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Unscripted students taking the stage at Canadian Improv Games in Esquimalt

Winning team advances to the national tournament in Ottawa
The Esquimalt Acting Troupe will be taking part in the 2024 Canadian Improv Games Vancouver Island regional tournament. (Photo courtesy of Sam Wharram)

Teams of student actors will go head to head when the Canadian Improv Games arrive in Greater Victoria, but fostering fun and artistic freedom will be centre stage.

Dozens of high school students will take part in the Vancouver Island regional tournament at Esquimalt High School from Friday (Feb. 9) to Sunday.

“I think this is a very unique thing that you don’t get very much of in high school,” said Sam Wharram, the event’s co-producer. “I just love watching the students be able to grow up through the games and progress as players and as people.”

“My favourite part is seeing how happy the students are with what they’ve created and how freeing it can be for them to allow themselves to live as another person on stage.”

Participants will compete in teams with up to eight members in a tournament with senior and junior divisions.

“They will go on stage and perform a little improv scene for us and then we will provide scores for them,” Wharram said. “The scores aren’t really important. It’s more important that the kids are having fun.”

While trophies are up for grabs, the senior tournament’s winning team will also move on to compete at the Canada-wide competition at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre in March.

Another award will recognize a Grade 12 student for completing objectives such as upholding the ideals of improvisation, learning from others, cooperating, committing to the moment and enjoying themselves.

“This is about the spirit of loving competition,” Wharram said. “You can still be competitive but enjoy what you’re doing and love your team and love the people on other teams. This community is like a family. It’s remarkable and so full of love, care and compassion.”

The regional tournament schedule can be found at

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