Thursday, October 17, 2013

News: (Toronto) Impulse Festival Lineup announced (Press release)



Toronto, ON – October 17, 2013: Albert Schultz, Founding Artistic Director of Soulpepper Theatre Company, today announced details about the Impulse Festival, a brand new celebration of excellence in improvisational theatre in association with The National Theatre of the World, a Soulpepper Resident Company. From Thursday, December 12 to Sunday, December 15, the Young Centre for the Performing Arts will host eight improvisational troupes from around the world: The National Theatre of the World (NTOW; Toronto, ON); CRUMBS (Winnipeg, MB); Gordon's Big Bald Head (Edmonton, AB); The School of Night (London, United Kingdom); Combats Absurdes (Lyon, France); Improv Comedy Mumbai (Mumbai, India); Die Gorillas (Berlin, Germany); and Secret Impro Theatre (Melbourne, Australia).

Over the course of the Festival each troupe will perform their signature shows and offer workshops of varying intensity focused on a range of improvisational technique. There will also be a series of mash-up performances, where each troupe is paired with another in the Festival for some border-crossing improvisational antics.

The Festival will also include an attempt at the longest continuously improvised live soap opera. On the schedule for the Impulse Festival's Soap-a-Thon is 54 hours of live improv directed by Adam Meggido from The School of Night with Dana Andersen from Die-Nasty (Edmonton, AB). The Soap-a-Thon audience can expect an unprecedented experiment in long form improvisation performed by Toronto's top improvisers including Colin Mochrie, George Stroumboulopoulos, and members of the Impulse Festival guest troupes. "As fitting for December, the Soap-a-Thon takes place in Santa's Toy Shop. However I have a feeling we won't stay there long," said Matt Baram, Co-Artistic Director, NTOW. "Soap operas feed off of calamity and drama, so we will likely need to save Christmas, leave the North Pole, fall in love, go on a magical sled ride with Kris Kringle, rescue some elves, deck the halls, and, of course, Christmas wouldn't be the same in Toronto without visiting the mayor's office. And all before our final hour." The Soap-a-Thon is presented in association with Die-Nasty, The Live Improvised Soap Opera.

Showcase and Workshop tickets are on sale now.
Visit for more details. 

"The National Theatre of the World is over the moon to host the Impulse Festival with Soulpepper," said Matt Baram (Seed, CityTV) and Naomi Snieckus (Mr. D and The Strombo Show, CBC), Co-Artistic Directors, NTOW. "We make things up all the time but Soulpepper has made it possible for us to 'make up' the international improv festival of our dreams. We're thrilled to be hosting improv acts we've discovered in our travels, from Canada, India, France, Australia, Germany and the UK, which means a true cross section of Toronto can identify and wet themselves laughing in their own culturally diverse ways."


THE NATIONAL THEATRE OF THE WORLD (Soulpepper Resident Company)
 is a multi-disciplinary, Toronto-based, not-for-profit theatre company that creates exciting, provocative, and instantaneous theatre through the art of improvisation. This five-time Canadian Comedy Award winning and critically acclaimed company was founded in 2008, by Co-Artistic Directors Matt Baram (Seed, CityTV), Naomi Snieckus (Mr. D and The Strombo Show, CBC) and Ronald Pederson with the mandate of creating new Canadian work, asserting improvisation as a legitimate art form and encouraging the theatre and improvisation communities to come together. Through the production of four different shows, Impromptu Splendor (The Live Improvised Play), The Carnegie Hall Show (The Improvised Retrospective), The Soaps! (The Live Improvised Soap Opera), and The Script Tease Project, the company continues to bridge the gap between theatre and improvisation to this day by creating vivid, dramatic and complex full-length plays, radio dramas and inter-disciplinary variety shows.

At Impulse, NTOW will present The Script Tease Project: a sealed envelope containing two pages of a never-before-seen newly penned play is opened, the pages read cold and the rest…completely improvised!

CRUMBS is an improv theatre duo based in Winnipeg, MB. They have been performing since 1997 and have toured extensively throughout the world.

At Impulse, CRUMBS will perform CRUMBS freestyle comedy, a lo-fi long-form improvised show with DJ Hunnicutt.

