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International Improv School
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  1. International Improvisation School
  2. Improvisation for Youth Summer Camp
  3. Loose Moose Teen Summer Intensive!


July 22 – 31, 2019
Warm-up Class: July 20 – 21
Teaching Course: August 2 – 4
Mask Course: August 5 – 9

Each summer since 1989 the International Improvisation School in Calgary, Canada has welcomed participants from around the world. Performers and teachers have come from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, New Zealand, Netherlands Antilles, Norway, Scotland, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United States for this intensive two-week course in improvisation.

The summer school changed my view on improvisation. It’s the best intensive training I've ever had. I would recommend it to everyone, no matter how experienced you are. I loved their sense for teamwork and personal approach.
Vid Sodnik – Ljubljana, Slovenia


The International Improvisation School offers performers and teachers the opportunity to work with instructors and each other in the unique Loose Moose atmosphere. The principal objectives of the school are the improvement of improvisors' performance and teaching skills, the examination of the philosophy and approach from which improvisational techniques are generated, and the exchange of experience and expertise in artistic areas pertaining to improvisation. The program includes an overview of fundamentals; however, the primary focus is on advanced methods, and their application.

The program is primarily designed as a gathering for improvisation performers and teachers who wish to have the opportunity to work directly with Dennis Cahill, Shawn Kinley, and the Loose Moose Theatre Company. As the nature of this type of improvisational training is experiential, registrants will be expected to participate fully.

WARM-UP CLASS: July 20 – 21

Recommended for participants who have experience in improvisation, but without extensive background in techniques developed by Keith Johnstone, or for those who would like a review of the basic exercises and terminology which will be used during the course. Based on suggestions from previous students, this class is also designed as a low stress way of working into the course, and may be helpful for those experiencing jet lag.


For anyone teaching improvisation with a performance group, in a drama class, or for those working outside of improvisation performances in the area of applied improvisation. Learn some techniques to make you a better teacher of improvisation. Some elements that will be explored:

  • Awareness: Like the performer on stage, if you don't see the offer your partner (the student) makes, you may not teach what is required.

  • Styles: as there is not one student, there is not one teacher. Too narrow of an approach might sacrifice the needs of some students. Too broad an approach may water down your message.

  • Toolkit for Teachers: Bring specific issues and incidence and we'll craft the tools to make your work with a group more effective.

When I think about the time I spent at Loose Moose I am so grateful for everything I learned and experienced with you guys. Traveling to the other side of the world was definitely worth it. Thank you for your work and energy in spreading the joy of improv.
Kathryn Tabone – Mumbai, India

IMPROVISATION COURSES — Principle Instructors


Dennis is a founding member and the current artistic director of The Loose Moose Theatre Company, where he has developed, directed, and appeared in numerous productions over the past 41 years. Dennis has been a principal instructor at the International Improvisation School since 1989, and was on faculty of the Citadel/Banff Centre Professional Theatre Program from 2011-18. He has taught masterclasses in improvisation at the Fountain School of Performing Arts, Dalhousie University, for the Birmingham Conservatory at the Stratford Festival, and was recently invited to teach at the National Theatre School in Montreal. He is currently working on a program at the University of Calgary providing classes for graduate students using improvisation training to improve communication skills. Dennis has also toured internationally, performing and teaching improvisation in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the USA.


Shawn Kinley has been performing and teaching for more than 30 years around the world. A member of Loose Moose for over 30 years, Shawn has been performing leading workshops in improvisation, contact improvisation, mask work, mime, and other forms of theatre. His students have included professional actors, athletes, university students, corporate managers, the military and children. Outside of the Loose Moose, he has worked in television, film, circus, as well as visual arts and writing. He speaks no language fluently.


Betty Poulsen is a teacher, dancer, choreographer, performer, and mask maker whose work has taken her to England, the Middle East, U.S.A., and Indonesia. She has a MA in Dance and Movement from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, 12 years teaching at The University of Calgary and Lethbridge and 15 years as a high school dance and yoga teacher. Along with extensive dance background she has worked in cross-cultural investigation of dance, mask, and theatre often using improvisation skills as a catalyst. Students described her work as intensely personal and at the same time personally liberating. Betty is thrilled to be a part of the Loose Moose International Improvisation School.

The two weeks with Loose Moose helped me realize that I had forgotten how to live stories; that I had lived explanations in this modern world. A wide range of collaborative meaning-making experiences during the program reminded me of using emotion and imagination, as well as cognition, to the fullest for rich communication.
Haruko Sannomiya – Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, Japan

MASK COURSE: August 5 – 9

Developing powerful, spontaneous and truthful characters is at the heart of strong acting and improvisation. Masks can be a useful tool for this purpose. They allow us to experience a state of awareness and vulnerability and help us understand what it means to have a "beginner's mind". In this 5-day workshop students will learn half and full mask techniques with a focus on developing mask characters as described in the final chapter of "Impro" by Keith Johnstone. Mask work is interspersed with related improvisation exercises as training for the intense character work and to reinforce a spirit of discovery and play. A physical approach with will be introduced to allow the body to be ready for the spontaneous and at times rigorous activity of the work. No previous mask training is necessary however students should be ready to participate fully and should come with a spirit of discovery.

