Hard to Handle Improv
London's newest improv troupe!
Wednesday, November 29th - 7:30pm at the London Music Club
Get tickets HERE!
A local London boy, Dean Anderson came to improv through a desire to improve his public speaking. While he had a passion for comedy, it was not until he dove into improv that he realized it is much more than being funny. For Dean, it has become an import part of his life. He has graduated through the Shut the Front Door program, performed with Off the Hinges Improv, and was a show host for Pants Labyrinth Improv. In addition to his improv experience, Dean has a solid resume of local theatre experience.
Before a show, Dean gets ready with his preferred warm-up - meditation. After hitting the stage, he winds down with a good, old-fashioned walk. While on stage Dean doesn’t have a favourite game, but if he had to pick one (and yes, we made him) then he would say Four Square.
Away from the stage, Dean is an Addiction Recovery and Relapse Prevention Counsellor. His loved volunteering and giving back to him community. Away from it all, Dean enjoys nature, reading, exercise, food and a good binge-watch of a great show.
Shawna Bartsch hails from Sudbury, Ontario and is fairly new to the improv scene. She’s always had an interest in acting and comedy which led her to try improv. Once she started taking classes with Shut the Front Door, she was hooked. Aside from a high school play (where she played Rudolph), Hard to Handle will be her first official stage experience.
Getting ready for a show will be a new experience for Shawna so it may involve yelling things at strangers, sitting quietly in her room, or learning to play the piano. We won’t know until she jumps out on stage with the rest of her Hard to Handle crew, perhaps performing her favourite improv game - Four Square.
Away from the improv scene, Shawna is interested in psychology, cats, and is an avid World of Warcraft player. She is also a connoisseur of some cat-related fashion items such as earrings and necklaces.
Born and raised in Sarnia, with a stop in Edmonton before settling in London, Bryan Carey came to the improv scene through a lifelong love of sketch comedy. Since memorizing old SNL and Kids in the Hall sketches was not a marketable skill, he decided to finally do something about it and learn the art of imrpov comedy. Working with Shut the Front Door the last two years is Mr. Carey’s only stage experience!
Bryan is normally amped up on the Spinal Tap scale of 11 so he finds it helpful to centre himself with meditation (and multiple trips to the bathroom) before shows. Once on stage, the stress peels off and the fun begins. Bryan loves any games with random twists (New Choice and Whose Line, to name a few). Once the show is over, Bryan likes to hang out with his crew, have a drink, and come down from the amazing energy of being on stage.
When he is not on stage or working with his Hard to Handle crew, Bryan loves playing with his son (future STFD improviser?), training for long runs, and continues to follow his lifelong love of motorsport (Formula 1 and Indycar).
Courtney Coleman is quickly becoming one of St. Thomas’ brightest stars. From a town known for Jumbo and Jumbo Joe Thornton, this diminutive improv star is making waves across the country. Courtney recently won a prestigious Joey Award, which celebrates young performers in Canada.
Courtney began her improv journey in 2014. Trying to overcome anxiety and a tendency to be shy, she was encouraged to attend an improv drop-in with Shut the Front Door and hasn’t stopped since. Courtney has been a mainstay in the STFD Masterclass and is currently the lead of STFD’s Teen program. Before joining Hard to Handle, she performed with Off the Hinges, and has numerous theatre and music credits. She has also been very active in trying to reduce the stigma of anxiety and other mental health issues in her community.
Before a show, Courtney tends to get a bit stressed so she tries to relax her mind to mellow out and save her energy for the stage. Her favourite improv game is New Choice because it forces her to go a totally different way with the scene and guarantees it will be interesting.
When Courtney is not performing, her hobbies include fashion and design. She likes to dress in her own unique style and would love to be a fashion or event planner when she gets older.
Leanne Olson hails from Bolton, Ontario. Leanne is new to comedy, but has been involved in theatre from a young age, both on stage and behind the scenes. She’s well-versed in dramatic improvisation and may still be able to improvise a murderous, Shakespearean tragedy in the traditional iambic pentameter. Leanne is a natural goofball and will transition these skills to the delight of Hard to Handle fans.
Like many of her fellow Hard to Handle performers, Leanne prefers to relax and be solitary before a show. Once loosened up, she likes to jump into basic vocal warm-ups (“The sixth Sheik’s sheep’s sick…”). On stage, Leanne enjoys scenes involving singing, especially anything she can belt out earnestly, dramatically, and badly.
Leanne is a librarian by trade and spends her free time enjoying the outdoors. She fancies math, writing, and contemplating the nature of eternity. Oh, and gigantic dogs.
Born and raised in London, Kevin Pegg has become one of London’s hardest working performers. He began his improv journey by coming to Shut the Front Door shows with his wife (and current Off the Hinges performer, Heather). Watching improv turned into taking improv classes which turned into performing and there is no end in sight. In addition to improv, he performs in local murder mystery dinner theatre, was part of an award-winning short film, and recently came off a successful run of the Jan and Jerry theatre production.
Kevin likes to clear his mind before shows with some music and a solid warm-up. While on stage, he enjoys playing Blind Freeze Tag or Party Quirks. He enjoys rap battles as well, but mostly from the sidelines...
Away from stage, Kevin is an avid motorcycle rider, has competed in triathlons, and recently completed the Spartan Trifecta - a three day endurance test of skill, determination, and just the right amount of crazy.
London’s own Scott Rawson is a man of considerable talent and experience. Growing up a lover of sketch comedy, he would record episodes of Saturday Night Live and watch them 20 times, trying to master all the impressions and characters. He has studied film and television at Humber College, as well as studying at the Second City Training Centre in Toronto. Scott has performed at fringe festivals, performed stand-up comedy at Yuk-Yuk’s, and been credited on many television shows, including Squawk Box on YTV.
Scott likes to listen to loud rock, such as Stone Temple Pilots or Audioslave, to get jacked up before a show. This is followed by a solid warm-up with the troupe to get in the zone. After the show, he likes to wind down with a few beers and some conversation with the troupe and audience members. On stage, Scott loves to play New Choice, Scene Three Ways, and World’s Worst.
Away from Hard to Handle, Scott loves to play music (as a singer and rhythm guitarist) and is a huge baseball fan. He would one day like to be a talented surfer.
A proud lifelong Londoner, Brandon Rudd has served as the heartbeat of STFD since its inception. After years of Christmas sketch performances and SNL fandom, Brandon ventured off to The Second City in Chicago, plunging himself into the world of improv.
Come show time, Brandon's confidence, energy, and leadership set the tone for the evening. He enjoys the challenge of resting his vocal chords and using only physicality during Late for Work, something the rest of the troupe cherishes very deeply.
After shows, Brandon recharges his batteries with his two daughters and pro wrestling (not together).