What is improvlab?

ImprovLab is the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation's research and performance facility located in the Arts Research Centre at the heart of the University of Guelph campus. This multi-use venue is home to leading-edge research on the social impacts of improvisatory artistic practices; boundary-pushing performances across all artistic disciplines; and impactful community workshops. It is a state-of-the-art research space designed for the presentation, broadcast, archiving, and analysis of improvised performance and audience reception studies; a site where researchers and artists can explore, create, and collaborate freely, and share new creative works with campus, local, and global communities. 

Building on the renowned, interdisciplinary research programs in Critical Studies in Improvisation—and enabled by core funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)—this world-class facility is designed to cultivate collaboration and interdisciplinary research while fostering the next generation of performances and audiences.

Core Equipment

ImprovLab features:

  • a Tarkett Sports sprung dancefloor
  • sophisticated, highly adaptable stage lighting (including ETC Element 40-250 Console)
  • flexible StageTek Risers
  • telematic, livestream-ready audio and video equipment
  • a state-of-the-art sound system suitable for a wide range of sonic activities
  • select musical instruments, including a Steinway baby grand piano, various synthesizers, and more

More About The Space

ImprovLab is a research and performance facility defined by its flexibility. This facility invites a variety of configurations, ranging from a controlled black-box environment to an open, airy space that engages visually with the courtyard outside. With a wide array of moveable sound, lighting, and staging equipment, ImprovLab fulfills all the needs of a conventional, high-quality live performance event while simultaneously inviting infinite possibilities for experimentation. Optimized for acoustical integrity and features state-of-the-art technical infrastructure, this space allows artists and presenters to showcase work with fewer barriers than they would encounter in a conventional theatre space or performance venue.

In addition to the main theatre space, ImprovLab is adjoined by a multipurpose green room.