Impulse Festival

Soulpepper and The National Theatre of the World bring the best of international improv to the Young Centre

Presented by Soulpepper in associate with The National Theatre of the World

Sean McCann, Alan Cox and Adam Meggido in The School of Night.

Looking to warm your belly with laughter on this chilly December weekend? Stop by the Young Centre for a dose of comedy delivered in its purest form by some of the world’s most celebrated improvisational theatre artists. Presented by Soulpepper in association with resident company The National Theatre of the World (NTOW), the Impulse Festival features eight troupes from around the world: NTOW (Toronto); Crumbs (Winnipeg); Gordon’s Big Bald Head (Edmonton); The School of Night (London, UK); Combats Absurdes (Lyon, France); Improv Comedy Mumbai (Mumbai, India); Die Gorillas (Germany); and Secret Impro Theatre (Melbourne, Australia).

Each troupe is scheduled to perform their signature shows as well as a series of mash-up performances, where each troupe is paired with another in the festival for an opportunity to combine comedic forces. Also on the bill: a series of improvisational workshops and a 55-hour improvised soap opera marathon—Christmas at Choke-Poke Toys—performed by Toronto’s top improvisers (entry is by donation and all proceeds go to Gilda’s Club of Greater Toronto). Watch the live webcast here.

If Thursday night’s opening performances by NTOW and The School of Night are anything to go by, this is the must-see comedy event of the season. NTOW’s Script Tease, an hour-long show in which performers Naomi Snieckus and Matt Baram ask a well-known Canadian playwright to write the first two pages of a new play, read it cold, and then improvise the rest, is a treat to watch. Thursday’s play was a darkly satirical piece called “Crazy Money” by the multi-talented Rick Miller. The story centres around a financial advice program host, Crazy (played by the hilarious Colin Mocherie), and two assistants played by Snieckus and Baram. Literally anything can and does happen in the improvised portion of the play, as these masters of creativity keep the narrative going using a variety of sound effects and material from the audience on topical subjects such as the Toronto Island Airport expansion.

Another troupe definitely worth checking out is London’s The School of Night, an erudite group of performers with rapier wit and a superior command of the English language. Sean McCann, Alan Cox and Adam Meggido will blow your mind and tickle your funny bone with their brilliant improv performed in the style of Chaucer and Shakespeare, spoken in rhyming couplets and iambic pentameter, no less. Truly a delightful comedy experience.

The Impulse Festival runs until December 15 at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. Visit for more information including a full schedule of show times. 

Show Dates: 
Thu, 2013-12-12 - Sun, 2013-12-15
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