#MCIF2020

Teachers & Workshops

Read about our scholarship opportunity for Musicians!

Over five days, Mama City showcases local and international improvisers, playing short and long form, from two-provs to huge ensembles.  We'll be announcing our performers and shows schedule in early February - so watch this space!  Tickets will be available via quicket and at the door.

We're waiting for those final details from our hilarious and fabulous performing troupes - and then we'll post all of that here so you can make your bookings and start planning your evenings at Mama City!  

Watch this space!

Workshop schedule

Meet your teachers

Ann Pornel (Canada)

Ann is a Toronto-based actor, writer, and improviser on the comedy scene for over 14 years. She specializes in premise-driven improv scenes, point of view, and big and confident characters. She’s also big on inclusion, representation and making sure her shows reflect diverse voices. She firmly believes that truth and authenticity is the funniest and most dynamic thing you can bring to the stage, and cultivates an environment where players feel safe to explore, take big risks and be empowered. With festival co-founder and co-producer Ashley Comeau, Ann was part of the cast of Second City’s “She The People” – winning the Canadian Comedy Award for Best Ensemble in 2018. Ann describes herself as confident, loud, sassy, charming, loud, fearless, committed, playful, loud, silly, supportive and loud. Oh, and loud! 

Katy Schutte (UK)

Katy Schutte is one of the UK's original long form improvisers. She performs and teaches all over the world, is head-teach for Hoopla and Co-Artistic Director for The Maydays in the UK. Katy has been one of The Maydays since 2004, she is half of legendary sci-fi improv duo Project2 and author of The Improviser's Way: A Longform Workbook, which is published by Nick Hern Books. A Funny Women finalist and both nominee and winner of the Brighton Festival Fringe Best Comedy Show award, Katy also starred in BAFTA winning online educational series History Bombs. Katy performs with Knightmare Live and makes her own work including Schutte the Unromantic and acclaimed semi-immersive folk horror play Let's Summon Demons. She is a contributing writer for Cards Against Humanity and is currently performing in One Woman Alien with Cast Iron Theatre. (Photo credit: Emma Bailey)

Brandon Hackett (Canada)

Brandon started his improvisational journey on his high school’s improv team and somehow managed to turn it into an actual full-blown adulthood career - as an improviser, actor and TV writer. Brandon has been a cast member and writer on the Second City Toronto Mainstage, and has written and performed with numerous popular Canadian Sketch TV shows (including Tall Boys, and This Hour Has 22 Minutes). Brandon’s improvisational focus is on scene creation through point-of-view, strong game-playing, and emotional commitment to the scene. He brings theatricality and intellect to the stage, and would like to encourage his students to always play at the height of their intelligence. He believes that theatre can and should be a force for social change, and improv can be one of the most effective and satisfying ways to achieve it. He loves to share his knowledge and hopes to inspire others to push themselves and their art form to the next level.

Chris Mead (UK)

Chris is a UK-based performer and theatre-maker who teaches and coaches improvisation in London. Chris studied theatre at Royal Holloway College and improvisation at iO (Improv Olympic) and The Annoyance Theatre in Chicago. He is the co-artistic director of The Nursery Theatre, a space in London dedicated to improv as a theatrical art form. Also a a member of the internationally-renowned ensemble The Maydays, one half of sci-fi duo Project2 and recently co-founded Unmade Theatre Co. to pursue new projects as a director and performer. He’s also the host of YesBot, a podcast about the theory and craft of improv.

Ayaka Kinugawa (Japan/Canada)

Ayaka is a Japanese musician based in Toronto who is actively involved in the comedy scene. Ayaka holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies and a Diploma in Classical Music. She is a musical director at the Second City and has toured across the USA, as well as the high seas! In addition to her comedy life, she does pop songwriting, most recently for popular Youtube KahoSei Channel with over 7 million views! Ayaka has taught hundreds of Musical Improv workshops, and excels at putting students - musicians and improvisers alike - at ease. When Ayaka is not putting her musician hat on, she performs improv and sketch comedy on stage. Ayaka loves tomatoes. @ayaka.kinugawa

Ken Hall (Canada)

Ken Hall is a Canadian Comedy Award Winner (Best Breakout Artist) and multiple CCA nominee including most recently, Comedic Artist of the Year. He is also one half of the award winning clown/improv/sketch duo 2-MAN NO-SHOW with his comedy partner in life Isaac Kessler. 

