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Improverts publicity for the fringe 2012

The Improverts is a long-running improvisational comedy troupe put on since its inception by the Edinburgh University Theatre Company which primarily performs at the Bedlam Theatre, Edinburgh. They perform every Friday night at 10.30 pm during Edinburgh University's term time and every night during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at half past midnight.[1]

They are the Edinburgh Fringe's longest running improvisation show. Their trademark fast-paced short-form games and slapping of the stage have since been adopted by similar student groups around the UK.


The Edinburgh University Theatre Company's improvised comedy troupe now known as The Improverts was founded in Edinburgh in 1989 by Canadian-born Toph Marshall.[2] He named it Theatresports after the form of competitive improvisation developed by director Keith Johnstone in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1976. As the show grew in popularity the name was changed, during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, (for copyright reasons) to Impro-Vegetables and then finally, in the 90s, to The Improverts. The Improverts was adopted as a permanent, year-round name from September 1997 onwards.[3]

Since the show's inception it has kept the Bedlam Theatre as its primary performance space, running weekly during Edinburgh University's term time and then at the Edinburgh Fringe. Each year new players are recruited largely, though not exclusively, from the student population though every player must be a member of the Edinburgh University Theatre Company. The troupe provides free weekly workshops in improvisation for the general public in order to attract new talent to the group. [4]

Carrying on the teachings of Keith Johnstone, the show's format has twisted and changed over time, but stayed within the short-form sketch mould made famous by TV's Whose Line is it Anyway?.[citation needed]

Current activities[edit]

The Improverts have sold out every one of their fringe shows since 2006 and remain a reliable draw for Bedlam Theatre during its Fringe period.[5]

During term time, the Improverts play on Fridays at Bedlam Theatre at 10.30pm, and hold weekly free improvisation workshops for the general public. Every Friday, the show also features open theatre tech workshops allowing young technicians to learn and improvise with the players.

Notable alumni of the Improverts[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "The Improverts". Edinburgh Festival. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  2. ^ [
  3. ^ "Welcome - Friends of Bedlam". Friends of Bedlam. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  4. ^ Edinburgh Evening News Article
  5. ^ Imps Christmas