These two talented teens from St. John’s won a national improv competition

Best friends Isaac Andrews Power and Noah Facey of St. John’s took home gold at the Canadian Improv Games, becoming the first team from Atlantic Canada to win the competition. The two say they live and breathe improv, and for them, it has become more than just a game of “yes, and.”

Best friends Noah Facey and Isaac Andrews Power say they’ve dreamed of winning an improv championship since they were 12 years old.

They’re now 17 and 18, respectively, and the two teens from Holy Heart of Mary High School in St. John’s say they’re shocked to have already achieved that goal in a first for Newfoundland and Labrador, and for Atlantic Canada.

“We just didn’t expect it at all,” said Facey.

“Our pipe dream goal was to maybe make it to finals,” said Andrews Power.

The two friends, who make up a team called Battledogz X, won the 2024 Canadian Improv Games, a national competition held in Ottawa that saw 15 teams from across the country compete for the gold. Last year, they placed 13th out of 14 teams.

But before making it to nationals, teams have to win a regional competition. The first time a Newfoundland and Labrador team managed that was in 1995.

Two teens wearing black sweaters stand with their arms around each other's shoulders.
Best friends Noah Facey, left, and Isaac Andrews Power won the Canadian Improv Games, becoming the first team from Atlantic Canada to take home the gold. (Jessica Singer/CBC)

The friends are also the first duo to ever win the competition — all other teams competing are made up of around eight people.

Facey said they were the only two-person team because their coach, Jordan Brenton, used to compete in a duo alongside his friend, Noah Kashefi, who died last year. Competing as a pair is a way to honour Kashefi, said Facey.

“The fact that Jordan had already coached a two person team and as kind of like a love letter to Noah, he’s brought us together to just do a bunch of fun stuff,” he said.

A boost of confidence

Around 300 audience members watched Andrews Power and Facey perform at the improv games, something Andrews Power recalls as a nerve-wracking experience, one that was made easier by performing alongside their less-anxious best friend.

“I was so scared the entire time and Noah was like, ‘Oh, I’m feeling good,'” said Andrews Power.

The two said they practice with their coach every Thursday after school for about two hours, and on Tuesday, they coach their own team. But practicing, talking and thinking about improv doesn’t stop when they leave the practice room.

“We talk about it all the time. Texting each other, talking to each other, calling each other, watching YouTube videos, all that kind of stuff,” said Andrews Power. “We love improv.”

Three people wearing black stand in front of a banner that reads "gold."
Noah Facey and Andrews Power with their coach, Jordan Brenton, middle. (Jessica Singer/CBC)

There are many styles of improv and at the competition, they had to perform a series of “scenes.” One of the scenes is called a “life event,” says Facey, where the improvisers engage in an emotional conversation.

When the duo started improv, Andrews Power says practicing the life event scene was challenging, because it requires performers to be vulnerable and vocalize their emotions. The two both call themselves “nerdy,” and say they sometimes had trouble connecting with others at school.

For them, improv quickly became more than just a game of “yes, and.”

They said it improved their confidence and ability to connect with others, something they are grateful for.

“When I was younger, I was a very like, socially, like, awkward and kind of anxious person. I think just doing improv has just made me so much more confident in myself, my ability to talk to people and like, exist in, like, society with people. And it’s really, really helped me a lot in my life,” said Andrews Power.

Facey said he was an introverted child. 

“Isaac was like … my closest friend growing up. And then we started doing improv together and, like, the more improv I did, the more friends I made through improv and outside of improv and I feel like I wouldn’t be as confident as a person without it,” he said. 

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