About Edinburgh International Improv Festival

18-20 February 2022

The Edinburgh International Improv Festival is held at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Scotland's beautiful capital city. We can’t wait to welcome you to three days of workshops, shows and jams celebrating the best in improv from around the world.

This year we've teamed up with World's Greatest Improv School and have FIVE of their teachers coming over to host workshops and perform. 

Tickets will be on sale soon. Stay in the loop by signing up to our newsletter.

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Previous Festivals

We’re proud to have hosted improv greats such as Hebecky Drysbell’s Becky Drysdale and Heather Anne Campbell, Will Hines, Billy Merritt, the cast of the West End hit Showstopper, Chad Carter, John Murray and legendary team Dummy.

Back for year four in 2022, we had the strange privilege of being one of the few festivals who managed to hold an in-person event in February 2020. For our 2021 edition we went online with Seen in Scenes, centered around inclusion in improv and the celebration of diverse voices worldwide. You can watch recordings of our live-streamed panels on our Youtube page.

Meet The Team

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Jason Perez
Artistic Director/Co-founder

Jason is originally from outside of Los Angeles (Upland to be more specific) where he started doing improv 16 years ago.  He would later go on to train, perform, and/or teach with such companies as Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade, National Comedy Theater, Comedy Sportz, Improv Olympic, and the Peoples Improv Theater.  He has also taught improv at numerous high schools, universities, and festivals both back in the states and internationally.  Currently, Jason is teaching improv with The Tron Theatre as well as running and performing in shows around Scotland like the KinkyFish Improv Jam and Glasgow Harold Night with the house team Couch. He is also the Co-Director of the Arts Not For Profit, Blank Script Ltd.

Jason could not be more excited about the Edinburgh International Improv Festival. He sees it as an amazing opportunity to show off the amazing talent here in Scotland while also growing the community both locally and internationally.

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Michelle McKay
Executive Producer/
Co-founder

Michelle is a freelance theatre producer and actress, co-founder of KinkyFish Theatre Company and Kinkyfish Improv. Michelle trained in Classical and Musical Theatre singing before moving into acting, performing extensively as a child in Scotland, later moving to London to continue her career. With her Business Degree and passion for theatre, moving into Theatre Producing was an obvious choice. Michelle honed her skills as a producer with Theatre503 in London as Resident Assistant Producer before moving back to Scotland. Michelle is working on a number of theatre projects as well as running a regular Improv Jam night with KinkyFish Improv.

Michelle is excited to be bringing Scotland’s first Improv Festival to Edinburgh and playing her part in growing the improv community and introducing new audiences to improv.

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Laura Hotchkiss
Marketing Manager

Laura is an experienced marketing manager who has been working in the Scottish media industry for almost ten years. She's a new convert to improv having trained with the Glasgow Improv Theatre for the past 18 months. What she lacks in improv experience she makes up for with her deep understanding of the Facebook algorithm and a passion for gifs.

Laura is over the moon to be joining Jason and Michelle in bringing a third year of the Edinburgh International Improv Festival to life. She's experienced first hand how valuable it is to have access to brilliant improv teachers from across the world as well as just how fun festival weekend can be. She plans on using her marketing knowledge for good to help grow the Scottish improv scene.

Advisory Council

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Taliah Horner

The highlight of Taliah’s improv career would have to be as director of The Improverts, Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s longest running improvised comedy show. Alongside her improv, she’s also a stand-up comic and was the director of Bedlam Fringe’s Late Night 2019, a late night alternative comedy show. While the theatres are hibernating, she’s pursuing her career as a software developer but lies ready to pounce back onto the stage.

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Simone Seales

Originally from Florida, Simone Seales is a Glasgow-based cellist who completed their postgraduate studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2021. They focus on free improvisation (both tonal and atonal) and devising music for theatre. Simone is passionate about exploring sound, how sound can reflect emotional states of being and how emotions are embodied. Their creative influences come from Black feminist leaders such as Audre Lorde, Assata Shakur and bell hooks. Within Simone's creative work, they centre Blackness, sexuality, intersectional feminism and anti-racism. They are passionate about how improvisation can create safe communities and encourage positive methods of relating and communicating with others. An active improviser in music and theatre, they are happy and excited to be able to contribute to the Edinburgh International Improv Festival.

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Baldeep Singh Sanghera

Baldeep is a software developer, like Will Hines was, he now does improv too, like Will Hines does! 

A member of the Glasgow improv community for three years, having studied with the Glasgow Improv Theatre and now looking to debut his own team.  

Look out for his upcoming books 'How to be the least worst improviser in the world', and 'Swashbuckler, Mechanoid, Assassin'.
 

Board Members

Laura Cheyne (She/Her)

Laura is the Head of Marketing for the National Trust for Scotland and has 16 years’ experience in the marketing industry. She is a long-time supporter of tourism and culture in Scotland, currently sitting on the board of the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions and the Scottish Tourism Alliance Council and having lead campaigns for award winning attractions such as Stirling Castle and the Battle of Bannockburn centre. Laura has also played a role in national tourism initiatives such as Homecoming 2014 and Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017. 

Laura is delighted to be part of the team launching the innovative and exciting Edinburgh International Improv Festival to the bustling Edinburgh Festival scene.  

Kris Keane (He/Him)

Kris is an accountant by trade currently working at Deloitte LLP in Edinburgh.

Outside of the day job Kris is a big fan of music, comedy, film, theatre, etc and frequently has tickets for some event or another! Kris hopes to provide support to the executive team of Blank Script Limited and the Edinburgh International Improv Festival by bringing his business experience and arts consumer experience to the table.

Will Naameh (He/Him)

Will Naameh is an improviser with twelve years experience. His training includes Second City Chicago, iO Chicago, Annoyance and UCB. He is a founding member of Men With Coconuts and The Spontaneous Players. 

He is also an improvisational comedy rapper under his rap name MC Hammersmith. He is the 2017 UK Improv Smackdown Champion and won Best Newcomer at the Scottish Comedy Awards.