MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard spoke about the G.P. Vanier Improv team in the House

Today, MLA Leonard spoke about the G.P. Vanier improv team in the house. You can watch the video, or read the transcript posted below.

There’s an irony in my spending hours preparing a speech to pay tribute to an improv team, a team of eight high school students, who take suggestions and perform a series of four-minute-long improvised skits after only 15-second huddles.

As a regional finalist, G.P. Vanier Secondary’s improv team from Courtenay is one of the top 18 student teams who are in Ottawa right now participating in the annual Canadian Improv Games. Joining the finalists in this theatre sport is another proud B.C. student team from the Gulf Islands, who’ve won a wild card spot in the tournament.

But back to Vanier. Theatre and dance teacher Lori Mazey is obviously a motivating force, as this is not her first team to make the trip to Ottawa. In fact, improv is so popular at Vanier that this year there are 40 students in two junior and two senior teams.

Ms. Mazey explained how part of the rigorous routine of the team is for the seniors to practise with younger students in grades 8 to 10 to become mentors as they prepare for interschool competitions. She has cultivated a lifelong sense of belonging and an ethic of giving back, as alumni are regularly seen returning to the fold. The improv games key into their creativity, teamsmanship and leadership.

The students excel in other studies, and improv helps expand their horizons to go on to success outside of improv. In this year’s cohort, one student does plan to go into the performing arts, perhaps to join the ranks of other Canadian improv alumni, like Seth Rogen and Sandra Oh. It’ll be worth watching the live streaming of the Canadian improv finals this Thursday at 4:30 Pacific Daylight Time. Go, Team Vanier!