Rapid Fire Theatre

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Rapid Fire Theatre is Edmonton's longest-running improv company.


Rapid Fire Theatre is Edmonton's longest-running improv comedy company, and have been entertaining audiences for over 30 years. Our mission is to provide affordable, high-energy improvisation and alternative theatre to our audiences, while providing exciting opportunities for our participants.

Rapid Fire has approximately 35 members in its performing ensemble.


The origins of Rapid Fire Theatre stretch to 1981, when Edmonton's Theatre Network became the third company in the world to regularly produce Keith Johnstone's Theatresports. The Artistic Director of Theatre Network at the time, Stephen Heatley, brought the high-energy format to Edmonton, and eventually, performers from the show formed Rapid Fire Theatre, which officially became its own theatre company in 1988. Rapid Fire Theatre performed originally at the Phoenix Theatre in Downtown Edmonton until 1990 when it moved to The Chinook Theatre in Old Strathcona, which became the Varscona Theatre in 1994. Rapid Fire Theatre performed there until 2012, and was part of the Varscona Theatre Alliance, along with Teatro la Quindicina and Shadow Theatre. In September of 2012, Rapid Fire Theatre moved back north of the river to Zeidler Hall at the Citadel Theatre, and made their home in Zeidler Hall. In 2013 Rapid Fire Theatre launched a capital campaign with the goal of building their own theatre, and have a goal to do so in the next 5 years.


  • VUE Weekly Best of Edmonton: Voted Edmonton's Best Theatre Company by VUE Weekly readers in 2012, 2013, 2014
  • Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards for: Johnny Drops Out, Lily Skips School, On Being a Peon
  • Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Excellence in Theatre (20th anniversary year)
  • Canadian Comedy Award: Best Comedy Short for "Internet Search History Revealed", 2012
  • Canadian Comedy Award nomination: Best Improv Troupe, 2013

Artistic Directors

  • Stephen Heatley (Theatre Network)
  • Jack Smith 1988–1991
  • Patti Stiles 1991–1995
  • Jacob Banigan 1995–2004
  • Chris Craddock 2005–2009
  • Kevin Gillese 2009–2010
  • Amy Shostak 2010–Present


Rapid Fire produces several shows regularly:

  • Theatresports: Short form competitive-style improv, where teams battle it out in the improv arena. Created by Calgary's Keith Johnstone
  • CHiMPROV: Rapid Fire's long form show, featuring three different acts per night, doing their own formats in 15-45 minute sets
  • MAESTRO: An every-person for themselves competition, where only one improvisor will be left standing at the end. Also created by Keith Johnstone.
  • NAIL: Rapid Fire's monthly high school programming
  • Workshop Shows: Monthly shows featuring public workshop participants
Maestro 2014


Rapid Fire currently produces 4 annual festivals:

  • Wildfire: 3-week long festival, featuring high school and junior high improv - February
  • Bonfire: festival celebrating experimental long form improv. RFT ensemble members direct their original ideas - April
  • Improvaganza: international alternative comedy festival, featuring stand up, sketch, music and improv. RFT's biggest yearly production, drawing over 3000 audience members. - June
  • Prairie Bowl: Theatresports tournament featuring teams from the Prairies. - November


Rapid Fire Theatre has represented Edmonton at festivals, including:

  • Vancouver International Improv Festival (Vancouver)
  • Winnipeg IF... Improv Festival (Winnipeg)
  • General Fools Fest (Regina)
  • Calgary Improv Festival (Calgary)
  • St. Valentine's Day Massacre Theatresports Tournament (Vancouver)
  • Berlin Impro Festival (Berlin)
  • Wurzburg Impro Festival (Wurzburg)
  • Dad's Garage World Domination Theatresports Tournament (Atlanta)
  • Picnic Impro's Monkeyfest (Bogota)
  • Lost in Translation (Milan)
  • Chicago Improv Festival (Chicago)
  • Out of Bounds (Austin)
  • FERIIR (Reunion Island)