This week on Yes But Why, I had the pleasure of chatting with Velvet Duke, Toronto-based entertainer and improv instructor.
Velvet Duke is a world-beloved Black, autistic, queer, velvet voiced, multi-faceted creator, facilitator, and community leader.
As an entertainer, Velvet engages with audiences as a musical improviser, a storyteller, a stand-up, and a host. Velvet studied at and graduated from The Improv Place (Masterclass in Teaching) as well as Second City Toronto Training Centre (Musical Improvisation Conservatory). He has also taken master classes in improvisation with Jill Bernard, Stephen Davison, John Gebretatose, Natasha Boomer, Ken Hall, Mick Napier, Katy Schutte and Chris Mead.
Velvet is also an improv workshop facilitator. Based in Canada with a strong internet connection, Velvet is available to lead workshops virtually to groups around the world. Velvet facilitates virtual classes through international improvisational theatres such as Edinburgh International Improv Festival, The Nursery Theatre, Vintage Improv Festival, and Highwire Improv. He also runs online improv workshops through Guelph Black Heritage Society and Black Improv Alliance. Velvet has facilitated in-person workshops at the Black and Funny Festival, Theatre on the Edge, and with the original Toronto Theatresports.
In our conversation, Velvet and I talk about how much we miss performing in front of an audience and how much we crave big crowds. We are kindred spirits and we talk about a superpower we both have connecting with and comforting strangers. Velvet tells me about his Star Trek fandom improv troupe, “The Dandies,” and about his deeply personal solo show series, “Personal Demon Hunter.” We were excited to chat with each other and we can’t wait for you to listen to it now!
Support Velvet Duke by watching his online improv shows including: “Y’Up”, “Crooner,” and “Crushin It.” Hire Velvet Duke to facilitate an improv workshop at your theatre! Highly skilled and extremely motivated, Velvet is the improv teacher you have been looking for!
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