Production Archive

Throwback TheatreSports, 2015


(Vancouver, BC) – Do you remember Tubbs and Crockett? Leg warmers? The Rubik’s Cube? Line-backer shoulder pads? Big hair? For those of you who do, you know these are icons from the decade of excess – the 1980s. For those of you who weren’t yet born, you’re probably familiar with some of them through retro fashion, music re-mixes, period movies and old TV re-runs.

Thirty-five years ago, a group of Vancouver actors came together, formed a co-op and experimented with a newly evolving theatre genre, TheatreSports™, which gave birth to the entire realm of improv comedy. That inaugural group of actors (including improv super star Colin Mochrie) took up residence in a little theatre off the alley at Howe and Alberni streets – The Back Alley Theatre, and grew to become Vancouver’s, and one of North America’s, premier improv comedy companies – Vancouver TheatreSports™ League (VTSL).

From October 15 through November 21, VTSL celebrates its milestone anniversary and all things 80s with a new feature show – Throwback TheatreSports™. It’s a no-holds-barred comedic trip down Memory Lane (aka ‘the back alley’) complete with classic, and newly-created, TheatreSports™ formats and scenarios. Artistic Director Denise Jones has invited back VTSL alumni from years past to perform alongside current ensemble members. Executive Director Jay Ono, who started his career 32 years ago as a rookie improviser on the VTSL stage, will also make the occasional performance appearance during the run.

While much has changed in the intervening 35 years, one thing hasn’t – audience participation. Improv comedy relies on audience suggestions to move the action forward. That’s what makes it such a daring art form, the performers and tech improvisers don’t know what to expect from one moment to the next as the ‘script’ is dictated by audience input. No two performances are the same. It’s a fresh new show each and every night.

Throwback TheatreSports™ is a show with more twists than the Rubik’s Cube. It will keep you in stitches regardless of whether or not you lived through, or should we say ‘survived,’ the 80s.

We invite you to dig out your legwarmers, don your headband and join us in celebrating the beginnings of VTSL, improv comedy and the decade when ‘more was more.’

Throwback TheatreSports™ runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. from October 15 through November 21 at VTSL’s own theatre – The Improv Centre on Granville Island.

Vancouver TheatreSports greatly appreciates the support of its season sponsors: City of Vancouver,  CMHC Granville Island, The Georgia Straight and The Granville Island Hotel

For more information on VTSL, its productions and its school – the Improv Comedy Institute, visit

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