Everett Improv offers laughter and learning


Everett Improv offers laughter and learning

Photo by Rick Sinnett

Pictured, left to right: Christina Jordan, Britney Barber, Zach Wymore and Andrea Chin entertain the audience during the Everett Art Walk.

EVERETT – Everett Improv offers live performances, improv lessons, karaoke, painting experiments and “everything you can dream of within the bounds of reason and law” from their downtown studio and lounge. ‘Everett.
If you’ve been looking to re-socialize since the lifting of pandemic restrictions, Everett Improv (EI) could be the answer. Between their shows, their classes and their “Painting under the influence” events, you will inevitably meet new people. For those who want to slow down a bit, there’s the reverse drive-through show where they come to you and perform in the back of a pickup truck. Either way, Britney Barber, owner of EI, is getting it done.
Barber’s love and dedication to the arts and his sense of fairness are the foundation of EI. She uses her communication and improvisation skills to entertain and educate her students and offers corporate training sessions. She said the workshops could help at any level of the corporate ladder by teaching people how to stand up while still maintaining their cool. Sessions offered include conflict resolution, emotional intelligence and team building.
Remembering what it’s like to work for the show, Barber’s priority is to run an ethical theater. It does this in two ways: by offering its actors free drinks and by paying them well. She explained that there are theaters where all the actors pay for their drinks before, during and after the show. Paid performers in these theaters typically receive $ 12 to $ 25 per night of performance with rehearsals required during the week. Barber doesn’t take an EI paycheck, but puts it back in while his wife covers living expenses. “Money is the last thing on my list,” she said, “if you do the right thing, the money will come.”
His wife, Dr. Jenifer (Jen) Barber, who supports Barber and EI as a Patron of the Arts, is a former US Navy Lieutenant Commander stationed on the USS Nimitz as a crew medic. Jen extended her four-year station on the plane for another two years just to stay in Everett. Barber explained, “We love this city so much that transferring was not an option.” In 2013, they bought their house and “plan to die there like very old ladies”.
During the pandemic restrictions, some theaters had to shut down completely, but EI spread. In the summer of 2020, Barber rented out the room next door, doubling its size. The original space is now mainly the bar and lounge, with the new hall as a theater. With each room measuring approximately 15 x 30 feet, the place is still quite intimate. However, the stage’s black backdrop and walls create an illusion of space while also making the paintings by local artists stand out.
The theater was able to open briefly in the fall of 2020 but had to close in November. Covering the stage in plastic and creating separate modules for the actors, they did a live film dub, where the actors compose the dialogue as they go. “It looked like a killing room!” Barber joked, referring to the Dexter show. After having to shut down again, EI continued by offering online courses and corporate training sessions.
Barber’s dedication to the theater runs deep with a titanium rod in his left shin as proof. She remembers the tale saying, “It was my first show at Jet City (Improv); I was wrong and broke my leg two inches above the ankle. With her foot in the wrong direction and feeling bad for interrupting the show, she insisted that they act around her. Barber would eventually ‘put’ his foot back in place and continue the Dr. Suess-inspired, rhyming show. Laughing, she said, “The theater is pretty hardcore.”
For a list of Everett Improv events, visit www.everettimprov.com/shows

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