Hot Thespian Action

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Shannon Guile, Garth Merkelely, Jane Testar, Ryan Miller, Jacqueline Loewen

Hot Thespian Action is a sketch comedy troupe based in Winnipeg. They have been nominated three times for "Best Sketch Troupe" at the Canadian Comedy Awards. The group consists of Shannon Guile, Jacqueline Loewen, Garth Merkeley, Ryan Miller, and Jane Testar. They appear yearly at the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, and many other sketch comedy festivals across North America.


Hot Thespian Action began in 2006 when the three female members of the group took a special studies class in Advanced Mime and Improv at the University of Winnipeg under the tutelage of Rick Skene. By the end, they had an in-depth knowledge of physicality and comedy which they have continued to hone over the years.

With the addition of fellow UofW students Garth Merkeley and Grant Burr, the group rounded itself out and began to work on its 2006 Winnipeg Fringe Festival show Hands On. The show featured a stripped down minimalist esthetic, inspired by the group’s mime roots, along with a penchant for the physical and witty.

In 2008 Grant Burr left the group and Ryan Miller took his place. That year, their Fringe show Hands Off garnered Hot Thespian Action five stars from the Winnipeg Free Press and an interest from many parties, including the CBC, who subsequently asked HTA to appear in the 2009 Winnipeg Comedy Festival.

HTA has performed at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival nearly every year since.

HTA’s relationship with CBC radio has grown over the years, resulting in HTA writing and performing in an hour long radio play Pitching the Turkey, which aired nationally on Thanksgiving, as well as writing and performing several sketches that aired on the national radio show Laugh Out Loud.

The Winnipeg Comedy Fest has invited HTA back to their festival every year since 2009. Twice they have appeared in the televised galas and in 2012 appeared as Alan Thicke's singing and dancing sidekicks in the "Save the World Telethon."

HTA has also performed outside Manitoba at the Saskatoon Fringe Festival, the Edmonton Fringe Festival, Toronto SketchFest, Vancouver Sketch Comedy Festival, SketchFest Seattle and the Canadian Comedy Awards.


Outside Joke

Production History

  • Hands On (2006)
  • Hands Off (2008)
  • Hands Down (2009)
  • Pitching the Turkey (2009)
  • Look Ma, No Hands! (2010)
  • A Show of Hands (2011)
  • Body Language (2012)
  • Hot Thespian Action (2013)

External Links

Official Website