As a nine-year-old, sitting on the couch watching “Whose Line is it Anyway?” with her dad, Jalen Saip never would have dreamed that she would someday be the Artistic Director of The Improv Centre, Colin Mochrie’s alma mater. “I have been performing for most of my life”, says Saip, who is also an actor and singer, “but it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I even considered improv comedy as a possibility!”
After joining the former Rookie League in January of 2017, Jalen discovered that improv was, in fact, one of her favourite things– and it seemed that the world of improv loved her right back! “My acting experience paired with my lifetime of family quips and quick-wittedness made improv like Cinderella’s glass slipper. I was invited up the Mainstage within 2 years and it was like the door to professional improv was swung wide open and nothing could close it!”
With the closure of the theatre and the uncertainty of live performance, hopes of rebuilding seemed bleak. “We opened our doors again in August of 2021 after a year and a half” Saip remembers. “Almost the entire company had gone through a turnover and we went from nearly 200 audience members at a Friday or Saturday show to our first performance to 17 people.”
Now, a year and a half later, Jalen and her team of improvisers perform to sold-out shows multiple nights a week. “We held our first ever general audition after I took on the AD role and the ensemble we have created brings an enthusiasm and joy to the stage that I believe was deeply missed in the pandemic”.
-Written by Meaghan Hommy, fellow improviser
Which ’hood are you in?
I live in the Fairview area of Vancouver! Just a short “jaunt” from Granville Island!
What do you do?
I am the Artistic Director of The Improv Centre but I am also a professional wedding photographer, singer and actor.
What are you currently working on?
We are about to launch a totally radical 90’s show – Bring Back The ‘90s! – where our “live studio audience” gets to help us create the perfect sitcom.
Where can we find your work?