You know that old saying, “You have to play the Mayne Island Agricultural Hall before you can play the National Arts Centre”?

It is so exciting for these six improvisors from Mayne, Pender and Salt Spring Islands (grades 9-12) to be going to the Canadian Improv Games national finals in Ottawa, our nation’s capital. Having won the Vancouver Island Region, they have earned a spot among the top twenty teams from across Canada. It’s a story of tremendous patriotic symbolism. It is no small distance from Salt Spring Island, B.C. to Ottawa, Ont. We travel the farthest distance out of all the other regions in the country, to converge on parliament hill and the stage of our National Arts Centre.

It’s a phenomenal opportunity for these kids, from our little islands, to take part in workshops with some of the best trainers on the continent and compete with the top twenty high school teams from here to Newfoundland — not to mention touring our national galleries and museums, visiting parliament hill and hopefully meeting with our MP as well.

See GISS Improv in action: Legion Branch 92, Saturday at 7:30

A live improv-gram will be auctioned… Send someone a real live improv scene.

Stay tuned for more events and information about how you can help support the team and see them in action. They have shows scheduled for Mayne Island on April 7th, Pender Island on April 8th and Salt Spring Island on Monday April 10th. Then, they fly to Ottawa for the tournament April 19-22.

There is a raffle underway, a silent auction in the works and donations are gratefully accepted at fundrazr.com/gissimprov

The team is made up of grade 12’s Melanie Gregory-Worsell, Peter Hoskins and Shaye Steele, grade 11’s Fiona Pirie and Kane O’Scalleigh, grade 9 Amelia McCluskey and their coach, teacher Jason Donaldson.

GISS Improv has made it to the national tournament before. This is actually their fifth time since they started participating in the region in 2004. The last two times they made it on the online wildcard ticket and before that they went back to back in 2007 and 2008. So, it’s been nine years since they last got to hoist this trophy and a decade since their first regional championship.

They have to raise a lot of money in a very short period of time to make this come true. It is Canada’s 150th, The Canadian Improv Games’ 40th and a once in a lifetime opportunity for these students.

There's nothing serious about improv!!
Proof that here’s nothing serious about Improv!

story: Jason Donaldson
photo: John Cameron