Artistic Associate

Nick Johne – Chicago, IL

My improvisational career started out back in 1983 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Back then, free improv classes were being taught at a place called Harbourfront. It was a kind of agreement between Theatresports and Harbourfront at the time: we provide a venue for your shows and you provide free classes. To a science nerd majoring in microbiology at a central Ontario agricultural university, this was most definitely a lucky stroke.

Short story long, I took three of these three classes, was smitten and fell head over heals in love with improvisation as an art form. I was fortunate enough at this time to have been taught by some of the Kids In The Hall and by other folks who found there stride on The Second City Main Stage. It didn’t hurt that my university had a kick ass theater department as well.

About ten years after that, after failing out of microbiology and various forays in the theatrical world, I found myself on the Second City Main Stage in Toronto, where I put up several award winning shows.

I believe the improv is an art form and should be treated as such. I believe that it’s an art form that involves play. Part of my “philosophy” is that when we’re on stage we should be like kids playing in schoolyard. Its like this, when I was a really small kid, a bunch of us would always come out of our houses, sit on the curb and watch the bigger kids play catch. We, as players, are the big kids playing catch. The audiences are the small kids. Philippe Gaulier, calls this having complicity with ones fellow players. Keith Johnstone likens it as the performers having the same energy as monkeys who have been let out of cages.