Our Story


Staircase Improv is the resident improv comedy collective for The Staircase. Founded in 1996 Staircase Improv has been rocking Hamilton with workshops and shows for 20 years. Staircase Improv is composed of Hamilton’s most experienced and talented improvisers. We are ready to entertain and teach you. Catch one of our shows, or workshops, at the Elaine May Theatre, or invite us to your place for a training session 0r show.  Contact Us.

History

Staircase Improv evolved in the empty space that was the arts in Hamilton in the mid 1990s. Not only was there a lack of venues, but an absence of any improv theatre fun. A few folks grew tired of commuting to Kitchener to get their improv chops with the venerable Theatre on The Edge. A regular Monday night improv meeting eventually evolved into a movement called the Work Show. The Work Show was a participatory educational format that was mostly improv fundamentals, and a bit of showcraft. After several hundred uninterrupted Work Shows the gaggles of improv lovers settled into what is now The Staircase Cafe Theatre. Over the decades this band of improvistas has one of Southern Ontario’s improv institutions.

Present

Presently Staircase Improv is an autonomous collective run by the teacher’s cabal. The teacher’s cabal are the small group of passionately dedicated improv instructors that volunteer their amazing skills and devotion to the art of improvisational theatre. The Staircase has long since outgrown its improv theatre roots, but Staircase Improv hangs on like a comedic barnacle.

Staircase Improv has a combined mission and and vision statement (called a missivison statement):

To meet the educational needs of improvisers at all levels of their training.

The  first step of this is to offer regular well taught drop-in workshops for beginners. The beginners drop in workshops are all about having strangers to performance fall in love the with magic of improv comedy. The second step is to offer regular well taught advanced drop-in workshops for experienced improvisers to reach the top of their performance game. The third step is to offer specialized series or intensive workshops that allow all improvisers to expand their experience in the form. For example, long form training, musical improv, contact dance etc.

Future

We are strong and fully expect to increase the quality and frequency of improv comedy for the people of Hamilton through relentless devotion to teaching and exposing Hamiltonians to all manner of improv comedy.