Comedy festival set for Barrie

Talk is Free Theatre (TIFT) is tuning up Barrie’s funny bone, planning to bring a comic festival to the city.
Conceived to be TIFT’s new signature event, the Barrie International Comedy Festival will see bright stars in the comic constellation twinkle the smiles of audiences, starting Thursday, Sept. 19, and starring Colin Mochrie, Sandra Shamas, Buddy Wasisname and Other Fellers, and others.
The festival runs through to Saturday, Sept. 21 at various locations around Barrie. Organizers say its goals include fostering an appreciation of different comedy styles, and helping to promote and develop a new generation of comics, particulaly from the local region.
The festival includes workshops open to the general public. Partners include the Greater Barrie Chamber of Commerce, Royal Victoria Hospital, Simcoe District School Board, Barrie Film Festival, and local bars and restaurants.
Here’s a rundown of the artists, venues and times.
Thursday, Sept. 19
• 7:30 a.m.-9 a.m. (Holiday Inn): Humour in the Workplace (in partnership with the Greater Barrie Chamber of Commerce). Delivered by Naomi Snieckus of the National Theatre of the World. Sold through the Chamber of Commerce for the business community and large scale employers.
• 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (Georgian Theatre) Improv Workshop and Improv Games challenge for high school improv teams.
• 6:30 p.m. (Georgian Room): Dinner and 8 p.m. (Georgian Theatre) Opening Night Gala, featuring a mix of world renowned comedians and local artists: Sandra Shamas, Colin Mochrie (Whose Line Is It Anyway), Andrea Murray, National Theatre of the World (Naomi Snieckus) and many more. Both dinner gala and regular tickets area available.
Friday, Sept. 20
• 6:30 p.m. (Uptown Theatre): Comedy Shorts (international comedy film screening) in partnership with Barrie Film Festival. A compilation of comedy shorts that have been past entrants to the Barrie Film Festival’s Short Film Competition. An eclectic mix of local, national and international films that examine the various styles of humour. Something to entertain all. Please note this program is unrated.
• 8:30 p.m. (Mady Centre): Best of The Second City including post show optional audience participation segment.
Saturday, Sept. 21
• 11 a.m. (Barrie Public Library): Reading Café with Melody A. Johnson and the stories of David Sedaris. Sedaris is an American humorist, comedian, author, and Grammy nominated radio contributor. He has written countless essays which have appeared in the New Yorker magazine, and many popular books including Me Talk Pretty One Day and most recently Let’s explore Diabetes with Owls. The Santaland Diaries is from his book Holidays on Ice and is an annual holiday favourite as read by Sedaris on the U.S.’s National Public Radio. Santaland Diaries is a humorous account of Sedaris’ stint working as a Christmas elf in “SantaLand” at Macy’s department store. Sedaris has been described as “the rock star of writers.” Free event, and first come, first served.
• 12:30 p.m.-3pm (Anne Green’s Yoga): The Improvisation Gym taught by Melody A. Johnson will focus on teamwork, working/playing from a place of impulse, and the art of “Yes Anding” (saying “yes” in order to move action and narrative forward). Give and take focus games will be played in addition to exercises that will allow students to find their improv voice, (points of view). Comfortable clothing is required. For the general public, but enrollment is limited to 12.
• 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (Mady Centre): Robin Hood (Duffelbag Theatre) Performances for children of five years of age and older. Duffelbag Theatre presents Robin Hood. Fully interactive performances for children of 5 years of age and older and their families.
• 7 p.m. (Georgian Theatre): Buddy Wassisname and Other Fellers. Back in Barrie by popular demand. A renowned musical comedy trio from Newfoundland. Audience advisory.
• 8 p.m. (Mady Centre): CHRIS GIBBS’ Like Father, Like Son. A stand-up comedy show about the fears and worries of being a father, and the absolute terror of wanting to be a good one. Post-performance reception included.
Tickets available at TIFT box office at (705) 792-1949, www.tift.ca or in person at Suite 20 – 230 Bayview Drive and at the Mady Centre box office, (705) 739-4228, at City of Barrie Theatres or in person at the Mady Centre.

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