The Festival Ensemble:

Vinny Francois has over 20 years of experience as a professional improviser in both English and French and is an award-winning instructor. A founding director of the Montreal Improv Theatre, he has performed in more shows and venues across Canada than he cares to count. He was the Executive Producer of Mprov: The Montreal Improv Festival and he runs Camp Zipzap, an improv camp for adults in Quebec. Vinny is excited to share the thrill of doing improv with anyone willing to learn.

Tyra Banda has been improvising for the past six years. She got her start at the University of Alberta Improv Group, which gave her opportunities to perform in Seattle, Vancouver, as well as throughout Edmonton. Tyra was also part of Rapid Fire Theatre for two years, but left for Toronto this summer to pursue a diploma of Comedy Writing and Performance at Humber College.

Hayley Kellett is a peach-loving, neon-haired improviser hailing from Guelph, ON. She is the Improv Incubator Director of The Making-Box, Guelph Comedy Festival board member and founder of The Phlegm Fatales, Guelph’s first all-women and non-binary improv troupe. Hayley an alumnus of Second City Tour Co. and is a Canadian Comedy Award Nominee (Best Female Improviser, 2015). Other career highlights include stage-kissing Whose Line Is It Anyway? star Colin Mochrie on the mouth. Twice.

Jay Reid is Co-Founder of The Making-Box, southern Ontario’s award-winning live comedy theatre and improv education centre with locations in Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo. Jay has had the pleasure of teaching and performing at improv festivals across North America and is delighted to be in Winnipeg for his first time.

Kevin Ramberran is an improviser, actor, director, producer, and DJ by night (and works in finance by day). A lover of most things artistic, Kevin is a founding member of the Winnipeg improv group Club Soda. A lover of hip-hop and comedy, Kevin is keen on making mouths laugh and making heads nod.

Jonathan Mourant is a trans-disciplinary performer, producer, and also a robot learning how to be human. They have been improvising for just under a decade and have performed and learned at festivals and workshops across Canada, including the Winnipeg Improv Festival and Toronto SketchFest. This year, Jonathan wrote and directed Here Together for the 2019 Winnipeg Fringe Festival and created Jon After Hours, an experimental late night talk show featuring local personalities. Recently, they have begun performing drag as Nora Vision, and are thrilled at the opportunities to combine improv, theatre, and drag into their own unique performance.

Local Players:

Jaydin Pommer is a comedian from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is a member of the sketch comedy group Family Dinner and has performed improv at various festivals all across the country. She is five foot eight and not great at writing bios, but she is still very excited to perform for you.

Kristina Guevarra is a filipinax cross-over performer from Winnipeg, MB. She started performing improv theatre through the Canadian Improv Games as a student player in 2012. She is no stranger to the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and has travelled nationally to perform in a handful of national improv festivals. Along with dabbling in stand-up and sketch comedy, she also produces, performs and teaches with her own improv company HeadQuarters Improv. Kristina is so excited to perform with the Winnipeg Improv Festival for her second year in a row!

Jon Kornelsen has performed and taught improv for over ten years. You may have seen him on stage with Parking Lots (2011-2016), in the Winnipeg Fringe Festival (2012 – 2015), or with Make ‘Em Ups Improv in Halifax (2014). Now, he spends his time teaching improv and drama to teenagers.

MITCH KROHN joined the Crosseyed Rascals in 2002. He is a man of a thousand faces.  In 2016 Mitch suffered a major spine injury and a severe stroke that left his ability perform “physical comedy” extremely altered. He has to rely on his wits – god help us all.

Ronald George Moore have been performing mprov comedy for decades, but professionally for two weeks.  He is a member or former member of the comedy troupes Fiddle Stix, The Kookie Jar and Broken Babies.  Check out The Manitoba Moneyshot Podcast for all things RGM.

Celebrate Everything (the storytellers)

Gursevak was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario. He previously worked in the public service and is a certified public health inspector who is now pursuing a degree in Education at the University of Manitoba. He is a follower of the Sikh faith, a humanist, an avid food lover and loves to travel. He lives in Winnipeg with is beautiful wife and loves to volunteer with different causes. 

