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These are the must-see shows at Vancouver Improv Festival this month

The 21st Vancouver International Improv Festival takes place over five days this month and features captivating performers from around the world.

 Photo: vancouverimprovfest / Photo: vancouverimprovfest / Instagram

Ready to laugh your face off?

The 21st Vancouver International Improv Festival takes place over five days this month and features captivating performers from around the world.

The annual festival offers 40 unique performances, inspiring public workshops and an opening night gala to celebrate Vancouver’s booming improv scene, and "aims to celebrate spontaneity and collaboration through the art form of improvisation." Since the festivals inception, it has showcased over 1200 international and local performers for thousands of Vancouver theatre and comedy fans, it is one of North America’s longest running improv festivals.

The festival kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 24 with Opening Night Maestro! - a performance by an international cast with Keith Johnstone's classic format Maestro. Fourteen improvisors start, but only one will be left standing. Following that, the festival features a smorgasbord of shows with a variety of themes ranging from Shakespeare to combat anime to missed connections and more.

On Friday, Sept. 27, Nasty Women will serve audiences with sassy wit from some of the top female-identifying, fire-cracker comedians in Vancouver. They ladies will be laying down the laughs at the show along with Trio - a troupe comprised of improv legends Stephnie Weir (MadTV), Bob Dassie (Dasariski, Baby Wants Candy), and Rich Talarico (Dasariski, writer: Key & Peele).

On Sunday, Sept. 28,  Shakespeare After Dark will fuse highbrow Shakespeare with a side of improvisational mischief. In addition, guests will enjoy Papa?: improv comprised of four friends who build a world by embodying unique characters they use to explore the edges of reality.

The organizers note, however, that since improv is spontaneous theatre, festival performances may include strong languages and mature themes that may not be suitable for a younger audience. As such, performances are all ages but shows are rated 14A.

For those who are looking for an interactive improv experience, there are also multiple festival workshops available for improvisors of all experience levels.

The festival runs Sept. 24 -29 at The Cultch in east Vancouver.

Vancouver International Improv Festival Show Schedule 

Wednesday, Sept. 25:      
PEARL and The Festival Ensemble featuring PEARL (Los Angeles) and The Festival Ensemble directed by Coko Galore
Little Mountain Improv and Coko & Daphney featuring Little Mountain Improv (Vancouver) and Coko&Daphney (Toronto/Montreal)

Thursday, Sept. 26:         
Coko & Daphney and The Festival Ensemble featuring Coko&Daphney (Toronto/Montreal) and The Festival Ensemble
Non-Gratas and Fistful of Kicks featuring Non Gratas (Toronto) and Fistful of Kicks (Vancouver) with Andrew Phung

Friday, Sept. 27:             
Nasty Women and Trio
 featuring Nasty Women (Vancouver) and Trio (Los Angeles)
Lamabati and Catch Up featuring Lamabati (Israel) and Catch Up with Andrew Phung
Inside Voices and Papa? featuring Inside Voices (Vancouver) and Papa? (Portland)
The Festival Ensemble and PEARL featuring The Festival Ensemble and PEARL (Los Angeles)

Saturday, Sept. 28:         
The Festival Ensemble and Uncle Janes
 featuring The Festival Ensemble and Uncle Janes (Vancouver)
Shakespeare After Dark and Papa? featuring Shakespeare After Dark (Vancouver) and Papa? (Portland)
The Sunday Service and Lamabati featuring The Sunday Service (Vancouver) and Lamabati (Israel)
Missed Connections and Trio featuring Missed Connections with Andrew Phung and Trio (Los Angeles)

The 21st Vancouver International Improv Festival

When: Sept. 24 - 29 (Various times)

Where: The Cultch | 1895 Venables St, Vancouver

Cost: $18 - $22

For more information visit here.