Reimagining Hot Garbage

Category: community 165

Fredericton improv troupe share details on new workshops and teaching initiatives planned for 2018.

Matt Carter

If you look up Rules of Improv on the web, you’ll no doubt find countless lists and opinion pieces each created in an attempt to frame the unframeable. Sure, it’s nice to have a guide to help navigate the terrain, but by its definition, improv is largely based on being in the moment, being aware and going with the flow. It’s also about listen and responding, two important factors that are helping to shape the year ahead for Fredericton-based improv troupe, Hot Garbage Players.

“We’re really excited about 2018,” said HGB co-founder Jean-Michel Cliche. “We’ve been thinking of how to expand past our regular shows and offer new things to the community. Part of our approach is changing ourselves from an improv group to a comedy collective. By being a collective we’re opening ourselves up to new projects, but also collaborations.”

Over the past couple of years, HGP have been hosting themed improv performances at Wilser’s Room in Fredericton and are currently the most active (and possibly the only) improv group in the city. As the group make the shift towards comedy, 2018 will present a whole new audience and a new world for the company to explore.

“We’ve already talked to a few people and have some new things incubating, which is very exciting,” said Cliche.

Along with a shift in performance direction, Cliche and his fellow performers are also looking to expand on the teaching side of the group’s activities.

“We’re also looking at changing the way we teach improv in Fredericton,” he said. “We’ve always been a training company, where we invited local theatre folks to learn the improv ropes with us before performing at Wilser’s Room. We’re all teachers and educators, so we’ve been researching how improv is being used as a teaching tool for folks all over the world.

“We’ve come up with two programs,” said Cliche. “Firstly, we’ve created an Improv for Confidence class in partnership with UNB’s student services. Lots of improv companies are using improv as a way to empower people who feel the pressure of socializing or communicating with others. That can range anywhere from social anxiety to public speaking. Improv is a world of saying ‘Yes’ and trying things without fear of judgement or failure. We’re really excited to offer this class to UNB and STU students without charge. It’s definitely new territory for us, but we hope to offer classes like this for the general public in the future.”

Hot Garbage Players’ Improv for Confidence class begins February 5 and runs until March 26.

The company also has plans to explore the world of team building and leadership skills teaching businesses how to use the elements of improv as creative tools in the workplace.

“We’re also looking to offer Improv for Business classes,” said Cliche. “This is less geared towards learning the technique of improv, and more focused on team building and promoting leadership skills for businesses. Improv games are such a great way to flex creative muscles, improve verbal and non-verbal communication skills and mainly – to have fun.”

To learn more about Hot Garbage Players’ workshops, programs and performances, visit them online at  


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