Calvin Loi is an undergraduate student majoring in accounting at the Asper School of Business. Throughout his academic career, he has and continues to demonstrate a strong work ethic and commitment to his community. In the past, Calvin has served as Co-President of a social justice group called Hope for the Homeless and as Student Representative on the Winnipeg School Division’s Student Advisory Committee. This volunteer work received recognition from His Worship Brian Bowman, who noted that Calvin’s efforts contribute to building a safer and stronger City of Winnipeg. In addition, Calvin is currently serving as the Adult Ambassador General for Folklorama, where he spreads Folklorama’s mission of celebrating diversity and promoting cultural understanding. In his free time, Calvin enjoys watching curling and seeing the strategy develop!

One Great Winnipeg (the storytellers)

Featured in Picture This

Ghost Stories (the storyteller)

Local Showcase Groups!

ImproVision are veterans of 16 Winnipeg Fringe Festivals, one Edmonton Fringe Festival, two tours of duty in Puerto Vallarta and a handful of Winnipeg IF and Winnipeg Comedy Festivals. CBC Manitoba called them “the kings of short-form improv” but you can call them Alan MacKenzie, Ed Cuddy, George McRobb and Audra Lesosky.

The Crosseyed Rascals have been performing together for the past 18 years.  They are known for their clean improv, but aren’t afraid to get a little dirty every once in a while.

Club Soda is an improv group powered by friendship. One of Winnipeg’s most regularly active groups, Club Soda was founded in 2016 and can be found performing regularly at Winnipeg’s comedy bar Wee Johnny’s every month. With a desire to bring genuine moments to the stage and hearty laughter to boot, Club Soda is always excited to welcome new members to the club.

Public Improv Workshop with Vinny!

TOTAL IMPROV: Ok, you’ve heard about saying yes and miming and storytelling and connecting with your partner and making strong choices and all that great stuff. Super! Now let’s try and do all of them at once! This workshop presents a series of exercises that allow you to use all of the skills you’ve learned at the same time to build a fuller, richer scene.

Sun, Oct 27th 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Gas Station Arts Centre

Email us at winnipegimprovfestival (@) gmail (.) com for details

The Festival is organized by:

Stephen Sim is the founder of the Winnipeg Improv Festival way back in 2000. He is one half of the duo Stephen & Caity and one-half of the international duo CRUMBS, so he is used to being a part of something. He has performed and taught master classes in improvisation all over the world for close to two decades. He is also a co-founder of “The Improv Company” and a lifelong improviser.

Caity Curtis is an improviser, performer and producer. She is a co-founder of “The Improv Company” and one half of the duo “Stephen & Caity“. She is the Associate Artistic Director of this festival. She has travelled the country and led workshops and directed shows for years. She is amazing.

Archives of Festival performers from years gone by:

Kevin McDonald is a founding member of The Kids in the Hall and a wonderful person. You might know him from his many credits on the televsion, you might know him from being hilarious onstage, or you might just know him.

Tony Beeman performs regularly as part of Seattle’s Unexpected Productions, where he directs, teaches Unexpected’s Performance class, serves as Artistic Associate and manages Improv Anonymous, UP’s resident longform group. Off-stage, Tony loves graphic design, illustration, writing, photography, everything Seattle, his wife, Jeannine, and his dog, Jane Boston.

Shawn Norman has been improvising around Vancouver for over 10 years. He is currently a member of Little Mountain Improv and also performs with Uncle Janes Crystal Queer Comedy. He has performed in festivals across North America, most recently at the Combustion Festival in Toronto, and is an occasional director and coach for improv groups in the city. This is his second time performing in the Winnipeg Improv Festival.

Elizabeth Brammer lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is a company member of Unexpected Productions, and an ensemble member of Improv Anonymous and Mr. Snake. Liz has a BFA in theater performance from Denison University, and has studied, directed, and/or performed improv here and there, including at Chicago’s Second City, LA’s Groundlings Theater, The Hideout Theater and ColdTowne Theater in Austin, Paper Street Theater in Victoria, Seattle Experimental Theater, and the Edinburgh Festival. She has directed half a dozen or so improvised long form shows and performed in many others.

