Bradley’s improv club has been entertaining audiences for nearly 15 years, allowing students to unwind, laugh and forget about classroom stress. Even when members graduate and the group changes, the friendly dynamic of the troupe remains unchanged.
BBQ Kitten is composed of seven members with various majors and academic interests, yet all share a collective passion for improve comedy.
“Even though the club was created by theater majors 15 years ago, and with improv usually attracting those in theatre, our troupe still has a wide range of majors; anyone can join, really,” Zach Olson, BBQ Kitten president, said. “Within our troupe size of seven, we only have three members who are theater majors. The rest range from English to business marketing.”
Olson himself is a music business and marketing double major, but he said he loves doing improv at Bradley and feels the club allows students to grow their professional and social skills.
“Not only does improv improve social skills, like talking to large audiences, it also helps people think on their feet in real-world business situations, which employers like to see,” Olson said.
Although getting on a stage in front of an audience may seem like an intimidating idea, BBQ Kitten prides itself on being welcoming and fun, according to BBQ Kitten member Robbie Hutton.
“[BBQ Kitten is] just what I needed in order to grow my communication skills throughout the early college years,” Hutton, a senior psychology major, said.
Hutton said he looks at BBQ Kitten as his pathway to becoming involved at Bradley.
“It has given me a way to be in the eyes of the public at the university,” Hutton said. “Hearing laughter after jokes or acts has given me some reinforcement when I do speak up. The experience has made me feel more connected to the campus.”
As someone who did not expect to join an improv club as a freshman, Hutton said his experience has been “exhilarating.”
“Because of my great experience as a member of the Kitten, I recommend coming to a rehearsal to anyone who seems even a little bit interested,” Hutton said.
Another benefit to BBQ Kitten is the closeness of the members, which is shown through rehearsals, according to Olson.
“Rehearsals are usually really fun, and anyone is invited,” Olson said. “We stay up late and experiment with funny acts and occasionally grab Steak n’ Shake with the improv family afterwards.”
The troupe rehearses weekly on Wednesdays, from 10:30 p.m. to midnight in Williams Hall. BBQ Kitten also performs every month, with upcoming shows at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. March 25th in Neumiller Hall.