Jay Ono Diversity Scholarship


The Vancouver TheatreSports (VTS) and the Improv Comedy Institute (ICI) are actively looking to encourage diversity within the improv community.  As improvisers, we tell stories and we want our stories to reflect the experiences of our greater community. In order to achieve this, we are encouraging people from under-represented populations within the improv community to apply for the Jay Ono Diversity Scholarship. These include but are not limited to:


Individuals with diverse ethnicity and cultural backgrounds

Individuals who are LGBTQ2+

Individuals over 40

People with disabilities


Scholarship Details

At the start of each Improv Comedy Institute school year, we will offer two full tuition scholarships to attend the entire Core Series.  The Core Series is a set of four – 8 hour classes that cover the key principles of the VTS style of improv.  We are looking for students with diverse backgrounds who show a strong interest in pursing improv professionally.  The total value of these scholarships is approximately $556.  The application deadline is Wednesday July 31, 2019.  The scholarships will be awarded on Monday August 5th, 2019. The scholarships are valid for one year after date of offering and applies to any class within the ICI Core Series.


Further Vision

In addition to the scholarship, we plan on hosting a yearly Diversity Improv show. The cast will be made up of performers from our VTS main stage, Rookie League and special guests. The show will be a celebration of diversity and will hopefully inspire everyone to learn improv.


Scholarship FAQs

  • This scholarship is only available to new students at the Improv Comedy Institute.
  • The Recipient will be awarded the scholarship on Monday August 5th, 2019 and must complete all four Core classes by the end of the school year in June 2020.  No extensions will be granted on class completion.
  • The Recipient must enroll and begin classes within 6 months of being awarded the scholarship.
  • The Recipient must meet the Improv Comedy Institute’s age minimum of 18 years.
  • This scholarship is not connected to placement in our Rookie League or placement on our VTS main stage.
  • Class placement will be based on availability.
  • Selection of the Recipient will be done by Jay Ono along with the Director of Public Education and the VTS Artistic Team.
  • Currently, we are able to offer one full scholarship.  The monies for this scholarship have been donated by Jay Ono.  It is our hope to grow this program so we can offer additional scholarships in the future.  Donations to this fund are welcome.
  • If students do not receive this scholarship and finances are a barrier to improv education, students are encouraged to apply to our Colin Mochrie Scholarship as well.  The Jay Ono Scholarship does not replace the Colin Mochrie Scholarship.  The two programs will exist to aid students who are passionate about learning improv at VTS.

How to Apply

If you are interested in the Jay Ono Diversity Scholarship at the Improv Comedy Institute, please apply with the following information:

1. Write to us and tell us the following:

a) Your name

b) Tell us about yourself and why you are applying for the Jay Ono Diversity Scholarship

c) Tell us about your acting, improv or career/ life experience.

  • NOTE: You do not have to have an acting or improv background in order to apply. We are looking more for potential. If you do have some acting/ improv experience, feel free to include links to any videos, demo reels, acting resumes etc.

d) Tell us why you want to learn improv

e) Tell us why you want to learn improv with Vancouver TheatreSports/ Improv Comedy Institute

f) Tell us anything else that you feel we should know as it relates to this scholarship

All applications will be reviewed and considered, however, only the selected applicant will be contacted.

Any questions and all applications can be sent to our Education Coordinator, Rachelle Goulter at outreach@vtsl.com

Thank you for your interest in the Jay Ono Diversity Scholarship.


Jay Ono Biography

The Jay Ono Diversity Scholarship is named for our executive director, Jay Ono.  Jay has been instrumental in helping the careers of so many talented people that have come through the doors of VTS.  We are proud to offer this scholarship in his name.

Jay joined VTS in 1983.  He saw a show in high school and was hooked.  He started taking improv classes almost immediately.  He started as a player in the VTS ensemble and became the Executive Director in 1994.  Jay currently serves as a board member for the International TheatreSports Institute and Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre for Young Audiences. His past board credits include Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance, Firehall Arts Centre, La Luna Productions, Pacific Space Centre, Rumble Productions, and Tourism Vancouver.

As a performer, Jay has many television, film and stage credits (1983 to 1994). He has 30+ years in the entertainment industry include producing, consulting, directing, teaching, administrating, and performing.  Jay was instrumental in the purchase and renovation of the historic Stanley Theatre in Vancouver, B.C.  In 1999, he was chosen as one of B.C.’s ‘Top 40 business achievers under 40’ by Business in Vancouver.  Jay is committed to adding more diverse voices to the art form that he loves.

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