Failing forwards with Calgary TheatreSports

Failing forwards with Calgary TheatreSports

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I wasn’t terribly into sports when I was in high school. I’d like to say it was because I didn’t like them, but it’s more likely because if I tend to catch a football, it’s usually with my face.

I did like sports: I liked the idea of learning leadership and teamwork skills through something fun and recreational. But again, footballs to the face.

But thankfully there was another team activity I got to participate in: improvisation. Although not as physically demanding (unless you’re performing some on-the-spot interpretive dance) it still taught me a lot of the same skills football would have. It inspired Ali Froggart, improviser and founder of Sour Dog theatre, in many of the same ways.

“We’re taught a lot in school that failing is negative,” Ali says. “But you truly can’t succeed without taking risks. Improv is about being positive, saying yes and embracing failure.”

Improvisation has opened so many doors for Ali. It was never just a hobby: she always knew she wanted to do it as a career. Now she has the opportunity to travel to Norway, Dubai, and Holland, performing and teaching improvisation.

But she got her start in high school and through the Calgary High School Theatre Sports Tournament.

The tournament hosts high school improv teams from across the city to compete and shine a wonderful spotlight on the talented youth.

Now that she’s a professional director and improviser, Froggart donates her time along with fellow tournament alumni Andrew Phung, Anyssa McKee, and Alexa Mackell to co-produce the event at Loose Moose theatre.

Since it opened so many doors for her, Froggart is proud to help provide the chance for teens to learn some of the same skills she earned strutting her stuff on stage.

“We’re always afraid to look stupid in front of your friends, but if you embrace the fact that you’re failing, you can always find humour in it,” Ali says.

Something to keep in mind, especially if you’re the kind of person who takes footballs to the face.

Andrew Glen McCutcheon is an Albertan reporter and freelance writer.

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