It was an exciting moment on the Algonquin Theatre stage: both of Huntsville High School’s senior improv teams finished top three in the Canadian Improv Games Sudbury/Muskoka regional finals and one—first-place finishers HHS Moot—earned the chance to compete at the national finals in Ottawa in April.
The national event isn’t just a competition, though. It’s a festival filled with workshops and networking—an incredible experience for any young person—and even teams who aren’t competing are welcome to attend.
HHS Stardust, the high school’s other senior team, hopes to join their fellow students for the trip and have begun fundraising to help cover their costs. Huntsville Festival of the Arts (HFA), which regularly supports youth arts-related activities in town, has stepped up with a fund-matching campaign to give the team a bit of a boost.
“It’s a good way for people to support the group and to a bigger degree the arts in general,” says Dan Watson, HFA’s executive director.
“The arts enrich not only our lives, but I believe truly they teach especially young people some life skills,” adds Watson. “If you think of improv, it’s about teamwork, creativity, independent thinking, listening to other people, collaborating. These are all things that are not just related to the arts but related to life, so it’s important that we offer young people this avenue to develop skills and to work together.”
A formal improv group wasn’t in place when Watson attended HHS, but it’s something he has done since. “It’s part of the process that I do when I’m making theatre, it’s is all improv based. So we don’t sit in front of our computer and write that way. We get up in the space and we improv, we try things out, we work with each other, and it’s the scripting after that is kind of how a play is made,” he says. The students “are up there working with a few basic rules and they’re coming up with these things and working together to do it and it’s great, and I think we really need to support that.”
The HFA is leveraging their support for the improv team by matching total donations made up to $350. “If somebody wants to donate $5, great, if someone wants to donate $50, fantastic.”
Donations can be made in person at the Algonquin Theatre during regular box office hours (Tuesday-Friday 9:30am-4:30pm and Saturday 10am- 4pm). Charitable tax receipts are available.
The Canadian Improv Games National Tournament and Festival will be held April 1-4, 2019 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
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