The Improv Embassy is a theatre company dedicated to growing and showcasing improv, sketch and stand-up comedy in the capital. We teach classes for those looking to have fun and for those who wish to become performers. We produce shows in venues across the city and run the annual Ottawa Improv Festival each spring. We are a nonprofit founded and run by volunteers.
The seeds of the Improv Embassy were planted with Experimental Farm Theatre, founded by Dani Alon and Chris Hannay in 2014 when they moved to Ottawa from Toronto. A few months later, Val Perelshtein, who had performed with EFT since shortly after its launch, proved indispensable as the fledgling company’s business director. The improvisers began producing shows in various venues around Ottawa in the summer of 2014, and began teaching improvisation in 2015.
In the summer of 2016, the theatre company renamed itself the Improv Embassy, secured a studio in the downtown Rideau neighbourhood and officially incorporated as a non-profit. We later moved to a new studio in the Centretown neighbourhood.
Our comedians have been invited to perform in the Del Close Marathon in New York City, Toronto’s Big City Improv Festival, the Toronto Haroldfest, Mprov (the Montreal Improv Festival), Montreal Sketchfest, Halifax’s East Coast Improv Festival and Ottawa’s Fresh Meat DIY Theatre Festival.
We have put on the Ottawa Improv Festival for sold-out crowds at Arts Court Theatre in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. We’ve produced successful shows at the Ottawa Fringe Festival, such as the sketch revue EFT-up: Just Like You in 2015, and The Fake News Show and Quest Friends Forever in 2017.
We are also committed to helping the wider Ottawa community through workshops and fundraisers, raising money for distress centres and other charities.
Throughout our history, we could not have accomplished anything without the hard work, dedication and talent of the improvisers in our fast-growing community. Below is the current team making magic happen at the Embassy. If you see any of us around, say hello!