Western Comedy's First Longform Improv Summit

On November 18th, the Western Comedy Club will be putting on its Inaugural Longform Improv Summit, an event which brings improv teams from across Ontario and Quebec together for a night of comedy. This is the first summit to be hosted by Western, and it is the first of its style in the province.

Over the years, the Western Comedy Club has strived to bring comedy to Western students by running improv and writing workshops. While the writing portion of the club helps prospective comedians fine tune their work and try out new kinds of writing, improv meetings focus on developing listening skills and helping people come together to build a scene.

“There are a lot of skills that you develop just by doing more and more improv,” says Isabella Vesely, the club’s VP Communications.

Nothing in an improv scene is premeditated, so being able to understand your fellow performers and work with them is essential.

While improv is always about cooperation, members aren’t afraid to get a bit competitive. Each year, the club forms an improv team which travels to schools throughout Ontario and Quebec to compete in improv summits.

Kate Ernewein, the club’s VP Events and veteran member of the improv team, says that a summit “usually entails travelling across Ontario to a university, performing scenes competitively against other schools, attending workshops, and hanging out with other teams at socials.” It is an excellent way for performers to build relationships with improvisers across the province.

The sense of community gained is the most satisfying part of performing for most. Vesely describes what the summits mean to her: “Everyone comes together during a summit because we are all into improv. It’s an incredible feeling to be in a room full of like-minded people, getting the opportunity to do something you love, watching other people be amazing at improv, bonding with your team over the weekend, and making new friends from other schools.”

What sets Western’s summit apart from the rest, however, is its longform format: “most summits have multiple rounds of shorter scenes to give the teams more opportunities to perform but we are trying something new; teams will get about 15 minutes per scene,” says Vesely.

“This allows the teams to explore the space of their scene and develop patterns and ‘games’ that they can revisit,” adds Ernewein. It will surely be a night to remember.

For anyone interested in trying improv for themselves, meetings run every Monday from 7-9 p.m. in Somerville House 3305, and they are open to anyone.

“If you are interested in doing improv then you have everything you need,” says Ernewein. “You have spent your life acting and reacting, so you already got the special stuff to get you started.”

The Western Comedy Club prides itself on being a safe place for anyone to try out different forms of comedy.

Western Comedy’s Inaugural Longform Improv Summit starts at 7 p.m. in 3M 3250. The price of admission is $10 with a student rate of $5. Tickets will be sold at the door, but you can buy them in advance on November 16th outside the bookstore and November 17th in the UCC atrium. Come on out for a night of fun and laughs!

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