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QueerProv: Why We Tell Our Stories

Tonight, I'm heading to 1181 Davie Street in the "Gay Village"  for a show at 8pm. Odd on a Monday, I know. On the night when most theatres are dark - the queer improvisors come out to play.

It's on Monday nights that we perform QueerProv, our LGBTQ improv show thats been entertaining a dedicated audience in (and out) of Vancouver's west end (in various forms and formats) for more than 6 years. The current format of QueerProv has been running for over a year now.

QueerProv is important for many reasons - the biggest being the community that it has built in the actors and loyal audience.  Our troupe of all queer-identified actors is like a family. We are a community built around telling our stories. Sharing our moments.

QueerProv has taught me that our stories are important. Our unique experiences are important. For us as performers to portray enthralling characters AND for the audience to relate to them.

Monday nights have been our long standing date - where some of us get up on the stage and tell our stories, and the rest watch and delightfully identify with the magical truthful moments. Improv scenes about parent-teacher interviews with two moms or gay bears out on their first date after meeting on grindr. It's a show where we sometimes go deeper with stereotypes and play with characters and stories from the queer perspective. And we laugh. God, do we ever laugh.

Queer Improv was my first introduction to improv in Vancouver... by joining a hit improv show called Tops & Bottoms that REQUIRED me to be queer. Queer in front of an audience. This is a huge requirement when you've spent a great deal of your life pretending not to be queer. Covering. The show demands authenticity and vulnerability. The show demands us to tell our stories.

In my next post, I'll share a warm up game that I used to host last week's QueerProv show, which I themed "Telling Our Stories", and then used in the improv workshop I taught the next day at Qmunity. It's a quick way to create and share a grounded character - equipped to tell stories.

Of course we owe everything to the pioneers who paved the road. What is now QueerProv was originally envisioned and founded by Vancouver TheatreSports League alum David C Jones and Pearce Visser, who taught most of us in the troupe how to improvise. We will be forever in their debt for the community of storytellers they dreamed to build.

No Cover Queer Comedy on Monday Nights. Straights welcome and encouraged.
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