“Yes, and…” Improv Club is back by student demand

Mitchell Shaw, Editor

Improv Club is back at Viterbo University after an extended absence from campus. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols and a lack of student interest, Viterbo’s varsity and recreational improv teams disbanded Fall 2019; however, two underclassmen of Viterbo’s Theatre Conservatory have decided it was time improv was born again at Viterbo. To their surprise, many students attended their first ‘improv jam’ to have some fun and share a laugh. 


“[Improv] has made a grand comeback,” declared Natalie Davies, senior music theatre major, former Improv Club president. Longstanding students and staff can think back to the days the renowned group, “Square Wheels,” Viterbo’s competitive improv team, was cultivating new student jokesters and splitting sides. After a quiet period of two years, Emma Phillips, second-year music theatre major, and Jessica Schneider, first-year theatre major, have decided it to reform the group under advisor Erin Jerozal, department chair, and student mentor, Davies. 


“When I first arrived, last year, at Viterbo I heard that there was an improv team, and I was eager to join, Phillips stated. “However, when I found out there wasn’t [an improv team] anymore, I was eager about getting it started again.” Through an email train, conducted by Jerozal, Phillips, Davies, and Schneider set the ball in motion; they set club goals, filed the necessary paperwork, and planned the group’s first “improv jam” which took place Thursday Nov. 11, in the Fine Arts Center Recital Hall.  


“We had a lot of great people turnout!” Phillips exclaimed. The event was composed of a series of games and exercises to build connections, have some fun, and instill improv’s most famous rule of “yes, and…” Phillips told the Lumen that attendance numbers were higher than expected and that Schneider and she have, for the future of the club, much to look forward to. “I am very excited about the experience and freedom [improv club] is going to give students.” Phillips said, “Getting to collaborate with people, especially those I don’t get to through classes, is something I am really looking forward to.” 


Some credit of the success so far is owed to Davies, club mentor, who believes improv has played an important role in her development as an actor onstage, a professional in the workplace, and as a person making her way through life. “I think [improv] has really given me the ability to think on my feet,” stated Davies. “When a director asks me to make a choice, then another choice, those different ideas now come more quickly to me. I have also noticed in job interviews, as well as other important conversations, I am able to keep it moving rather than have awkward silences… the ‘yes, and’ idea always keeps me safe.” 


Those interested in being part of the club, would like more information, or stay up to date on upcoming performances are encouraged to follow Viterbo Theatre & Music Theatre’s social media. Phillips also said students are free to contact Schneider or herself directly if interested.