Coko Galore presents UNSCRIPTABLE!
Presented by The Theatre Centre
Some actors know their lines! Some don’t! This show matches actors who know their scripts with improvisers who don’t! It’s unpredictable, unrepeatable, unscriptable!
Featuring Ajahnis Charley (Station Eleven), Paloma Nuñez (The Republic of Sarah), Kirsten Rasmussen (Slo Pitch), Sharjil Rasool (Second City), Guled Abdi (TallBoyz), Giovanni Spina, Maricris Rivera, Jenny Raven, Chelsea Russell, Kathryn Kohut, and Araya Mengesha. Produced & Directed by Coko Galore (Black & Funny TO). Get ready for a night of unforgettable fun!
Hosted by Coko Galore
Featuring Ajahnis Charley, Paloma Nuñez, Kirsten Rasmussen, Sharjil Rasool, Guled Abdi, Giovanni Spina, Maricris Rivera, Jenny Raven, Chelsea Russell, Kathryn Kohut, and Araya Mengesha
Comedy is Art is made possible by Kingfisher Foundation.
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About the artists
Kirsten Rasmussen is an award-winning comedian, actor and director. Her acting can be seen in Schitt’s Creek (CBC), The Beaverton (Comedy), TallBoyz (CBC), Odd Squad (PBS Kids), Dino Dana (PBSkids), Bit Playas (CBC Gem), Band Ladies (Highball TV), and she is the star of the digital series Slo Pitch (IFC). Kirsten won the Canadian Comedy Award (CCA) for Best Improviser in 2015 and was also nominated for the same award in 2014. She won the 2019 CCA for Best Ensemble with Second City Toronto’s hit show She The People, and the 2019 CCA for Best Production for Extravaganza Eleganza, an all-queer sketch comedy revue which Kirsten directed. Kirsten is an alumna of Second City Toronto mainstage company where she wrote and starred in three reviews. Her writing credits include The Snoopy Show (Apple Plus) and This Hour Has 22 Minutes (CBC), Because News (CBC), The Irrelevant Show (CBC), and Healing From Heartbreak (YOUTUBE). Kirsten has taught improv and sketch for over 15 yrs all over Canada.
Sharjil Rasool is an actor and comedian. He is an alumnus of The Second City where he wrote and performed in three critically acclaimed mainstage revues. Sharjil has performed in various comedy festivals around North America and was featured in the JFL42 New Faces showcase. He starred in Alaska (2019), which won Best Canadian Short Film at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival and was the Grand Prize Winner at JFL NorthWest: World Wide Shorts. Sharjil is the voice of Ajit on Teletoon’s anime series Bakugan.
Ajahnis Charley (they/them/that bitch) is a Black, Non-Binary comedian and is the Just For Laughs’ New Face of Comedy: Canada. Well, one of them. But look how pretty they are! They are an alum of The Second City Touring Company and they star in the HBO miniseries Station Eleven and Bell Media sitcom Shelved. They’ve written punch-ups for the upcoming comedy series Bria Mack Gets A Life, comedy-doc Stay Tuned and news satire for platforms The Beaverton and Because News. If you hear a pun about butts in Canadian media, they likely had something to do with it. The National Film Board produced Ajahnis’ award-winning directorial debut, I AM GAY. Spoiler alert: they are very gay. Their solo show THOTS & PRAYERS won awards at Toronto and Montreal Sketch Comedy Festivals. Ajahnis is a co-founder and co-producer of the Untitled Black Sketch Project, Canada’s first all-Black sketch ensemble unless Joe Pesci wants to join. Ajahnis is obsessed with Joe Pesci.
Paloma Nuñez is an award-winning Canadian-American actor who has been performing across North America for the past 15 years. Recent theatre credits include She The People (Second City), The MAD Show (Theater Aspen), The Wonder Pageant (Coal Mine Theatre), Moonstruck (Tarragon/Bad Dog Theatre), and Chile Con Carne (Factory Theatre). When she’s not on stage, she’s on your screens! Selected TV/Film credits include Spotlight, Shazam!, Mouthpiece, Baroness Von Sketch Show (CBC), Kim’s Convenience (CBC), In Contempt (BET), and Schitt’s Creek (CBC). When Paloma is not acting she spends her time directing and spending time laughing with her wonderful family. She would like to thank her loving husband and her two feminist sons for all of their support and love. Follow her on Twitter @palomanunez.