Mike Hammond is filled with shame, bitterness, and regret. HILARIOUS! As a stand-up comedian, he’s natural born storyteller, Mike takes you through the personal details of the oddities tent that is his life. He has performed and taught improvised theatre all over the country and currently is the Artistic Director and a cast member with St. John’s based improv group, ‘Stanley Braxton Improv Co.’

Danielle Browne first began her improv journey in grade eleven. After a long hiatus and an education degree, she finally took the plunge at age 26 and enrolled in classes with Rapid Fire Theatre in Edmonton Alberta. Danielle has been a cast member with the company since 2014 and is so happy to be a part of the improv community again. When she’s not improvising Danielle can be seen “shaping young minds” as a teacher, cuddling her dog Fergus, or planning her next trip to exotic locations.

Bob L’Heureux has been improvising since 2012. He’s a member of Rapid Fire Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta. He has also just had his tonsils out. OUCH! He’s very excited to be participating in the Winnipeg International Improv Festival.

A Nigerian-born, former Calgarian, Ify Chiwetelu quit a job in the energy sector to pursue her creativity. In doing so, Ify charted her own path to form a career as a stand-up comic, improv performer, and comedy writer. She has written articles for CBC Comedy and was a contributing writer for season two of CBC’s hit television show, BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW.

Ben Sellick plays piano and does improv. He did both at the U of Manitoba for some years, and now works as a pianist, and writes music for choirs and movies. He enjoys cycling, podcasts, Nic Cage, Werner Herzog, pasta, and the indomitable spirit of Winnipeg.

The Festival is organized by:

Stephen Sim is the founder of the Winnipeg Improv Festival way back in 2000. He is one half of the duo Stephen & Caity and one-half of the international duo CRUMBS, so he is used to being a part of something. He has performed and taught master classes in improvisation all over the world for close to two decades. He is also a co-founder of “The Improv Company” and a lifelong improviser.

Caity Curtis is an improviser, performer and producer. She is a co-founder of “The Improv Company” and one half of the duo “Stephen & Caity“. She is the Associate Artistic Director of this festival. She has travelled the country and led workshops and directed shows for years. She is amazing.

Local Performers:

The Local Ensemble: Jonathan Mourant, Anna Currie, Kristina Guevarra, Frances Koncan, Micaela Crighton, Mike Scott, Brigette Sabourin, Jaydin Pommer, Laurie MacDonell, Luke Cecelon and Riley Paull.

They have been assembled just for this show. You might have seen them perform already at a couple of the free pre-festival shows (at the Good Will or at Little Brown Jug). But you are going to want to catch their sets at the festival. They will perform in the Fri, Oct 19th late show and at the Sat, Oct 20th late show. Both shows are at 10:30pm and are at the Gas Station Arts Centre.

Family Dinner is a group of 5 sexually active young comedians from Winnipeg, MB. With their absurd take on the classic sketch format, these kids are hungry for the belt. If you throw a tomato at them they will surely catch it and cook it up for you.

Catch their show: Thu, Oct 17th 8pm at the GSAC

Club Soda will be performing as a trio at the festival. (Laurie, Luke and Kevin)

Catch their set: Fri, Oct 19th at 8pm at the GSAC

Unexpected Results will be performing as a trio at the Festiva (because trios are trendy now I suppose).

Catch their set: Fri, Oct 19th at 8pm at the GSAC

The Horrible Friends will not be performing as a trio. (Luke and Shawn)

Catch their set: Fri, Oct 19th at 8pm at the GSAC

Snicker-Snack is a female-powered duo on it’s way to its 2nd anniversary. Micaela and Anna twist together the serious, silly, and sometimes true to create stories which will make you think, laugh, and maybe even melt your heart.

Catch their set: Sat, Oct 20th at 8pm at the GSAC

You will also enjoy the onstage performances of:

Some experts in the “The More You Know” show on Fri, Oct 19th at 10:30pm

Some writers in the “MIND READERS” and the “Haiku Deathmatch” show on Sat, Oct 20th at 8pm

Our guests last year at the festival:

Dave Morris is a speaker, teacher, and storyteller, but mostly he’s an improviser. He’s been teaching, producing and performing improvisation around Canada and the world since the turn of the century. He is the artistic director of the award-winning Paper Street Theatre co. in Victoria B.C., was a long-time volunteer and regional director for the Canadian Improv Games, and performs his one-man improvised storytelling shows to high acclaim. He has performed and taught at festivals around the world, including Seattle, Montreal, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Chicago, and many more across Canada. And he probably likes you already.

