Whether they’re pretending to be monkeys, swinging from imaginary trees in the Amazon rainforest, or assuming any number of other identities, all the TSS Improv team members require is a little prompting from the audience, and a vivid imagination.
After placing first to claim gold in the Tri-City region, and the coveted triceratops trophy—which is their mascot—the Thorold acting enthusiasts recently returned from the nationals in Ottawa, placing eighth out of 18 improv teams from across the country.
Drama teacher and improv coach Lynn Farquharson told ThoroldNews, “I started improv at TSS five years ago, so we are a very new school to CIG (Canadian Improv Games) and have grown quickly. Tri-City used to be made up of Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph but now is one of the largest regions in Canada, including most of southern Ontario such as the Niagara region, Hamilton, Chatham, and Owen Sound.”
In Ottawa, students participated in workshops throughout the week, and were given a private tour of the West Block of Parliament from Niagara Centre MP, Vance Badaway.
Grade 12 student Michael Boisvert called the experience “Fantastic.”
“It was honestly surreal,” said Christine Janzen, describing the opportunity to take part at regional and national levels.
“The audience; the competition level; it was awesome.”
Janzen, who’s also in Grade 12, plans to attend Niagara College and will “try and volunteer with the Canadian Improv Games,” she said. “Three of us are graduating with the CIG.”
According to Farquharson, “CIG is a national non-profit organization which began 42 years ago as an improv tournament in Ottawa. It then spread throughout Ontario and then all over the country.”
She added, “This year, CBC was a major sponsor for the national tournament of the Canadian Improv Games. They are filming a six-part documentary on the Games to be aired this summer. They filmed our team in rehearsal and performance, as well as interviews with some team members, who may be featured.”
The CIG alumni include such Canadian stars as Seth Rogen and Sandra Oh, who filmed a thank you to CIG prior to her hosting SNL a couple weeks ago.
While teaching students to think and act on their feet, Farquharson said improv also sharpens skills in “Listening, advancing, making and accepting offers, raising the stakes, and working as a collective.”