June 17–27: After five years as comedy institution Rapid Fire Theatre’s artistic director, Amy Shostak is hanging up her clown shoes—but not without first flooding the city with dozens of international “alt” comedians during the 15th annual Improvaganza, a 10-day festival from June 17-27 of improv, stand-up and sketch masters that’ll make you laugh in ways never thought possible. (Citadel Theatre, 9828 101A Ave., rapidfiretheatre.com)
The outgoing leader and downtowner Amy Shostak tells us all about the upcoming festival and her fondest memories.
Q: WHAT WILL YOU MISS MOST?
I loved collaborating with such a passionate, skilled ensemble. Becoming a solid improviser takes time and dedication. It’s been an honour to watch them grow and take risks together. They’re also just so fun to be around.
Q: WHAT’S THE BIGGEST RISK YOU TOOK?
Moving us in 2012 from the Varscona Theatre in Old Strathcona to the Citadel Theatre downtown. We took a leap of faith, uprooted our whole community, in the hope of growing our programming. It’s been Rapid Fire’s goal to buy our own theatre for the last 15 years, and I knew if we wanted to do that, we’d need to produce more.
Q: WHAT CAN WE EXPECT AT IMPROVAGANZA 2015?
It’s sincerely my favourite time of the year. The weather is gorgeous, Churchill Square is alive, and then we parachute in 45 of the most charming people from across the globe. Some of our visiting performers are improvisers from Argentina, Germany, or Norway, who find creative ways to communicate without language. Every night is different, and there is something for everyone.