The Improv Centre is a theatre at Vancouver’s Granville Island. It’s where you’ll find live improv, theatresports-style shows and stand-up comedy.
To learn more about the venue in general, see our main article about Granville Island’s Improv Centre.
Pops & Hops – A Fathers Day Special
Pops & Hops is a special Fathers Day-themed show at the Improv Centre on Sunday, June 19th, from 4:00 until 5:30 pm. The improvisational comedy special is all about fathers, backyard ball games, bad puns, power tools and other dad-related topics. There will also be lots of beer available for purchase.
For tickets and to learn more about the Pops & Hops Father’s Day show visit the Improv Centre‘s website.
What’s Showing at the Improv Centre at Granville Island?
The Improv Centre was closed for over a year because of COVID-19, but it’s operating once again as of early 2022. As of late May of this year there are shows on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Regular shows include Theatresports, The Playground, Stand Up At The Improv, and Kids in Charge. The newest show is Date Night which happens on Wednesday evenings. On one Thursday each month there is also Drag at the Improv.
The venue’s address is 1502 Duranleau Street. It’s near the entrance to Granville Island under the Granville Street Bridge.
For tickets and to learn about what’s showing at the theatre, see below or visit theimprovcentre.ca/shows.
Special Shows at the Improv Centre
There are special shows at the Improv Centre from time to time. They include seasonal shows, like romance-themed ones around Valentine’s Day, or Christmas-themed productions in December.
See The Improv Centre‘s website for tickets and to learn more about the shows.
Regular Shows at the Improv Centre
As of early 2022, regular shows at Granville Island’s Improv Centre include Theatresports, The Playground, Stand Up At The Improv and The Matinee.
Theatresports at the Improv Centre
Theatresports is the name of the venue’s traditional style of show. It’s what the Improv Centre has become famous for.
During this show two teams of actors do short, improvised skits and compete against one another for points. It’s kind of like the TV program Whose Line Is It Anyway. The “contestants” have to act out silly, quirky and unusual scenes. They have to think fast on their feet and make things up as they go.
With the Theatresports shows, sometimes the actors use props, sometimes they have to sing, and frequently there is audience participation. Even the sound and lighting person has to act and react quickly to what’s happening on stage.
The Theatresports shows happen on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm. Performances run for about an hour and a half including a 15-minute intermission. Tickets cost between around $15 and $30 depending on where you sit.
TIP: If you see the 7:30 performance and decide at the last minute you want to stick around for the 9:30 show, if tickets are still available, you can usually get a discount on the second show on the same night.
See The Improv Centre‘s website for tickets and full details about the shows.
The Playground shows are like the Theatresports shows, but with new materials and without the teams and points. They are also slightly shorter in length and cost less. The Playground is sort of where the actors get to test out new ideas and experiment.
With the Playground, everything is still improv and participants still have to act on the fly, but it’s less structured and predictable than the regular Theatresports shows. The two shows though are both fun, fast-paced and highly entertaining.
When we went to see The Playground we got a table up near the front. We had a great time. The six actors performed in a variety of different sketches and scenarios. In one they sang a song they made up on the spot about a topic an audience member shouted out. In this case it was a song about potatoes!
At the show we saw there was also a sketch where the actors had to use props provided by the audience. There were scenarios where lines had to rhyme, where scenes had to be re-enacted and where actions had to be exaggerated in different ways. Similar to the regular Theatresports shows, you’ll find a lot of variety in The Playground.
The Playground shows take place on Thursdays at 7:30 pm. They run for about an hour and ten minutes with a short intermission in the middle. Tickets cost between about $18 and $20 depending on where you sit.
Stand Up At The Improv
Stand Up At The Improv is a newer series at the Improv Centre. It doesn’t involve theatresports or improvisational acting at all, or at least not so much. It’s more traditional stand up comedy where a comedian stands on the stage and tells a series of jokes and entertains their audience.
Stand Up At The Improv takes place every second Thursday evening at 9:00 pm (so after the 7:30 pm Playground shows). It features local stand up comics as well as ones from both elsewhere in Canada and abroad. Some of the comedians you’ll see are the same ones that perform at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival or at places like the House of Comedy in New Westminster.
These shows last for between around 75 minutes and an hour and a half. Prices can vary depending on who’s performing. Tickets though can cost as little as $20 or so.
See The Improv Centre‘s official website for tickets and to see what’s currently showing.
Kids in Charge
Kids in Charge is the new name for the shows that used to be called The Matinee. They are family-friendly performances that take place on Saturday afternoons. The shows last for just three quarters of an hour and have no intermission. Shows run from 2:00 until 2:45 pm and cost around $15.
We saw a Kids in Charge show and really enjoyed it. As one would expect, there were a number of young families in the audience. As with other shows at the Improv Centre, the actors ask for audience participation. With the Kids in Charge shows, when we went, all of the volunteers were little kids. The children had lots of fun and were really good. It was a great show!
Drag at the Improv
Drag at The Improv shows take place once a month. They start at 9:00 pm on the second Thursday of the month after the regular The Performance shows which take place on Thursdays at 7:30 pm.
Drag at The Improv features actors dressed up in drag (i.e., usually a man dressed up in women’s clothing). It’s improv and other live theatre, but with a drag theme.
This show is rated for mature audiences. Minors under the age of 19, however, can attend if accompanied by an adult. Tickets range between about $23 and $35.
To learn more about the venue and its shows see The Improv Centre‘s website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Granville Island’s Improv Centre
- Granville Island
- Shopping at Granville Island
- Vancouver Theatres and Theatre Companies
- Vancouver Shows & Entertainment Calendar