Tightrope Impro Theatre is a company specializing in the art of Improvisation. We produce professional improvised theatre and provide a variety of training rooted in Impro.
Both Impro and Improv are short for Improvisation. Keith Johnstone’s seminal book where he laid out many of the theories, practices and games that are still used today, is called IMPRO. Keith began his work at the Royal Court Theatre in London, eventually taking it to the streets around Europe, and this was the shortened term they used. Meanwhile, as groups started appearing in the US, they adopted “improv”. To this day, Impro is more commonly used in Europe, while Improv has spread throughout the US and Canada.
As improv theatres grew across the US, it attracted the stand-up comedy community, and many improv theatres have become a combo of theatrical improvisation and stand-up comedy, with a focus on jokes and a quick laugh.
We have chosen Impro for our work at the Tightrope Studio & Theatre, because our work is deeply rooted in the work of our friend and mentor Keith. It connects us to not only the long tradition of theatrical improvisation, but also of using improvisation as a technique for creating and training in theatre.
By calling our work Impro Theatre, we hope to make Tightrope a home for other theatre techniques like mask, clown, movement, puppetry, dance, video, and performance art. We envision Tightrope as a place where audiences can experience not just deep belly-laughs and squeals, but the full range of human emotions, stories and experiences.
Tightrope Impro Theatre was formerly Sour Dog Theatre which was founded in 2014 by Ali Froggatt, alongside Sarah Ferguson and Quinn Contini. Sour Dog Theatre officially relocated from Calgary to Vancouver in 2017. In Calgary Sour Dog worked closely with Loose Moose Theatre to produce over 50 improv shows, 4 original formats, 2 Canadian Fringe Festival runs, and 3 consecutive years of The Canmore International Improv Festival.
It has always been the dream to open a theatre dedicated to improvisation- and that dream, thanks to an incredible team is finally becoming a reality.
Tightrope Studio is located in Vancouver's historic Chinatown, the most multicultural community in Vancouver. It is also home to people experiencing homelessness, mental illness, and addiction. We believe in kindness, compassion and de-escalation when interacting with our neighbours. If you ever feel unsafe, please bring your concerns to a staff member. We encourage members/faculty to enrol in this free online course to help you respond responsibly should you witness any harassment or conflict.