GORDON'S BIG BALD HEAD has been an Edmonton comedy staple for more than 20 years, primarily presenting sketch and improv shows at the annual Fringe Festival. GBBH is Jacob Banigan and Mark Meer (voice of Commander Shepard in Mass Effect). The two cut their teeth on stage with Rapid Fire Theatre, Edmonton's premiere improv theatre company. The performers have also travelled to perform and teach in Atlanta, Los Angeles, London, throughout Germany and across Canada.

At Impulse they will perform their signature show, Gordon's Big Bald Head: taking a synopsis of another work – a play, movie, or book – they pass it off as their own, creating a monster of a show with compelling stories, intriguing characters and a cinematic scope.

THE SCHOOL OF NIGHT are part of Extempore Theatre Company, a British, London-based theatre company dedicated to expanding the possibilities of stage improvisation. The School was founded in 2005 as the result of a bet between actors Ken Campbell and Mark Rylance as to whether one could improvise Shakespeare so that it sounded like the real thing. Since then The School have toured internationally, including three year’s running at Edmonton Improvaganza, Edinburgh Fringe, Oslo, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Doha, and Elsinore Castle Denmark.

At Impulse they will perform their signature show, The School of Night, improvising lost masterpieces, summoning the muses and channeling the great poets of the past.

COMBATS ABSURDES Founded in 2010, Combats Absurdes is a French modern theatre group directed by Matthieu Loos, based in Lyon. Mainly staging scripted plays, Combats Absurdes works with contemporary playwrights such as Jon Fosse, Edward Albee and Jean-Luc Lagarce. International improv events attended include The Theatersport Cup in Berlin, and improv festivals in Berlin, Wurzburg, France, Austria, Norway, Canada, Italy, and Switzerland. Combats Absurdes works closely with the group Inédit Théâtre: Since 2010, they have together developed SLOW IMPRO. Engaging in their immediate surroundings with a physicality that Combats Absurdes is renowned for, they develop stories at a distinctly slow pace, using minimal facial expressions and very few gestures.

At Impulse Combats Absurdes will perform the Slow Impro Show.

IMPROV COMEDY MUMBAI has been in existence since 2009. It has performed in all of India's major cities. It has a 10 member cast and does both short form and long form performances. It has performed at international improv festivals in Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Seattle, and Chicago.

At Impulse they will recreate an entire Bollywood film right in front of the audience with Improvised Bollywood.

DIE GORILLAS from Berlin, Germany, premiered their first show The Pickle-Banana-Show, inspired by the Gorilla format, in the Ratibor Theatre in May of 1997. Today, they still perform it weekly, alongside other self-developed shows, such as Ick & Berlin. Apart from their four regular weekly shows, they also perform for companies, special events and for experimental projects. Die Gorillas run Berlin’s biggest school for improvised theatre, which reaches about 400 students per year. In 2001, Die Gorillas started their international festival for improvised theatre, "IMPRO", which has become one of the biggest festivals of its kind and brings together more than 30 artists from all over the world every March.

Their show at Impulse will be Three Songs – Three Stories which starts with one word from the audience. Each of the three players then has a song as an initiation to his character, from which three parallel stories unfold…and some more songs as well!

SECRET IMPRO THEATRE from Melbourne, Australia, aims to rediscover the cliff edge, to grab the challenge and risk of that unknown moment, to create theatre you will experience only there and then.

Gypsyprov, their show at the Festival, is wild, unscripted theatre. A gypsy family will weave tales of their travels, all sparked by audience suggestions.

Single Tickets: $20
4-Ticket Package: $72
TD Comfortable Price for Students: $15

Beginner 2 Hour Workshop: $50
Advanced 3 Hour Workshop: $65
2 Workshop Package: $80
3 Workshop Package: $120

Visit for more details.

*All tickets include service charge and HST

Tickets are available by calling the Young Centre box office at 416.866.8666 or by visiting Soulpepper Theatre Company is located at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane, in the Distillery Historic District, Toronto, ON.

2013 Soulpepper Lead Sponsors are: Scotiabank Group, TELUS and the Michael & Karen Vukets Family Foundation. Soulpepper gratefully acknowledges annual operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council.

The Impulse Festival is sponsored by BMO Financial Group.

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