Meags Fitzgerald is a Montreal based writer and illustrator. Over the last 12 years, Meags has performed and taught improv in theatres across Canada, in the United States and Australia. In recent years she has been an ensemble member at Paper Street Theatre’s Improv Festival, Toronto’s COMBUSTIONfestival, Halifax’s East Coast Improv Festival, and at the Vancouver International Improv Festival. With her troupe Quest of the Dragon King, she’s also performed at the Ottawa Improv Festival and toured the Northeastern USA. She is lucky enough to be in a duo, We’re So Strong, with her oldest, bestest pal, Dave Morris. Meags is also an award-winning graphic novelist and an aspiring circus aerialist.

Tony Beeman performs regularly as part of Seattle’s Unexpected Productions, where he directs, teaches Unexpected’s Performance class, serves as Artistic Associate and manages Improv Anonymous, UP’s resident longform group. Off-stage, Tony loves graphic design, illustration, writing, photography, everything Seattle, his wife, Jeannine, and his dog, Jane Boston.

Megan Gray is the Artistic Director of the Magnet Theater in NYC, 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, Canada and Europe, as well as companies and organizations. She also does a lot of yoga.

Stepheny Hunter is an actor and improviser currently living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She’s recently graduated from Dalhousie’s Fountain School of Performing Arts Acting Program and has been producing and performing in improv shows over the past four years. She has worked with Make ‘Em Ups Improv Company as a performer, producer and teacher, as well as was a member of the East Coast Improv Festival 2015 and 2016 Ensemble. Recently she has been working on a monthly improv show called Hello City, named after the Barenaked Ladies’ song about how much they hate Halifax. Stepheny has improvised and trained in cities across Canada, but is excited to be coming back to her hometown to be a member of the IF 2017 International Ensemble.

Joel Carter is an accomplished palliative care and pain specialist, author, speaker, storyteller and artist. Born and bred in Winnipeg – he received his medical degree from the University of Manitoba, completed his pain and palliative fellowship at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University in Boston, and training at the Physician Leadership College at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. Carter previously worked as an Emergency Room Doctor in both Duluth & Monticello, Minnesota and Winnipeg, Canada. He practices Pain and Palliative Medicine in Minneapolis where he speaks and lectures on various topics related to quality of life support, the life lessons of his patients share with him on meaning and life purpose, and the integration of creative art process with healing arts practice. He was named by Minnesota Monthly as Best Doctor in 2017, 2016, 2015 & Best Doctor for Women in 2014 for Palliative Medicine – Hospice. Carter’s clinical interests include the use of storytelling and narrative as they pertain to the psychosocial aspects of dying patients and their families. He has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Reader’s Digest and the Annals of Emergency Medicine. He is the author of “Lava Lamp Lessons – Writings, Stories, and other Free Associations,” and “Rockpeople – The Chester Creek Inuksuit Anthology” which became a sold out regional hit in Minnesota. The sequel work “Rockpeople – Beyond Chester Creek” published in 2012 has garnered multi-award winning recognition and accolades. He and his wife, along with their two beautiful children currently live in Minneapolis.

*Catch him telling true stories on Sat, Oct 21st at 8PM in the show “Words To Live By

We’re so Strong: Dave Morris (Victoria) and Meags Fitzgerald (Montreal) have known each other for a very long time, and they’re still friends. It’s probably because they both like their improv with a strong sense of story, and just a dash of darkness. This cross-country duo will delight you with their dark, yet playful, style of improvised theatre.

*Catch their set on on Fri, Oct 20th 8PM

The Festival is organized by:

Stephen Sim is the founder of the Winnipeg Improv Festival way back in 2000. One half of the duo “Stephen & Caity”. One half of the international duo CRUMBS. He has performed and taught masterclasses in improvisation all over the world for well over a decade. He is also the cofounder of “The Improv Company” and a life long improviser.

