Gorilla Expert at Zoo's Science-Meets-Improv Show
- Experts Include Tara Stoinski, PHD, of Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
- Impro Theatre Co. Creates Improv Skits Based on Experts’ Talks
- Held in Conjunction with the Western Regional Gorilla Workshop, Hosted by Santa Barbara Zoo
Gorilla experts share their insights and stories, which then become the fodder for improv comedy skits created on the spot by members of L.A.’s Impro Theatre Company, at a special gorilla-themed IMPROVology show held Tuesday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Zoo’s Discovery Pavilion.
Gorilla zookeepers and experts from around the country will gather at the Zoo that week for the Western Regional Gorilla Workshop, including Tara Stoinski, PhD, the CEO and Chief Science Officer of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, who is confirmed as an IMPROVology expert. Others are to be announced.
The doors open at 7 p.m. for 7:30 p.m. performances. Tickets are $15, and $12 for Santa Barbara Zoo Members. Buy at the door or www.sbzoo.org. More information at 962-5339. General admission seating, early arrival suggested; latecomers may be relegated to standing room only.
IMPROVolgy has been described as “a TED Talk meets Second City,” with animal and environmental scientists being interviewed about their research and experiences followed by a comedy skit based on the talk.
“Impro Theatre Company are experts at improvisation, and might create a soap opera based on the talk, or a scene from “Twilight Zone,” or a Broadway-style musical,” says Dean Noble, the Zoo’s Marketing Director who also serves as show emcee. “They interact with the audience and encourage a friendly competition. I’m sure they will ‘go ape’ for this topic.”
Musical accompaniment is provided by Santa Barbara-based pianist Konrad Kono and bassist Michael Schindlinger, an expert in the languages of wild parrots who took part in an IMPROVology show last May and is now part of the IMPROVology “band” (of two). Snacks, beverages, beer, and wine are available for purchase.
Tara Stoinski, PhD, serves as President, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. Prior to taking on the CEO role in 2014, she worked with the Fossey Fund for 13 years in a scientific capacity. Tara has studied gorillas for more than two decades and is the author of over 90 scientific publications and books. Her work has been featured in numerous press outlets, including National Geographic Magazine, CNN, and NPR. She holds degrees from Tufts University, University of Oxford, and the Georgia Institute of Technology and is an adjunct professor at Emory University and Georgia Tech. She is also an executive committee member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s section on Great Apes.
Other gorilla experts to participate in the show are to be announced.
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Known as one of the world’s most beautiful zoos, the Santa Barbara Zoo is located on 30 acres of botanic gardens and is home to nearly 500 individual animals in open, naturalistic habitats. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), representing the highest level of animal care, and participates in AZA endangered species programs for Asian elephant, California condor, Channel Island fox, and Western lowland gorilla, among others. A private nonprofit corporation, the Santa Barbara Zoo depends on community support, not tax dollars, for operations and improvements.
The Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; general admission is $17 for adults, $10 for seniors aged 65+, $10 for children 2-12, and children under 2 are free. Parking is $7.