Published on July 3rd, 2013 | by Sharilyn Johnson0
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In an announcement made on their Facebook page Wednesday, longform improv company Impatient Theatre Co. (ITC) said it would shut its doors on its year-old training facility on Spadina Ave. effective this week, with no plans to resume operations elsewhere.
ITC, founded in 2001, previously operated a training centre at Queen St. W. and Roncesvalles Ave., and produced regular shows at venues throughout Toronto including the Savannah Room, Comedy Bar, and Clinton’s.
Founder and Executive Producer Kevin Patrick Robbins tells Third Beat that ITC will suspend its current run of shows at the Black Swan Tavern after this Sunday, July 7. The fate of the ITC-produced Toronto Improv Festival, scheduled for Aug. 19-24 at the same location, is undecided but an announcement will be made in the coming days.
It’s not the first loss to Toronto’s improv community in recent years. In early 2011, Bad Dog Theatre closed its space on Danforth Ave., moving its scaled-back slate of shows and classes to Comedy Bar. (Second City remains Toronto’s only dedicated improv training centre with its own performance facilities.)
The following is ITC’s official announcement:
To our ITC friends, fans, and family:
It pains me to inform you that we will close the doors on the ITC training centre at the end of this week. Last year, our current home on Spadina Avenue offered hope that we might finally be able to open our own theatre. It was a light at the end of a long tunnel, a light that was quickly extinguished after an inspection by a structural engineer. The financial burden of carrying a space that cannot operate to its full potential is too great for our small company to manage.
For more than a decade, the Impatient Theatre Co. has been my life, my love, and my extended family. We brought longform improv to the forefront of the Toronto comedy scene and helped to cultivate what has become a rich, dynamic and vibrant community. Improv has been the greatest love of my life.
For the past 12 years it has been my privilege of working with some of the best and most talented comedy artists in North America. Over those years, we have learned a lot about the needs of running a theatre company, a training centre, and are not letting that knowledge go to waste. What the ITC needs now more than anything is to vacate our current space before it causes further undue financial strain on the company.
If you’ve known me for a few minutes, you know how passionate I am about the work that we do, the craft that is improvisation, and how much I have struggled to elevate this work to a level of art that can be appreciated by many without compromising our artistic vision. I am proud of the hard work and accomplishments of our players and alumni, the appreciation of our fans, and the acclaim of our critics.
So… is this the end of ITC? I don’t know. Our friends at The Annoyance in Chicago experienced a number of bumps and hurdles on their path to success and the building of their current theatre. There have been a lot of similarities in our companies’ over the years and, right now, the abrupt closing of a training centre space feels like just another one of those bumps.
It has been an amazing 12 years that I will never forget. I would also like to thank the many people who have given their time and love along the way to keep our company and training centre going, including Alex Tindal, Mark Cotoia, Zach Ward, Annie Bankes, Matt Folliott, Kevin Whalen, Jesse Morrison, Kevin Williams, Amie Everett, all of our coaches, players, teachers and fans, and the countless others that helped make ITC a prominent figure in the Toronto comedy scene. Thank you so much.
I suspect there will be a lot of questions, about classes, about shows, and I will find the time to answer the ones I can. Email your questions and concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please give us the next few days to clear out the space and figure out how to proceed from there. Thanks.
I love you all,
Kevin Patrick Robbins
Impatient Theatre Co.