Transforming lives through the power of improv
Since 2013, The Making Box has been at the centre of improv and comedy for the Guelph-Wellington and surrounding areas. It all began for Jay Reid (BAS ’15) who, when in high school, participated in the Canadian Improvisation Games and witnessed how the art of improv can transform people, both on and off the stage. Paired with his experience in an entrepreneurship course at the University of Guelph, Reid saw an opportunity – he decided to take the leap and start the Making Box with the help from the Wood Centre’s Hub incubator program.
In recent years, the Making Box has pivoted to not only offer improv lessons for joy-seeking folks but live comedy events and corporate training workshops as well.
“We have worked with such an amazing range of individuals from all over the world, including universities, governments, business executives,” says Reid. “Improv strengthens people’s ability to create, communicate, reduces anxiety and so much more.
In 2016, The Making Box was nominated for both Innovation Guelph's Start-Up Of The Year and The Guelph Chamber of Commerce: Community Spirit Award. In 2017, they championed Canada’s most funded theatre Kickstarter and launched Guelph's first storefront comedy theatre and improv education centre.
Armed with resilience and creativity.
Armed with just an idea, Reid applied to the Wood Centre Hub Incubator Program a total of three times. Each time he applied, he was able to hone his idea and vision for his business to flush the idea out in a realistic way. On his third pitch attempt, Reid was accepted into the program. “Our story is of resilience and adaptivity and failing forward.”
The company has weathered some very difficult storms through COVID. They went from having their best month in the history of the business to their worst, almost overnight. While quarantined and without the ability to host their interactive workshops, Reid and his team used the time to refine their vision and values, which has helped them adapt to create virtual improv and comedy workshops. “Virtual improvisation is just as effective and fun as it is in person,” says Reid. “We offer 8-week programs and drop-ins for adults, kids and families. Even if you’ve never tried improv, there’s plenty of opportunities for you to jump in.”
The Making Box now employs a team of 14 and they have been able to maintain their entire staff throughout the pandemic.
Wanting to foster a sense of community within the Guelph comedy and improv scene, The Making Box provides scholarships and bursaries to those who would like to explore improv but aren’t financially able to. They also offer a give-back program where they provide a free workshop to a local not-for-profit organization whenever a business books their services
Learn more about the Making Box