Ken is a tv/film actor and is best known for his role as Jeff the Grey on People of Earth and most recently playing the body of Pogo in Netflix's The Umbrella Academy as well as appearing in Netflix's feature film POLAR. 


He has also had the pleasure to work for Cirque du Soleil and has appeared on CONAN as a guest. 

Ken teaches clown, public speaking and improv at the world renowned school of improv/sketch comedy, The Second City, as well as teaching improv at The Assembly and The Social Capital Theatre in Toronto. Ken recently was awarded the Frank McAnulty Faculty Instructor Award for Instructor of the Year at The Second City and is very excited to be returning to Cape Town and Mama City Improv Festival! 

More about our workshops...

Workshop:

You Do You:

The Power of Your POV

Intermediate - Advanced | 3 hours

From satire to silly, every type of improv scene can be more impactful to an audience by sharing truths. This workshop aims to help improvisers take their scenes to the next level by infusing them with more perspective and a point of view no one’s seen before: your own. Learn how to trust that what you have to say is valid as well as funny.

Workshop:

Divaprov: Owning the Stage

Learn how to unleash you inner diva in this workshop. With a focus on finding fun, strong, active characters in a safe environment, we’ll work on finding the confidence to bring the best version of you to the stage. You don’t have to be loud to make an impact, just be yourself. We’ll also work on polishing skills like: hosting a show, introducing/explaining short form games, and how to get the perfect get. This workshop is for women, men, everyone in between, because everyone has an inner diva that deserves to shine!

Intermediate - Advanced | 3 hours

Workshop:

Premise to

Stage

Nothing beats the magic of improv… but the power of sketch sure does comes close. This workshop is about learning how to come up with scene premises, how to effectively get your scene partners on board, and improvise within those parameters and support the original idea. This is for anyone interested in using their improv skills to generate more focus and pointed scenes. A hybrid of improv and sketch.

Intermediate - Advanced | 3 hours

Photo: Edward Moore

Workshop:

Never Walk Through a Mime Table Again

Intermediate - Advanced | 6 hours (2 x 3 hours)

Fly a jet, drive a mega-robot, stroll through verdant gardens or throw a can of beer to your flatmate. Learn how to create environments and objects that the audience will really see and remember as if your blank stage was a film! Use imagined surroundings to find out about your character. Discover the secrets to recalling where you and the rest of your team 'put' everything and never walk through a mime table again.

Workshop:

Two Person

Improv

Any level | 3 hours 

With only two performers, how can you move fluidly from one scene to another, how do you hold more than two characters in one scene, what can you do with object and environment and what is your show's dynamic? Working on techniques for rehearsing and performing two-person improvisation, this workshop builds your trust and skills around that one other person. You can bring a duo partner if you wish, but you do not need one to attend.

Workshop:

Magical Team

Play

Any level | 3 hours 

Physicality is the building block of dynamic and engaging ensemble scenes. Whether you’re a newcomer to improvisation or a veteran of the art, getting back into your body and being hyper aware of the physical choices made around you allow for incredible group work. With everyone playing almost the whole time, this class gets you back into your body; creating powerful, beautiful stage images. Tell your onstage stories through safe, magical team play.

Workshop:

Artists, Geniuses, Poets

Beginners - Intermediate | 3 hours

This workshop is entirely about ways to support your scene partner and make them look awesome. We often talk about treating our fellow improvisers like artists, geniuses and poets but what are the actual, practical steps in making that happen? We’ll explore techniques drawn from all over the improv map with the ultimate aim of making you so effortlessly supportive that your improv dance card will be fully marked for years to come.

Workshop:

The Thin

Veil

A character class for improvisers who are convinced they can't do character work. Del Close said character is a 'thin veil' we wear. By that he meant that when we play people who are not ourselves, the vast majority of that character is still us - our thoughts, our opinions, our experiences - with a thin veneer of superficial difference draped on top. Starting from this idea, we'll explore numerous ways to play characters that are both subtlety or wildly different from your default while still rooting everything in an authentic sense of yourself as a performer and person. You won't have to do accents and you won't have to do silly walks.

