This week we are shining the spotlight on a fellow Badger endeavour, Big Chicken Improv. The act of improvisation (improv) is simply anything that is created without prior preparation. It might sound simple but involves a level of skill and talent to execute an entertaining performance.
The idea behind BCI, started in April 2017. The shows artistic director Carlee McTavish was happy to share their story. “Josh Loewen, Mark Maecker, Matthew Beard, Alex Sykes, and Trevor McTavish had a desire to continue creating and performing improv after leaving high school. As a result of having an established rapport, through the E.L. Crossley improv team, these five individuals decided to start Big Chicken Improv. What was at first a weekly improv jam at the local park has now evolved into a group of eleven dedicated performers who aim to not only see themselves grow as performers, but to see improv grow in the region and throughout local high schools. Big Chicken Improv brings their rich and diverse training, including Canadian Improv Games, The Making Box, Bad Dog Theatre, Improv University, Humber College Comedy Writing and Performing Program, and The Second City, to their performances.” The group has received a strong following and accolades throughout Canada and right here in St. Catharines. McTavish shares the vision of the group as, “BCI ultimately stems around getting more people involved in improv in the region eitheir as audience members or performers. We hope to help local teachers coach improv teams so that we can ultimately bring the Canadian Improv Games to Niagara. This would benefit a lot of the local schools that maybe can’t afford to send their students to Guelph for the Tri-City tournament.”
During their show on Nov 11, audience members enjoyed two hours of improvisation. There where some games that require audience participation, and the rest of the show was based off audience suggestions. The show format consisted of games and short form improvisation, followed by a long form improvisation. BCI aims to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to enjoy themselves and laugh while watching their performance.
In addition to their November 11 show at Suitcase in Point, another performance is scheduled at Showtime Comedy, 92 St. Paul Street on, January 6. McTavish implores fellow badgers to get involved. Wondering how? “… we run open groups every other week on Monday evenings 7:00 p.m— 9:00 p.m. where we aim to teach confidence and skills to those who have never done improv before, as well as those with lots of improv experience. It is a chance to have fun and play for two hours. For the most up-to-date information on the open group, people can head to our facebook page facebook.com/bigchickenimprov”