Our Cities On Our Stages

Our Cities on Our Stages Symposium

Register and more details below*

Bad Dog Theatre Company is excited to announce the return of our diversity and inclusion conference.  On May 20th and May 21st, Our Cities on our Stages will return to continue the conversation on diversity and inclusion initiatives in Toronto improv companies and improv as a whole. Fully immersing itself over the weekend, Bad Dog will curate a series of workshops, presentations and discussion panels led by diversity and inclusivity thought-leaders - from within the unscripted comedy sector as well as neighbouring artforms facing similar challenges - to advise and engage participants on industry-specific issues. Under the company’s mandate to “elevate the artform”, Bad Dog looks not only to increase the accessibility of its own programming, but to share its findings to increase growth across many sectors. 

The Symposium will first guide us through the successes of the organization and community, accounting for the findings & outcomes of the past conference and past year.

Day 1 of Our Cities on Our Stages is open to the general public. Come listen to our assembled guests, ask questions, share stories, and engage in our public workshops.

Location: Center for Social Innovation - Annex 720 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5S 2R4 . Light breakfast and lunch provided.

9:30am - Meet and Greet. Meet our panelists and workshop leaders, and of course the other participants. Coffee and light refreshments provided.

10:30am - Institution Panel. Industry professionals from across North America come this year to focus in on "What is the goal" around Inclusion and Diversity:

Hayley Kellett (Improv Incubator Director at The Making-Box); Dani Alon (Co-founder and Education Director of the Improv Embassy, The Fembassy); Megan Gray (Artistic Director / Instructor / Performer at the Magnet Theater); Martha Stortz (Artistic Director of The Assembly, Bad Dog Featured Player); John Gebretatose  (Black and Funny Improv Festival, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for HUGE); Marina Mastros (iO West, Inclusion Panel at Old Town Improv Co); Etan Muskat (Int. Artistic Director at Bad Dog Theatre, Second City Main Stage); Carmine Lucarelli ( Artistic Director at Social Capital Theatre) Kevin Frank (Artistic Director at Second City Toronto)

12pm - Enjoy the conversation thus far over a slice of pizza. Share your thoughts with others and on the leading questions posted around the room.

1pm - Town Hall. An opportunity to generate questions and share what we have learned thus far. We'll brainstorm and work in small groups to spring into the workshops.

2pm - Workshops 1 and 2:

Where is your cup now? – Anand Rajaram (Artistic Director of @N@f@N@, Second City)
Performer workshop

Metaphysics and the liquid audience

This workshop will address how to direct outward assumptions by following inward impulses, escape the shackles of physical appearance by engaging with the audience on another plane, and provoke yourself and the audience to live for a moment in another place in time and space. This is an interactive workshop directed to those who identify with a diverse background and directed towards performers.

Consequences of the UncheckedCathy Paton MSW PhD. Cand. (www.delvinsocialarts.com)
Those who are not predominantly performers - directors, producers, casting directors, etc.

An interactive workshop that helps us go beyond intentions to address real-life patterns and impacts of power [in our improv institutions].

Day 2 is primarily aimed at educators and facilitators (directors, producers, administrators). We will revisit and expand on questions and items raised during our Day 1 sessions - breaking into work-groups focusing on the educational/training side of improvised theatre as well as the institutional/performance side of producing improvised comedy and fostering an inclusive environment. 

Location: Morning CSI Annex - 720 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5S 2R4
                 Afternoon* Bad Dog Theatre - 875 Bloor St. M6G 1M5
                 *No breakfast or lunch provided on Day 2

*The morning of Day 2 is open to the public. While the afternoon of Day 2 closed to Industry Professionals/those who came to Day 1. To inquire about participating in Day 2, please e-mail Hamed Dar at inclusion@baddogtheatre.com

9:30am Meet and Greet part 2 - Coffee provided (no breakfast) (open)

10:30am - Performer Panel and Institution Panel combine to share the learning's from the workshops and more. Open to the public*

12pm - Lunch, please prepare for your own lunch.

AFTERNOON (Closed to Industry)

1pm - Workshop 3

Inclusive Casting – Marina Mastros

A conversation about best practices for inclusive casting and hiring. How do we make sure POC, women, LGBTQIA, and other historically marginalized groups have an easy, visible path to positions of power in our theaters? Bring your best current methods to share, and learn new ways to disrupt traditional casting structures. 

2:30pm - Reflection and Action Items: Transitioning from the workshop into a reflection of the weekend and coming out with tangible action items.

4pm - End of Day -  Thank you to everyone who helped support and organize this and for all of you who were able to come!

Register for Day 1 and 2 of Our Cities on Our Stages

Register Now

Saturday, May 20 • 9:30am-4:30pm
Sunday, May 21 • 9:30 - 12pm

Pay What You Can
Suggested payment: $15
All funds go towards paying presenters and for accessible space.

Participants will enjoy a light breakfast (9:30am) 
& pizza lunch (12pm).

No one turned away for lack of funds.

If you choose the $0 option, you will need to enter in a credit card number, but will not be charged.

Special thank you to our sponsors CSI for the accessible location, Panago for the lunch and the Paintbox for breakfast.


Are you an improviser? A student of improv? A teacher of improv? A fan of improv? A person? Our Cities on Our Stages is for you.

The overarching goal of this symposium is - ultimately - for our improv/comedy stages & communities to better reflect the cities we live in. We see this inaugural gathering as a starting point for a sustained dialogue and ongoing institutional commitment to change and improved standards of inclusion. We’re very aware of how broad this is as a heading - and how many marginalized voices have yet to find a place of comfort and sense of belonging  in our classes, our shows, our audiences. Obviously, that won’t be solved in two days… but our hope is that all of our core collaborators will walk away with actionable ideas, expanded support networks (that reach between cities) and a schedule to reconvene and share our progress.


The event is sponsored by CSI and held at CSI Annex 720 Bathurst St. M5S 2R4 which is an accessible space. Day 1 and the morning of Day 2 are held at CSI.

For more information on the space please see: https://socialinnovation.org/location/csi-annex/

Please contact us regarding any specific accessibility needs and requests for participation in Our Cities on Our Stages. There will be volunteers and staff on-site available to assist those who may require assistance.  We are committed to working to have increased accessibility at our future symposiums. Bad Dog theatre itself has a set of stairs leading up to the theatres making it inaccessible to some. We acknowledge and deeply apologize for the inconvenience of having the afternoon of Day 2 at Bad Dog theatre, which is not a fully accessible space. We are committed to working to have increased accessibility at our future symposiums. Please contact inclusion@baddogtheatre.com if you have any additional questions or concerns about accessibility at the Our Cities on Our Stages symposium.


Please contact us should you require any specific accommodations in order to be able to participate. We are keen to explore all available avenues to welcome interested participants - inclusion@baddogtheatre.com