February 23, 2019

Winnipeg
-11° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Driving ahead

Improv acts, visual artists, musicians and more get behind the wheel for festival's sweet 16

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/9/2015 (1248 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In the 16-year existence of the Winnipeg Improv Festival, the field of improvised comedy has been akin to an explosion seen in super-slow motion.

In the mid-'90s, local improv performers "could be doing shows for six people, and people didn't know what improv was," says festival director and founder Stephen Sim, best known as half of the legendary Winnipeg improv unit Crumbs, alongside Lee White.

The TV Show Whose Line Is It Anyway? boosted the comedy form into the wider public consciousness, and Sim and White found themselves not only teaching improv but touring the world with their show. After playing festivals around the world, Sim felt Winnipeg could sustain its own fest.

Thus began the If... festival, with Sim working to expand the parameters of the form beyond the bare-bones format of performers on a stage reacting to suggestions from the audience. In past fests, collaborations have encompassed slam poetry and filmmaking, and in the 16th edition, it incorporates elements of hip-hop, visual art and game shows.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/9/2015 (1248 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In the 16-year existence of the Winnipeg Improv Festival, the field of improvised comedy has been akin to an explosion seen in super-slow motion.

In the mid-'90s, local improv performers "could be doing shows for six people, and people didn't know what improv was," says festival director and founder Stephen Sim, best known as half of the legendary Winnipeg improv unit Crumbs, alongside Lee White.

The TV Show Whose Line Is It Anyway? boosted the comedy form into the wider public consciousness, and Sim and White found themselves not only teaching improv but touring the world with their show. After playing festivals around the world, Sim felt Winnipeg could sustain its own fest.

Thus began the If... festival, with Sim working to expand the parameters of the form beyond the bare-bones format of performers on a stage reacting to suggestions from the audience. In past fests, collaborations have encompassed slam poetry and filmmaking, and in the 16th edition, it incorporates elements of hip-hop, visual art and game shows.

"We've always been looking for collaborations with other disciplines," Sim says.

"A lot of festivals are just a showcase festival, where you bring in a group, they do a self-contained show, and the next group does the next show."

"I usually try to showcase at least one group. We're doing that a little bit with North Coast from New York City," Sim says. "But the rest is collaborative experimentation: We've got a crazy idea. Let's try it.

"And this festival is an environment where we get to do that."

On the menu:

THE FESTIVAL SAMPLER PLATTER

KING'S HEAD PUB, TUESDAY, SEPT. 29, AT 9 P.M.

This free show serves as an introduction between many of the festival players and their prospective audiences, hosted by Crumbs with music by DJ Hunnicutt. This is the only festival event that doesn't take place at the Gas Station Arts Centre.

THE DND IMPROV SHOW: UNTOLD STORIES

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 30, AT 8 P.M.

The annual fringe festival mainstay gets an autumn revival, also serving as a fundraiser for the Gas Station Arts Centre.

TIME HOP

THURSDAY, OCT. 1, AT 8 P.M.

Improv comedy bounces off a musical soundtrack by local DJ Mama Cutsworth, with another fringe favourite, the Big Stupid Improv Show, slotted in the second half of the evening.

THE KNOWLEDGE & PUNISHMENT IMPROV SHOW

FRIDAY, OCT. 2, AT 8 P.M.

Crumbs' Lee White plays game-show host, testing ensemble players for their know-how and promising "cruel and unusual" punishment for the losers.

THE BIZARRO IMPROV/COMEDY HYBRID SHOW

FRIDAY OCT. 2, AT 10:30 P.M.

Standup comics have their sets turned into improv scenes. This show features the New York City improv group North Coast, including the amazing 2015 Female World Champion Beatboxer Kaila Mullady.

SCRIPT NO SCRIPT SHOW

SATURDAY, OCT. 3, AT 8 P.M.

Improv meets visual art in this show featuring improvisers working against a live-feed backdrop supplied by artist Kal Barteski.

"It's really fun to have that extra element," Sim says. "Lee and I have done a show like this on tour, but we haven't done it with this artist."

CRUMBS WITH KEVIN MCDONALD

SATURDAY, OCT. 3, AT 10:30 P.M.

Crumbs' Stephen Sim and Lee White are joined by Kevin McDonald of the Kids in the Hall in a second collaboration inspired by the success of last year's partnership. The North Coast troupe returns with Mullady for this final show.

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

History

Updated on Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 9:49 AM CDT: Replaces photo

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us