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

About BCIF

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
Maribeth Monroe
Susan Messing
Mark Little
Mean People
Jeff Richards
Jaime Moyer
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
Artistic Director

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!

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

Quentin Matheson
Art Director

Quentin is a member of improv troupes Potluck, Blast From the Past, and Calvinball. He writes and performs in the sketch show Good News Toronto. 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