Guled Abdi is a Toronto-based comedian, writer and 1/4 of the multi-award-winning sketch troupe TallBoyz II Men. He’s performed at OFF-JFL, Montreal Sketchfest and the Toronto Fringe Festival. You can catch Guled performing weekly at Bad Dog Theatre as part of Drosselmeyer or at random bars you didn’t know had comedy shows.
Coko Galore (she/they) is the moment. Despite her full-time job of being a Black Woman, she found time in her busy schedule to write for Canadian comedy institutions This Hour Has 22 Minutes and the Canadian Screen Awards. She has a magnetic presence and appears in critically acclaimed shows TallBoyz, Overlord & The Underwoods, and has attracted international attention as the face of Gain. She will also be seen in the upcoming season of Pretty Hard Cases (CBC), and The Accused (Fox). Black-centred content is her artistic mandate, and as producer, she has established Canada’s first and only all-Black sketch ensemble and comedy festival, the Untitled Black Sketch Project and the Black & Funny Toronto Festival. She is also the former Artistic and Managing Director of The Bad Dog Comedy Theatre. Comedy festivals worldwide have had Coko grace the stage as a headlining act, and she is a frequent speaker as a host and panellist. Is she the Canadian Beyoncé, Oprah, or Michelle Obama? No. She’s Coko Galore.
Giovanni Spina is just as excited as you to experience Unscripted. Thus far, Giovanni has stayed on the “given dialogue path”, some of this dialogue was performed in Sin and Sorrow are Common to All (TIFT) and Star Trek Discovery (CBS), he even insisted on reading the monologue he wrote himself for his wedding vows this past April. He has recently directed adapted productions of Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar (Shakespeare in Action), and he is currently developing a docu-play. Giovanni wants to thank his loving and supportive wife and family.
Maricris Rivera (she/her) is a Filipina-Canadian performer, producer, creator, and stage manager. She is a member of the multi-award-winning multidisciplinary ensemble, Tita Collective. She also plays with her band Understudy and is planning on releasing a solo EP in the near future. Previous theatre credits include Kwento (Tita Collective, 2022 Forward March Festival, Theatre Direct), Tita Jokes (Tita Collective, 2019 Toronto Fringe, 2020 Next Stage Theatre Festival), Short Dances (Alvin Collantes), Tale of a Town (FIXT Point), A New World Being Born (Carlos Bulosan Theatre), The Renaissance Woman (BOSS Dance Company), Lily (In’Trinzik Dance Project).
Jenny Raven was born and raised in Hong Kong to a Chinese mother and a British father. She grew up speaking English and Cantonese. She later moved to Toronto to attend University – graduating with a BSc. in Criminology and Psychology. Most recently she became a certified yoga teacher. When she isn’t hanging with her dog or experimenting in the kitchen she acts. Select credits include – Black Mirror, Flatliners, Designated Survivor, Kim’s Convenience, Good Witch and Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.
Chelsea Russell studied in the Acting Conservatory at York University. She has been working professionally as an actor in theatre, TV and film. She recently appeared on stage in ‘Pipeline’ at Soulpepper and ‘Mash Up Pon Di Road’ for PaulWatson Productions. She is passionate about working in afro-centric theatre tv and film. She also works in music and is currently working on an indie music project, her debut EP, focused in the alternative R&B genre. She is currently represented by Alix Kazman at Fountainhead Talent Agency.
Araya Mengesha is a Toronto-born and raised actor/filmmaker. His work is motivated by the intersectional narratives of the 1st-Gen diaspora across the globe. Selected TV/Film: Nobody (Universal Pictures), Anne with an E (CBC/Netflix), Tiny Pretty Things (Netflix), Shoot the Messenger (CBC/WGN), Mystery Hunters (YTV/Discovery Kids), Run This Town (SXSW), and Nurse.Fighter.Boy (TIFF). Selected Theatre: Disney’s The Lion King (Mirvish), War Horse (Mirvish), Breath of Kings (Stratford). Araya co-directed the short film DEFUND, marking his directorial debut (World Premiere, TIFF 2021). In development: feature film The Section, based on the short piece Tef that came out of Araya’s residency at the Canadian Film Centre.