Improv group holds workshop, plans Valentine’s Day event this week

collateral dan white groupBy MEGAN RACH

Local Sarnia improvisation troupe, Collateral Damages, is giving comedy enthusiasts as well as students the chance to flex their improv muscle while helping communities in El Salvador.

In a workshop hosted this past Saturday (Feb. 9), participants were able to learn valuable skills in improvised comedy for a day.

They're also scheduled to perform on Valentine's Day at Stokes by the Bay's Riverview Room. Tickets are $25.

Dan White, a member of Collateral Damages in addition to his role as drama teacher at Sarnia Collegiate Institute and Technical School, believes improv is a skill that can be taught to even the most inexperienced actors. He says workshops are an important part of that learning process.

“They develop people’s acting skills, so people involved in the theatre get another skill set that's essential to acting,” White said. “Improvisation is key to any kind of performance.”

Brittany Elliot, an 18-year-old participant, said despite knowing the activities done during the workshop, there is room for practice and to better the skill.

Collateral Damages is not only giving local enthusiasts the chance to hone their skills but in doing so is raising money and contributing to Es Artes, the Suchitoto Project in El Salvador started by Stratford Festival artists.

The impact of the project on youth in El Salvador is immeasurable, said White.

“It gives kids an arts option rather than getting involved in gangs, as gangs and gang violence is prevalent in parts of El Salvador,” White said.

With more than $3,000 donated so far to the project, Collateral Damages is going strong while promoting comedy and acting within the community. With the success of last weekend's workshop, the troupe plans to continue the fun and skill-building improv lessons.

Details on upcoming shows, including this Thursday's Valentine's Day event, can be found on Collateral Damages' Facebook page.

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