Tom Tollenaere got introduced to improv in 1997 and was instantly hooked.
Tom is founder and artistic director of RIOT – the Royal Improphonic Orchestra & Theatre, specializing in musical long-form improv theatre, and now celebrating its 11th year. Prior to that, between 1999 and 2005 he was artistic director for The Lunatics, Belgium’s largest short-form collective. He also performed with them as an improv actor from 1997 until 2006.
As an improv musician Tom has accompanied players from Belgium, Netherlands, France, UK, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Estonia, Italy, Spain, Malta, Romania, Greece, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Russia, Japan, Canada and the USA. (He keeps count.) He has also performed as musical director at international festivals in Europe and North America, including FIIF (Finland 2016, 2018), SWIMP (Sweden 2017, 2018), Impro Amsterdam (2019) and others.
Tom has been training and coaching improvisers since 1999. Today, he focuses on 2 key areas:
- One the one hand on musical improv, teaching improvisers how to improvise songs, and incorporate music and song into improvised performances, both short-form and long-form.
- On the other hand he spends a lot of energy on character-driven narrative, mainly for long-form performances.
Apart from his writings on this site, Tom is a guest blogger for the Dutch improblog.nl, and several of his articles have appeared – in English & Spanish – in the international improv magazine “Status” . He is also one of the producers of the “Improovelicious” international improv festival in Leuven, Belgium, celebrating its 9th edition in 2018. He has been editing & maintaining ImprovEncylopedia.org, the largest reference site devoted to improv, since 1999.