance Gillis, at