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

Festival Venues


Erin Conway
Executive Director

Erin is a freelance producer, arts management consultant, mentor, community builder and philanthropist. Until recently Erin spent 9 years as the General Manager of The Second City Training Centre, the largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy in the country. As a third party fundraiser Erin produces yearly events for The Redwood Women’s Shelter and The 519 Community Centre. In March she co-produced a comedy showcase called Comedy Trumps Hate, where she and her team raised over $11,000 for Planned Parenthood. Erin is so excited to be celebrating BCIF’s 6th anniversary this October!

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!

Paloma Nuñez
Associate Artistic Director

Paloma Nuñez is an actor/comedian/writer. Recently she performed in The Second City's 79th Mainstage Revue, Everything is Great Again. Currently she is directing the Education Company's show at The Second City.

Film and Television credits include: Spotlight, Baroness Von Sketch, Workin' Moms, The Girlfriend Experience, Odd Squad. Check her out in CBC's My Kitchen Can be Anything, starring Pat Thornton. She is also the voice of Sparky on NBC Sprout's Terrific Trucks.

Paloma has travelled all over North America to perform in improv festivals, including Edmonton's IMPROVAGANZA, Vancouver Improv Festival, South Carolina Comedy Festival, Chicago Improv Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival and of course the much loved Del Close Marathon in NYC. She is thrilled to be part of the Big City Improv Festival Team.

Quentin Matheson
Art Director

Quentin is a member of improv troupes Blast From the Past, Cat with Garbage Boat, 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.

Sam Adams
Volunteer Coordinator

Biography coming soon.

Sam Roulston
Social Media Manager

Sam is a British actor, writer and improviser based in Toronto. Recently you may have seen him perform as part of: Common Folk, The Butterfly Defect, SYNC, The Beaverton Digital or The End (Toronto Fringe 2016). Sam is also an instructor at The Second City Training Centre.

Sam is very excited to be back as part of the BCIF team this year! Twitter: @SamWRoulston IG: samroulston

Julia Friesen
Artist Liason

Julia Friesen is a Toronto based comedian and a member of the improv troupe Hot Barley. Julia is currently in the process of completing the Second City Sketch Conservatory program and recently tried her hand at stage managing during Fringe. She is so excited to be a part of BCIF this year in her role as Artist Liaison and can't wait to meet all the troupes and comedians in the festival!

Tom Hearn
TKO Producer

Tom Hearn is a New Brunswick expat living in the centre of the world, a.k.a. Toronto, Ontario! He works very closely with the Bad Dog Theatre Company as a producer and performer. He is a founding member of Kinsey Fail, Toronto’s LGBTQ improv show and a member of the Bad Dog Feature Players. Tom is a graduate of The Second City Conservatory (The Alternative Facts of Life: directed by Kirsten Rasmussen). He also is half of the sketch comedy dream team Tom & Erica; as a troupe they have been to the NC Comedy Arts Festival, Toronto & Montreal Sketchfest and the upcoming Fundy Fringe Festival.

As a producer you can see Tom’s productions all over the city, highlights include: The Pageant, Hookup, Kinsey Fail and the Combustion Festival (Bad Dog Theatre Company), F%CK IT BUCKET, Sketchy Show, the sold out 420Comedy Fest. In 2015 Tom Wrote, Directed and starred in the Web Series MAMA!

When Tom is not trying to make people laugh, he is on the patio with his fiancée and their dog Regis.

Amie Everett
Web Developer

Amie has been a member of lots of improv teams including Betty, Surprise Romance Elixir, and Calvinball. She's studied at lots of improv schools including ITC, Bad Dog, Second City, and the Annoyance Theatre in Chicago. She's performed at lots of improv festivals including the Del Close Marathon, the Detroit Improv Festival, and our very own BCIF!

Nowadays she doesn't perform much but loves to watch lots of new improvisers discovering this crazy weird art form for the first time. And do websites and stuff.

Code of Conduct

The Big City Improv Festival (BCIF) is committed to providing a safe environment, free from harassment or discrimination for all performers, volunteers, employees and audience members.

While BCIF does not have a resident venue, we follow the shared values, anti-harassment and nondiscrimination policies as the spaces the festival uses for programming: Bad Dog Theatre, Comedy Bar, The Second City and Social Capital Theatre. These policies can be found displayed at each venue and on their respective websites.

BCIF maintains a zero tolerance policy surrounding harassment and discrimination. We do not allow hate speech of any kind whether it’s directed at performers, volunteers, employees or audience members. Anyone verbalizing comments that are homophobic, misogynistic, racist, xenophobic or prejudiced will be asked to leave.

If you experience or witness harassment or discrimination please fill out the anonymous Reporting Form. Reports will be dealt with on a case by case basis.