The Backline - An Improv Podcast

A weekly Arts and Performing Arts podcast featuring and
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Episodes of The Backline

It's the season finale!  LIVE FROM THE LONDON PALLADIUM in Soho, Rob and Adam celebrate 200 episodes of their award-winning, critically acclaimed podcast in front of a live audience.  Enjoy as Rob and Adam are delighted by a night of music, per
In this episode Rob scours improv Facebook group for a series of conversation starting prompts and ambushes Adam with THE LIGHTNING ROUND!  Also discussed agendas vs deals, and savouring the small moments in a scene.
This episode Rob and Adam dissect the idea of "magic" within improv, feeling like an imposter, and trying to make good scenes.  Also group mind, subconscious priming, and cheating your way through scenes.
This week we bring you a pre-recorded live event from January 2020. Rob and Adam travelled to Hartford, Connecticut to perform and teach at the SeaTea Comedy Theatre. Enjoy this special episode of Questions Only.
This week, Rob sits down with Sean Geobey, Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo who specializes in financial collaboration and co-operative business models.    
In this episode Rob and Adam discuss the announcement of the Second City being put up for sale and what financial models make sense for theatres in a post-Covid world. Also discussed  changes at the UCB, charitable improv companies, and some bi
This week we bring you an audio version of The Assembly Toronto's online lecture series entitled "A Brief History of Improv".  Thanks to Martha Stortz, Spencer Thompson, and everyone who attended the live event in Spring 2020.
This week Rob and Adam discuss sustaining scenes. How to keep the spark alive while improvising, layered complexity, and the need to get onstage only so you get off stage.  It's all covered on this week's episode of "The Backline with Rob and A
On this episode, Rob and Adam discuss gender, identity and how stereotypes manifest in scenes. Also: homemade saunas, illuminati pizzas, and why every scene you should walk onstage as a bear (or something equally as clear).
This week we discuss the art of the deal - initiating with a half-idea to inspire your scene.  Rob and Adam also tackle the difference between preconceived notions and deals, existential ennui onstage, and how this philosophy can help perform i
This week Rob and Adam try to answer a simple question about characters lying in improv scenes.  Instead they chat about pre-constructed narratives, fractal storylines, the Act of, and ever shifting character dynamics.
One of the first things we lost in the quarantine was ambition. Performers looked at their calendars and realized their careers (and lives) might never be the same. This week Adam Michael Cawley schools Rob on how to stay ambitious, set long te
Six months ago Adam started teaching improv via Zoom; Rob did not. This week Adam reveals his observations.  From example exercises, and his altered lesson plans; to the differences (and limitations) of improvising within the medium, and how th
This week Rob and Adam debate over an improviser's responsibility to our audience and how we might renegotiate that relationship in the age of Zoom improv shows. Also discussed: the nature of risk, improv's meta-narrative, and pushing improvisa
After months of discussing, Rob and Adam return to improv with some new thoughts about Zoom shows, backgrounds, and best practices for creating visceral, personal online improv performances.
This week Rob and Adam discuss putting your sketches on stage, dealing with lights and sound, and deciding on formal elements to make each scene you perform special.
Now that you've written your sketch - it's probably very bad. In this episode, Rob and Adam discuss reworking old scenes, rethinking premises, and recasting characters.
You have a bunch of sketches but don't know where to put them? We can help!  Find out how to create the best flow for your running order and make your scenes pop.
This week Rob and Adam take a break from their Sketchtown Series to address some of the massive changes happening at improv theatres across the world due to Covid-19 and the economy.  In this episode they chat about the 1980's stand-up bubble,
This week Rob and Adam crack open the Vault, for an episode about one-person sketch, how to write it, and what's the best way to set it up. Back next week with a new episode.
No new episode this week. You can find anti-black racism resources and podcasts here.
Sketchtown continues! This week, Rob and Adam discuss the make-up of relationship scenes, why they're funny, and why although they might underrated, continue to serve an important role in a sketch revue.
This week, Rob and Adam discuss styles, frame of reference, parody and finding the perfect vehicle for your premise. Also, the legacy of Second City founder Howard Alk!
Satire is a comedy tradition that is thousands of years old. This episode Adam and Rob discuss satire, authority, and saying what you mean without saying it. Also The Boys, the Annoyance Theater's President Bush is a Great Man, and the art of m
In this episode, Rob and Adam discuss comedy's relationship with tension, why stakes are important, and when you don't need to focus on stakes in a show. Also Adam's favourite instagram account, I Think You Should Leave, and Kurt Vonnegut.
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