Caity Curtis is an improviser, performer and producer. She is cofounder of “The Improv Company and one half of the duo “Stephen & Caity”. She is the Associate Artistic Director of this festival as well as the Regional Director of the Canadian Improv Games in Manitoba. She is amazing.

Meet our Local Heroes:

HUNKS is a sketch comedy troupe from Winnipeg, Canada. Their distinct brand of finely tuned nonsense makes HUNKS shows an engaging and unique experience. They have performed in festivals across North America including Just For Laughs Northwest, San Francisco Sketchfest, Chicago Sketchfest, and Toronto Sketchfest. They also host a weekly podcast with past guests including Mark Forward, Pat Thornton, Graham Clark, Mark Little, Jackie Kashian, and many more. It can be found at www.hunkscomedy.com

*Catch their set on on Thu, Oct 19th 8PM

President Bear is a local sketch comedy troupe that formed in 2016. They have performed in the Winnipeg Comedy Showcase, The Winnipeg Fringe, and are a regular feature in “Skit or Die” at Wee Johnny’s Pub. President Bear’s sketches can be described as dark, hilarious, and about 5 minutes each.

*Catch their set on on Thu, Oct 19th 8PM

Tim Gray got his start in comedy doing improv at the University of Manitoba many years ago. Member of HUNKS, releaser of comedy album and booker at Wee Johnny’s – check out www.zellers.biz for more information.

*Catch his set on on Thu, Oct 19th 8PM with HUNKS and on Sat, Oct 21st at 10:30PM in the show “Ghost Stories”

Rémi Authier is a friendly Montrealer who moved to Winnipeg almost two years ago to escape the town of Regina where he was exiled to work for the national broadcaster. He is a journalist for Radio-Canada and a member of the french improv league La LIM. Rémi is so bilingual he tends to speak both in French and English simultaneously. He nevertheless still requires subtitles when watching movies in the language of Shakespeare.

*Catch his set on on Wed, Oct 18th 8PM at the CCFM

Ashley Burdett was born and raised in Winnipeg and dang, she loves this wintery, mosquito filled city. She has been doing improv for over 11 years, most recently with Breaking Dads and Dungeons & Dragons Improv. She has also appeared in The Winnipeg Comedy Festival, the Oddblock Comedy Festival and at the Fringe Festival in The Humourists. She won the title of Rumor’s Funniest Person with a Day Job in 2016. Her style has been described as “thoughtful, honest and wickedly silly” and comedy makes her really happy.

*Catch her set on on Thu, Oct 19th 8PM in the Sketch Ensemble

Brigitte Sabourin is a local improviser and curmudgeon. She is one half of the Theatresports duo Third Wheels, and improvises with University of Winnipeg Improv and Common Crow Improv Co. She also coaches a Canadian Improv Games team. She likes snack platters and birds.

*Catch their set on on Fri, Oct 20th 8PM and Sat, Oct 21st 8PM with the Local Ensemble

Jesse Bergen has been improvising for over ten years. He’s also a writer, designer, and podcaster. He enjoys activism, wordplay, and murder mysteries that take place on trains.

*Catch their set on on Fri, Oct 20th 8PM and Sat, Oct 21st 8PM with the Local Ensemble

Sam Antonick is committed to making you smile and laugh. Improvisation has been a love of mine for the past 4 years.

*Catch their set on on Fri, Oct 20th 8PM and Sat, Oct 21st 8PM with the Local Ensemble

Jessina is a local actress, director, and writer who also dabbles in wardrobe consulting as well. She is very excited to say that this is her 2nd year performing in the Improv Festival and is so thankful to be apart of the festival with such talented artists. You can catch Jessina on Shaw TV’s Millworth.

*Catch her set on on Thu, Oct 19th 8PM in the Sketch Ensemble

Sarah Jane Martin is a local actress, playwright, and comedic jack-of-all trades. She recently wrote and directed the highly successful play “The Doula” for the 2017 Winnipeg Fringe Festival. She often performs at the local sketch comedy showcase “Skit or Die” under the name “The Glen Murray Experience” alongside her partner Dan Huen. You may have seen her in a recent series of Recycle Everywhere commercials in which she is reprimanded by giant anthropomorphic raccoons for not practicing proper recycling habits.