The second component of this workshop will be mask making. As it is necessary to have a large variety and choice of expressions to work with, a sufficient number of masks will be provided for the mask play portion of the course. Students will also make their own masks on clay, out of papier mache, with hair and other accessories made available. Other mask making techniques may also be addressed. All participants will leave with one completed mask. Mask making sessions will be staggered with character development and improvisation.


Steve has been a member of Loose Moose Theatre Company since 1987. When not improvising, he performs children’s nature theatre in schools, mountain parks, museums and zoos. Steve also travels extensively looking for new cultural experiences and attending meditation retreats. Beginning mask work 1998, Steve established the Loose Moose Mask Group and has been collaborating and teaching with Keith Johnstone at home and abroad. Each year he teaches masks as well as Impro on tours of Europe and beyond.

Visit www.stevejarand.com for more background on the course.


Applicants are urged to submit their applications as soon as possible as there are limited spaces available. All fees are in Canadian dollars and do not include online registration service fees.

Improvisation Course:

  • register before May 1, 2019 – $1250 + $62.50 GST
  • register after May 1, 2019 – $1400 + $70.00 GST

Warm-up Class:

  • register before May 1, 2019 – $250 + $12.50 GST
  • register after May 1, 2019 – $275 + $13.75 GST

Teaching Course:

  • register before May 1, 2019 – $375 + $18.75 GST
  • register after May 1, 2019 – $400 + $20.00 GST

Mask Course:

  • register before May 1, 2019 – $550 + $27.50 GST
  • register after May 1, 2019 – $600 + $30.00 GST

Registration is through EVENTBRITE

PLEASE NOTE: You do not need a Paypal account to register through Eventbrite. When you click on “Checkout” you will be taken to the payment page. There are two options – “Pay with my PayPal account” and “Don't have a PayPal account?” where you can pay by credit card. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding registration and fee payment.


All accommodation is the responsibility of the participant to arrange, but we will help out where ever we can. For the most part, it is best to book accommodation that is centrally located and/or has access to city transit. The Loose Moose Theatre is located at 1235 – 26 Ave SE, just outside the city centre and is close to city transit. There are a few different options for accommodation depending on your budget and requirements including:

SAIT Residence
This is a student residence and there are single, double, and four bedroom apartments available. Accommodation is pretty basic, but rates are fairly reasonable for Calgary in the summer. Close to restaurants, shops, and city transit. If you are thinking of booking a room at SAIT perhaps let us know and we may be able to connect you with other participants to share accommodation (two or four person apartments).

This hostel is located near the city centre and has a couple of different options for accommodation.

Bed and Breakfast
There are a number of Bed and Breakfast accommodations that are centrally located in Calgary. The link takes you to the B & B Association listings, but there may be other options on other sites. Calgary City View Bed and Breakfast and Inglewood Bed and Breakfast are both relatively close to our theatre where workshops will take place.

We have had several participants book accommodation through this service.

Of course, there are also hotels that are relatively close to the Loose Moose Theatre. We may also be able to arrange for you to stay at one of our company member’s homes while you are here. Please contact us for more information on this, or any of the accommodation options.

For more information please contact us.
E-mail: mail@loosemoose.com
Telephone: (1-403) 269-1444

Here in Europe many teachers refer to the style of improvisation, which has its origin at the Loose Moose. But just by taking part in the summer school I got a better feeling about what the thing could be about. I enjoyed applying the “rules” and playing the games. In addition, I have seen how a theatre in Canada operates. Seeing how much volunteers were present and even involved in the shows was amazing to me. Awesome.
Ronald Pabst– Germany

Ages 12 – 14

JULY 8 – 12 or AUGUST 12 – 16, 2019
Monday – Friday: 9am – 4pm

Students will spend one week learning the fundamentals of impro at the world-renowned Loose Moose Theatre. Lessons will focus on positivity and teamwork while students learn strategies to think on their feet. A week's worth of fun and training will come together in an exciting performance for friends and family to attend.

Fee: Register prior to May 15 – $265 plust GST and registration fee
        Register after May 14 – $300 plus GST and registration fee

Register at: EVENTBRITE FOR JULY 8 – 12
                    EVENTBRITE FOR AUGUST 12 – 16

Ages 15 – 18

JULY 15 – 19 or AUGUST 19 – 23, 2019
Monday – Friday: 9am – 4pm

Students will spend one week learning the fundamentals of improvisation through games and scene work. This intensive will provide a safe and fun environment to explore improvisation and enhance student’s acting skills. With an emphasis on teamwork, students will be expected to work together towards a performance at the end of the week for friends and family to attend.

Fee: Register prior to May 15 – $265 plust GST and registration fee
        Register after May 14 – $300 plus GST and registration fee

Register at: EVENTBRITE FOR JULY 15 – 19
                    EVENTBRITE FOR AUGUST 19 – 23

Please contact us at 403-269-1444 or mail@loosemoose.com if you have any questions.