An improvised interview with two club executives, Danny Batraki and Ciorstadh Reid.
When was the club founded?
Danny Batraki: It was founded between eight and 10 years ago. There was a group of gentlemen who got everything started together; they passed it down, showed us the ropes. I came in one and a half generations after that. Personally, I was given an initial secretary role by one of the founders, and it just kind of grew from there.
What inspired the creation of the improv club?
Ciorstadh Reid: They were all a bunch of clowns.
DB: They all had a passion for drama, and they got to MacEwan and saw there was no drama club, nothing of the sort. They were all specialized in improv and they were all good friends, so it was the perfect idea to start that club and share their passion with everyone.
What does the club look like now?
DB: It has definitely grown. We actually have one of the founders visit every so often, and he always comments on how much it’s expanded and how it’s so much more lively and it’s much more progressive. We have many members, and our meetings go differently every year, and every semester we have different events. We continuously try to keep growing and keep that passion growing.
CR: And since the fine art students have come over to the City Centre Campus, we have a few more fine arts students who have finally joined, which is exciting as well.
What kind of events do you hold?
DB: Most of our events have been around school. We do shows and fundraising events, mostly. This semester is actually the first time we did one of our biggest events, which was a Friday MacEwan Live, so we actually did skit comedy and used the new Allard Hall.
CR: It was written by students, performed by students, and set and dressed completely by students.
Who can join?
CR: Absolutely anyone can join. We have people who don’t even like to talk and they still come join just to sit and watch.
DB: You need no experience. You can just be an audience member at first. And we find that our shy audience members tend to jump up and engage with us every so often. It’s definitely what we like to think of as a welcoming environment.
What makes the improv club special?
DB: In the words of our clubs manager, we are the goofiest club on campus. We are all about diversity and de-stressing, and getting away from the university experience long enough to just have fun and not care about your studies for a bit.
Do you hold any events outside of the fall and winter terms?
CR: Last summer we went to nursing homes and psychiatric hospitals. We did some improv there, and that went over pretty amazingly.
DB: We have plans for this summer as well. We’re looking to do the same things, as well as expanding into the community — maybe some homeless shelters or more elderly resident homes.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
DB: We may seem like we’re already a set group, but we welcome everyone like family. People who have joined have become family over the years, so there should never be any fear to join. We’re always looking for new people.
To get involved, contact the club through Facebook or email!
Edited for length and clarity. Photography by Lydia Fleming.
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