Cast members of Dirty Laundry goes to camp
Dirty Laundry goes to camp | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo

Dirty Laundry

Calgary’s improvised live soap opera goes to camp for its 20th season

Amy Jo Espetveidt

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With no scripts and a season-long theme that weaves in two generations of performers, Dirty Laundry continues to do the impossible on stage. In fact, they’ve been doing it for two decades.

Dirty Laundry is Calgary’s only completely live, completely improvised soap opera! And this year, the company heads to camp starting on October 21, 2019.

Founded in 1999 by returning Artistic Producer Karen Johnson Diamond and Elinor Holt, the company partnered with Lunchbox Theatre in 2008 to perform on their Monday evenings.

“What draws us to live improvisation is the fear and the risk, like leaping out of a plane,” says Johnson Diamond in a statement. “The cardinal rule of improv is to take care of your scene partner, so to use the analogy, you get to jump out of the aircraft with gusto and you know that you’ll be caught.”

In 2014, company began a new program for young improvisors called Dirty Laundry: The Next Generation, which includes mentorship for performers ages 15 to 18 and the opportunity to showcase their skills in the Sunday night series.

The new season explores a nostalgic summer tradition as Dirty Laundry heads to camp! So, pack your sleeping bags, bring your swimsuits, and get ready for a cell phone-free summer of crafts, sing-alongs, and new best friends! Rain or shine, it could be the best—or worst—week of your life!

Johnson Diamond is joined this year by co producers Chris Enright (a founding member of the original Dirty Laundry Company) and Lara Schmitz, as well as six new cast members for both companies. And with both groups exploring the same theme, there’s bound to be some crossover!

It all kicks off with The First Generation on October 21, 2019 while The Next Generation takes the stage on October 27. All performances take place at Lunchbox Theatre (160, 115 9th Ave. SE) and the full schedule can be found at