St. Ambrose is now home to a brand new improv team for the 2018-19 school year. The team is coached by Brent Tubbs, a Quad Cities local with years of improvisational theatre experience.
After graduating high school, Tubbs traveled to Fresno, California, where he and some friends started an improv team.
"That's where this love of teaching improv started for me," Tubbs said. "It's just the college setting that I love because you know the people who are involved really want to be involved."
After his second year in college, he moved to Los Angeles to start training with the noted Second City Improv program. He spent three years in Los Angeles learning improv and working as an actor in the area. Now, Tubbs acts at ComedySportz in Rock Island, Illinois, and owns and operates the Spotlight Theatre in Moline with his wife, Sara.
With his background in improv, Tubbs is the perfect person to lead the new SAU improv team. In terms of its goals, Brent said he wants the team to be known both on-campus and around the Quad Cities. He hopes they eventually will have an on-campus presence so SAU students can count on the team for a fun night of comedy.
The improv team is exciting for the SAU Theatre Department because it draws interest from more than just theatre students. The group currently consists of eight members, only three of which are theatre majors. Tubbs said the improv team is something that will appeal to people interested in theatre but don't want the time commitment of being in a show.
"It appeals to a wide variety of people," Tubbs said. "It pulls in a lot of those kinds of people who might not have been introduced to the theatre department but who find an interest in improv."
Brent and Sara Tubbs
With his background in improv, Tubbs is the perfect person to lead the new improv team. In terms of goals for the team, Brent said he wants the improv team to be known both on-campus and around the Quad Cities. He hopes the team will eventually have an on-campus presence so SAU students know they can count on the team for a fun night of comedy.
Currently, the improv team meets every Friday evening. Tubbs explains some tips, history, and tricks before the team warms up with games that loosen up members and emphasize focus.
Then, members play various improv games that strengthen different techniques and build confidence. Most recently, the team started working on scene work, in which they received the prompt of "painting a fence" and had to create a scene with a partner based on their partner's reactions.
Throughout the process, Tubbs emphasizes that improv is about being genuine and reacting authentically to what is happening. He said the reason people find improv so funny is that it's like living daily life without a filter.
The improv team will begin its first season with two events each semester, one in the middle and one at the end. Students who missed auditions for the improv team shouldn't worry: Tubbs said there will be another chance to audition at the end of the 2018 Fall semester.
The SAU Theatre Department looks forward to the success and future of the new improv team!