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Jump in the Bonfire (Festival) with Edmonton's Rapid Fire Theatre

“The coolest thing about our ensemble is they pitch the ideas for the festival,” says Amy Shostak, artistic director for Rapid Fire Theatre, on how the concept ofmp came together in the first place.

This year marks the company’s second crack at the festival, named for gathering performers together to entertain the masses.

Shostak has the daunting task of determining which ideas make the final cut. “I really wanted to give the audience variety, so the collaboration from the artists is great. But, it’s my job to figure out which ideas will be most interesting for the audience and who to cast.”

Performance highlights for this year include: Rapid Fire Theatre News, an improvised newscast where members of the audience can bring in headlines to give to the actors (hello Anchorman); an electro acoustic set with local musicians; and a long-distance relationship skit featuring a live Skype “date” with improvisers from Winnipeg’s Outside Joke theatre.

Known for their annual Improvaganza Festival, which features some of the best improvisers across North America, Shostak and her team wanted a way to feature their in-house talent.

“We thought it would be great if we could give those actors with two or three years of experience more stage time with our senior performers,” says Shostak.

“We meet once or twice before the show to explore the genre, but all the content is improvised on opening night.”

It’s a light-hearted approach to keeping everyone fresh and on their toes throughout the performance season.

“Part of the challenge with Bonfire for our actors is that the structure is so different from our weekly performances, but last year went really well so I am looking forward to showing the audience what we have lined up this time.”

While the cast and crew make their final preparations, audience members can purchase festival passes in advance through Tix on the Square for $30. The Bonfire Festival runs April 9 to 14 at the Citadel Theatre (9828-101A Ave.). Additional information is available through rapidfiretheatre.com.

About the theatre

  • Rapid Fire Theatre is Edmonton’s longest running improv theatre.

  • The company is a registered member of the International Theatresports Institute.

  • They have won awards in improv and comedy competitions across the world.

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