Big City Improv Festival, Toronto, Oct 14-22 2016

About BCIF

Now entering its fifth year, Big City Improv Festival is Canada’s largest improv showcase, featuring the best performers from across North America. Our audiences pack the houses to see their favourite groups perform, as well as discover new favourites from the festival’s stellar programming.


The Big City Improv Festival’s mandate is to create a platform to celebrate Toronto’s diverse improv scene. Local performers can collaborate, perform, discuss, create, and showcase the funny that the city has to offer. BCIF also exists to welcome our improv friends from all over the world to our great city, and produce quality improv shows that keep audiences coming back again and again to see live comedy.

Past Performers

Scott Adsit
Tim Baltz
Phil Lamarr
Jerry Minor
Jet Eveleth
Colin Mochrie
Scott Thompson
Steve Little
Paul Brittain
John Lutz
Magnet Theatre
National Theatre of the World
The Chumps
Easy Action
Falcon Powder
Holly Laurent (The Reckoning)
Mark Little
Mean People
Jeff Richards
Slap Happy


Sam Adams
Volunteer Coordinator

Biography coming soon.

Erin Conway
Executive Director

Erin Conway started improvising in 1998 with the Canadian Improv Games. She took a hiatus from improv in University because she was too shy. After Graduation she forced herself to jump in – starting at The Second City Training Centre. Erin is a Conservatory and Longform Graduate; she studied at Bad Dog Theatre and Impatient Theatre Company. Erin has also studied with Joe Bill, Mark Sutton, Susan Messing, Michael Gellman and Mic Napier. She was a part of the Toronto Theatresports cast for 3 seasons, and wrote and performed in four revues with the Canadian Comedy Award nominated sketch troupe My First Crush.

Erin recently challenged herself to perform 31 shows in 31 days, proving there is tons of stage time for performers in Toronto!

In her spare time she manages The Second City Training Centre.

Adrianne Gagnon

Adrianne Gagnon lives to be happy and wants to help others do the same. 9 years ago she took her first improv class and has never quite looked at life the same since. She has travelled North America performing and teaching with her three-woman improv troupe, We’re From Here. In 2011 Adrianne created The Big City Improv Festival, which has been going strong for 5 years and is Canada’s largest improv festival to date. She is incredibly proud of the BCIF and works with an amazing team to bring this world class festival to the streets of Toronto.

Recently, Adrianne wrote and toured a one-woman comedy called Operation 87; a hilarious collection of stories about unrequited love, growing up as an awkward redhead, and how to get Sidney Crosby to marry her! Follow her on twitter at @AuntyAd to keep up with the adventure!

Anne Goad
TKO Producer

Anne Goad is an actor, improvisor and choreographer born and raised in Toronto, ON. After graduating York University with all but a truly practically "money-making" Dance and Teaching Degree, Anne moved to Vancouver to attend Canada's National Voice Intensive. Upon her return to Toronto, Anne was completely broke with her only job being t-shirt-folder at Roots Canada. She took matters in her own hands and convinced the owners to let her direct and film a flash mob featuring 107 dancers, reaffirming that she was meant to be in front of the camera. This propelled her into success as an actor, improvisor and director over the past 4 years.

This year BCIF asked Anne to produce TKO and she has been thrilled to take on the challenge! She is also a proud team member & producer of her beloved improv troupe #Hashtag, who can't wait to perform again this year!

Nelu Handa
Associate Artistic Director

Nelu Handa (pronounced 'Knee-loo') is an actor, writer, and producer based in Toronto. She is a member of the inaugural Bad Dog Featured Players, and a graduate of the Second City conservatory. Nelu is the creator of Yas Kween, a monthly night of comedy featuring Women of Colour. She is very honoured to be a part of BCIF and looks forward to seeing all the talented funny people do great things.

@neluhanda / / #YasKweenTO

Ryan Hildebrandt
Graphic Design

Biography coming soon.

Mat Mailandt
Head of PR

Mat Mailandt is an actor, director and producer based out of Toronto. He teaches comedy at Second City and has been performing improv across the world for almost 15 years. Currently he performs with NOTORIOUS (, Canada's premiere hip-hop improv troupe. Despite having grown up in suburban Calgary, Mat loves freestyle rap.

From 2008-2012 he was the Associate Producer and Communications Director of the Calgary International Improv Festival. From 2010-11 he was an Artistic Associate with Comedysportz Berlin.

Mat also loves cooking and looks like a completely different person every five years or so. Facebook has made this painfully obvious.

Quentin Matheson
Web Designer

Quentin is a member of improv troupes Calvinball and Potluck, the Twin Peaks-esque Murder Victims, and the sketch show This is Not TV. He’s studied with all the Toronto schools, took the Annoyance Theatre intensive in Chicago that one summer, and has workshopped with lots of greats like David Razowsky, Mark Sutton, and Joe Bill.

As a graphic designer, he’s produced many a show poster and this very website.

Gary Rideout Jr.
Owner, Comedy Bar

Biography coming soon.

Sam Roulston
Social Media Manager

Sam Roulston is a British comedic actor, writer and improviser based in Toronto. Recently you may have seen Sam perform as part of: The End at The Toronto Fringe, SYNC, Live Journal, Regicide and The Expat Show.

Sam is a graduate of The Second City Conservatory Program and has also studied with Bad Dog Theatre. He also recently performed and taught in Dublin at Improv Fest Ireland. Sam is excited to be back as part of the BCIF team this year! @SamWRoulston

Martha Stortz
Artist Liason

Martha is a Toronto-based improvisor and writer. She is a graduate of Second City's Conservatory and Longform Programs and Bad Dog Theatre Company's Studio Ensemble. She performs regularly with troupes Orson Whales, Persons, and as a cast member of the monthly show What If, and was a member of the production team of the inaugural Toronto Haroldfest.

Her writing has appeared in such publications as Buzzfeed, VICE's Motherboard, the Daily Beast, and she is a regular contributor to She loves pugs, coffee, and any reality show that featured child stars.

Kevin Whalen
Artistic Director

Kevin Whalen first saw improv over twenty years ago at The Big City Improv theatre and improv has been a part of his life ever since. Along the way Kevin has attended festivals across North America with his troupe S&P as well learning and performing with the Second City Training Centre, The Bad Dog theatre and the Impatient Theatre Co. Kevin also recently had the pleasure of creating four revues with the Second City Mainstage Toronto. Now The Big City Improv Festival gives him a chance to help show off the artists, art form and city he so dearly loves and admires.