Beginners - Intermediate | 3 hours

Workshop:

The Plot

Monster

Intermediate - Advanced | 6 hours (2 x 3 hours)

Narrative play - telling a good story with a beginning, middle and an end - can be some of the most satisfying improv you'll ever do. But when it goes wrong, it goes HORRIBLY wrong. You can find yourself trapped playing characters that are there purely as a function of the narrative, watching the plot spiral off into crazy town as everything that makes improv fun - the freedom to go anywhere and do anything - is ruthlessly stripped away by the demands of telling a coherent story. But there is another way. This workshop will teach you how to keep the PLOT MONSTER at bay - using techniques around relationship, emotional connection, genre tropes and identifying individual playing styles. So you can tell epic, sweeping stories, full of power, intrigue and mystery while still actually having a good time. Relax, connect to your partner and bring whole worlds to life effortlessly.

Workshop:

Writing Sketch Comedy Through Improv

Intermediate - Advanced | 3 hours

From satire to silly, every type of improv scene can be more impactful to an audience by sharing truths. This workshop aims to help improvisers take their scenes to the next level by infusing them with more perspective and a point of view no one’s seen before: your own. Learn how to trust that what you have to say is valid as well as funny.

Workshop:

Focusing On 

"The Game"

This is a workshop geared towards getting you to focus on game-based scene play. While it's incredibly important to create well-rounded scenes with three-dimension characters, one of the most vital elements of longform improv is, of course, the game of the scene. The "Game" is the comedic engine of the scene, creating and escalating a pattern and helping to save your sets from diminishing returns. Join this workshop and learn to zero in on the game of the scene!

Intermediate - Advanced | 3 hours

Workshop:

Scene

Diagnostics

Are you feeling stuck in your improv? Do you feel like you're revisiting the same topics or styles? Do you just not feel funny anymore? Join this workshop to get some feedback from an experienced professional who'll give you some tips and tricks to help you break out of your improv rut and rediscover a love of the art form!

Advanced | 3 hours

Workshop:

Improv for

Musicians

Musicians: Intermediate - Advanced

Improvisers: Advanced

6 hours for musicians

In this unique hybrid class, Ayaka (Second City Theatricals), will teach musicians how to play for musical improvisation. In this 6 hour course the musicians will learn how to play different genres of music on demand and then apply these skills practically with improvisers in the second half of the day. This class will focus on trusting your instincts as the musical member of the troupe and establishing the dance between Musical Director and Improviser. *Ashley Comeau will help instruct the Improvisers during this class. 

 

Please note: Musicians (especially piano players) should be at least intermediate. This is not a class to become a musician, but to become a Musical Director). Also, since the Improvisers are there to help the Musicians practice, Improvisers should be advanced.

Workshop:

Improv for Musicians + Improvisers

Beginner - Intermediate | 3 hours

This class the the second part of Improv Musicians, taking the learnings of the morning, and applying them with real-life improvisers!

Only six improvisers will be in this class, with a larger group of musicians - for play, play, play!  

Ayaka will be teaching with Festival Co-Producer and fabulous Improviser Ashley Comeau.

Workshop:

Intro to Musical

Improv 

Beginner - Intermediate | 3 hours

Love to sing? Hate to sing? Want to conquer your fears around it? In this class Musical Director Ayaka (Second City Theatricals - Toronto, Washington, Chicago) will help you unleash your inner songbird by pairing scenic improv with the basic elements of musical improv. This class will focus on beginning your relationship with musical improv through exercises, short form games and scenes. Ayaka is excited to help you strike a note in your improv adventures! 

Note: This class is offered twice.

Workshop:

CLOWN

Clown is all about making an audience laugh.

 

In this workshop you'll learn how to discover and harness your own spirit of play and embrace your "inner idiot". Perfect for those interested in getting out of your head and discovering the freedom of physical comedy and comedic stupidity. We will embrace play, follow the fun and tie it all back to improv!

All levels | 3 hours

Read about our scholarship opportunity for Musicians!