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The Southern Alberta Road Show brings its brand of improv to the Scott Block

Improv artists from across Southern Alberta will gather in Red Deer next week to perform some dynamic, unscripted theatre.

Imagine the spontaneity that could result when The Southern Alberta Road Show brings together several members from Red Deer’s Bull Skit, Calgary’s Kinkonauts and Loose Moose Theatre, and Lethbridge’s Drama Nutz on Friday at the Scott Block.

“You’ll be seeing performers who may be meeting for the first time on stage, so this will be pure improvisation,” said the show’s producer Shawn Hoult.

The 10 participating improv artists will be throwing different challenges at each other and taking on-the-spot audience suggestions. Hoult said it’s an incredibly energetic, electric experience to watch successful improvs take shape. Since it’s live theatre, it can also be a hoot to watch unsuccessful ones fall apart.

“One of the mantras of improv is to embrace failure ... even if it fails, hopefully it will fail charmingly,” added Hoult, with a laugh.

The night’s entertainment is sure to include some singing, since the Lethbridge troupe is known for doing musical improvs. The Drama Nutz are also known for performing improvised soap operas, and “nearly every performance type under the sun from living statues to flash mobs to all sorts of craziness!”

Calgary’s Kinkonauts are a long-form improvisational theatre troupe. Based out of a Unitarian Church basement, they are comprised of more than 30 performers dedicated to creating “emotional, grotesque and profound” skits.

The other participating group from Calgary, Loose Moose, is one of Canada’s best known improv companies and schools, having shaped former members such as Mark McKinney from Kids in the Hall. The Loose Moose Theatre Company, formed in 1977, has pioneered techniques that are used by improv groups worldwide.

Red Deer audiences will be most familiar with Against the Wall Theatre’s Bull Skit Comedy shows, which run monthly from September through May at the Scott Block.

The local improv and sketch comedy troupe puts on shows for adults, as well as kids with Calf Skit fairy tale improvs.

Hoult, who has worked with Loose Moose and Kinkonauts, said this is the second year a combined show of various Alberta improv artists is touring the province. Last year, shows ran in Olds, Drumheller, Canmore, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge.

This year’s roster only includes Red Deer, Calgary and Lethbridge, so far, although he believes more centres might be added later, if the performers’ schedules allow.

“With (an) expanded cast, this year’s tour is all about building the Alberta improv community, which is one of the most exciting and fastest growing in Canada,” Hoult added.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show at the Scott Block Theatre, at 4816 50th Ave., are $10 at the door.

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