*Catch her set on on Thu, Oct 19th 8PM in the Sketch Ensemble

Bohdan Dyck has been in the Improv scene since grade ten when he started on his high school Improv team. He has made the journey from High school Improv to a University player and coach as well as affiliation with Common Crow as a producer and workshopper. Bohdan Dyck is on his 6th year of improv and 3rd year with The Winnipeg Improv Festival. He is very excited to be back again for another fun and hilarious festival in his home town of Winnipeg.

*Catch their set on on Fri, Oct 20th 8PM and Sat, Oct 21st 8PM with the Local Ensemble

Taylor Owens is a local performer with many years experience in improv, stage comedy, and low budget high school musicals. Taylor has performed in the Winnipeg IF, and the Winnipeg Fringe Fest. She is a cast member of the Dungeons and Dragons Improv show, as well as Sidetrack Bandits sketch comedy. She is also a volunteer for the Manitoba Chapter of the Canadian Improv Games.

*Catch her set on on Thu, Oct 19th 8PM in the Sketch Ensemble

Cathy Herbert is just some fucking comedian. She is a member of the sketch troupe President Bear and you can catch her stand up act in and arounnnnnnn bla blarg plorp *fart sound*

*Catch her set on on Thu, Oct 19th 8PM in the Sketch Ensemble and in President Bear

Carine Roy is a multilingual improviser who is fluent in French, english and Frenglish. Elle débute sa 5e saison avec la LIM (Ligue d’improvisation du Manitoba) cette automne and is thrilled to participate in the Winnipeg Improv Festival pour la première fois. Hopefully she can woo you with her Franco-Manitoban joie de vivre, or at the very least elle souhaite vous faire rigoler un p’tit peu.

*Catch her set on on Wed, Oct 18th 8PM at the CCFM

Anna E.N. Currie has been improvising for the last decade since she first got her start through the Canadian Improv Games. She likes fall, philosophizing, and (vegan) cake and is so so excited for the most wonderful time of the year (no not Christmas)!

*Catch their set on on Fri, Oct 20th 8PM and Sat, Oct 21st 8PM with the Local Ensemble

Angie St. Mars is a Winnipeg-based comedian and sketch comic. She has been featured in Winnipeg Comedy Festival, the Winnipeg Comedy Showcase and Oddblock Comedy Festival. She writes and performs regularly with local sketch comedy troupe President Bear. She is thrilled to be part of Winnipeg Improv Festival.

*Catch her set on on Thu, Oct 19th 8PM in the Sketch Ensemble and in President Bear

Mack Norberg

-has been doing improv for 10 years -has never performed in the Winnipeg Improv Festival before -hopes to do well -has NO fear -has made mistakes -hopes you enjoy the show/your life

*Catch their set on on Fri, Oct 20th 8PM and Sat, Oct 21st 8PM with the Local Ensemble

Michael MacDonald has been improvising in the Winnipeg scene for 9 years now. Falling in love with the art-form in high school, he has spent the last 7 years coaching improv teams at Garden City Colligate to compete in the CIG! This year he also has the honour of directing University of Manitoba Improv! He also loves magic and sleight of hand!

*Catch their set on on Fri, Oct 20th 8PM and Sat, Oct 21st 8PM with the Local Ensemble

Ryan Clement is a PhD candidate with the University of Waterloo Department of English Language and Literature and a member of the University of Waterloo Games Institute, where he researches the relationship between emergent narrative, game mechanics, and participatory fan communities; as well as the possible use of this interaction for new forms of education and intercultural communication. In addition to his game studies research, he teaches at the University of Winnipeg and Brandon University. Ryan has travelled to approximately seventy countries, often spending his summers teaching future astronauts and Elon Musks at the International Space University how to use an Oxford comma. He is no stranger to improv, having graduated from Toronto’s Second City Training Centre and performed as a regular cast member with Waterloo’s Theatre on the Edge.

Plus more still to come