Regina’s next top comedian
Made Up Emotions
Creative City Centre
Performing improv comedy is a difficult task. But it’s not as hard as starting to perform. In any type of performance, starting out is difficult, though not impossible. Local improviser Andrew Fitzsimmons, a second-year anthropology student at the University of Regina, is well aware of this and has started his own show, Made Up Emotions, as a way to provide aspiring performers a stepping stone in starting their performing arts careers.
But Made Up Emotions features more than just improv. The show is open to anyone who does performing arts and is looking for somewhere to showcase their talents.
“It’s a show where anyone doing performance art can come together and have a venue to perform their work,” Fitzsimmons said. “I find it’s quite difficult when you’re getting out of high school and first starting to get stage time if you’re not established. Instead of one musician putting on his own show where five people come, or one improv troupe where 15 people come, we can all band together and get a larger audience.”
The show was created to help young performers, typically out of high school or in university, find a show to perform in. Because Made Up Emotions exists for young performers to work on their talent, it offers an opportunity not only for them to boost their confidence, but an opportunity for them to work in a space that’s much smaller than some of the more established performing arts groups in the city.
“What I found was that I could get my own stage time and book my own shows, but who wants to come and just see me?” Fitzsimmons said.“We can invite other people to perform whenever they want because I’m sure other people are having the same issue as I am, whether it be musicians, stand-up comics, improvisers, or whatever it may be.”
Fitzsimmons said that they “will take anyone who wants to come up,” so Made Up Emotions offers a chance for aspiring performers to test out their talent before working their way into the big leagues.
But the show isn’t solely for the performers’ benefit. Fitzsimmons said that making sure the audience is happy is an important part of the show.
“We heard really good things from people who were [at the first show], and we do ask, ‘What do you want to see more of?’” Fitzsimmons said. “We’re trying to include the audience as much as we can because improv is an inclusive art, and I think every art should include the audience. What do you want, what do you like to see, and how can the artist create that for the audience?”
The show also gives young performers the opportunities to network, and to make the connections they need to succeed in the community.
“It sounds bad, but it’s who you know,” Fitzsimmons said, “but everyone wants to know everyone.”
Fitzsimmons is able to create a show like this due to the strength of the improv scene in Regina, which is “leaps and bounds bigger than it should be for its population” with “a smart audience who knows what is good and what is bad.” The strength comes not only from the improvisers themselves, but the audience’s desire to see good performances.
“There’s a want for it because it’s thriving and doing well; it’s not in decline,” Fitzsimmons said. “Some of our greatest have moved – like Dan Willows who moved to Vancouver to go professional – but they always come back. You’ve got people who have Sundance Actor of the Year awards coming back to Regina and doing improv scenes every now and then.”
If you’re looking to get involved with the show, you can contact Andrew Fitzsimmons on the show’s Facebook page.