The news of the demise of Donald Keith Johnstone, a pioneer of improvisational theater from both Britain and Canada, at the age of 90, has left everyone inconsolably heartbroken.
On Saturday, March 11, 2023, Keith passed away quietly in Rockyview Hospital in Calgary, Canada. A celebratory “wake” will be conducted in Keith’s honor later.
The family might announce funeral services at a later time. Keith Johnstone is missed and remembered by everyone, and they have all expressed their sympathies on social media.
“The news of Keith Johnstone’s passing this morning has put a stop to 16 days of improv festivals for me. Although I have never met Keith, my life would have been considerably different today if not for the book I read by him in the early 2000s and for his innovative ideas.
Thank you so much, and rest in peace, dear impro father.”
Johnstone, who was raised in Devon, England, hated school as a child because it stunted his imagination and made him feel self-conscious and bashful.
Johnstone received a playwriting commission from the Royal Court Theatre in 1956 after working as a teacher at a working-class school in Battersea, London, in the early 1950s.
He then worked there as a play reader, director, and drama instructor, when he decided to go against everything his teachers had shown him to develop more spontaneous players. Johnstone relocated to Calgary, Alberta, in the 1970s to work as a professor at the University of Calgary.
Since childhood, Keith has been acknowledged as a pioneer of improvisational Theatre, co-founder of The Loose Moose Theatre Company, instigator of Theatresports, significant playwright, director, and—most importantly—a much-loved professor.
Johnstone co-founded the Loose Moose Theatre and developed the training program impacting Theatre practice for over 50 years. He uses forms like “Gorilla Theatre,” “Micetro,” “Maestro,” and “Life Game” in his method. The latter has been viewed on US cable television and at the National Theatre, thanks to Improbable Theatre.