Improv troupe makes public debut this weekend

Matt
Matt Gardner
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A new Prince Albert-based improv group is set to make its local debut this Saturday.

Local improv troupe Off The Cuff will make their first public performance this Saturday at Dr. Java’s Coffee House. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the show itself starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available at Dr. Java’s.

Established as part of Boucher Entertainment, Off The Cuff brings together several well-known local performers eager to show off their skills in improvisational theatre.

“Improv is fairly new to Boucher Entertainment,” co-owner and improv co-ordinator Adreanna Boucher said. “I’ve done improv for a few years now with Odyssey Productions, but now we’ve started up our own troupe.

“So there’ll be some familiar actors -- people will recognize them from other theatre things that have happened around the city -- but they’re acting under the name Off The Cuff now.”

P.A. audiences will be able to judge the results for themselves on Saturday, when Off The Cuff takes the stage at Dr. Java’s Coffee House for a night of improv billed as “Grande Double Sweet Comedy.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. while the show itself starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15 and are available at Dr. Java’s. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Boucher compared the format of the show to the popular improv-based television program Whose Line Is It Anyway?

“We do comic scenes based on suggestions from the audience, kind of in a game format,” she said. “So they’re always different and always funny.”

She encouraged audience members to arrive at 6:30 to write down ideas for characters and routines that the performers will take out of a box for use during the show.

Besides Boucher, the actors who will be performing on Saturday include Ryan Hughes, Colleen Clark and Nick Pawlak.

While Off The Cuff only took on its present form in the last few months, the group grew out of the Odd-yssey Improv Troupe previously associated with Odyssey Productions.

Originally formed for an Odyssey fundraiser, the troupe soon showed its potential to help realize numerous other ideas Boucher had, such as a local version of the CBC radio comedy program The Debaters.

“I have permission to do our own version of it here, so that’s kind of exciting,” Boucher said, noting the local Debaters is scheduled for early 2015.

We do comic scenes based on suggestions from the audience, kind of in a game format, so they’re always different and always funny. Adreanna Boucher

“I’ve also been doing writing for the improv troupe,” she added. “We’ve had some bookings where people wanted a personalized kind of play, so I’ve written some interactive plays.”

From there, Boucher helped form Off The Cuff under the umbrella of Boucher Entertainment, which is co-owned by Boucher and her husband Roger.

“Seeing as Roger and I run our own entertainment business, it made sense to make improv part of what we offer,” she wrote in an email.

Currently there are anywhere between six to eight members of Off The Cuff.

Membership fluctuates due to the fact that some of the members are students, who are out of the city for much of the year to attend school but return during the summer months.

“We try to get together with everyone about once a month and we just play around -- we practice, we work on some skills, just have a lot of fun,” Boucher said.

Though Prince Albert does not currently have a thriving improv scene, members of Off The Cuff are hoping to change that.

Besides working with drama students at St. Mary High School and Carlton Comprehensive Public High School, members have also taken part in special one-off community performances.

“I’d definitely like to see it grow,” Boucher said. “My big goal is to start having public performances on a semi-regular basis, like once a month or once every couple months.”

She added, “I just have some ideas to make it bigger and more of a constant thing, so people realize, ‘Hey, we’ve got some talented people in P.A.’ and there’s more to do here than maybe they thought.”

Additional information on Off The Cuff is available at www.boucherentertainment.com or by calling 306-922-2505.

Organizations: Boucher Entertainment, Coffee House, CBC Prince Albert Mary High School Carlton Comprehensive Public High School

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