The Royal Improphonic Orchestra & Theatre (RIOT) was founded on Monday February 19, 2007, in Café Metropol in Leuven, by Tom Tollenaere, Kristien Lindemans & Katrijn Van Bouwel. The trio had 10+ years of short form improv experience under their belt and wanted to start a troupe to perform long form improv with music & song.

A kickoff weekend was organized on June 1-3 (in a cement factory - don't ask) and Koen Thewissen & Thierry Willemaers showed up as well. We had no experience in long form, and little experience in musical improv. But we had a name: Roland And The Zingers (RATZ) - Roland being the make of Tom's piano at the time. A couple of weeks later Joris Vanderpoorten joined as a second musician. It was never the plan for Tom to get stuck behind the piano but he has reportedly been very happy there. We spent most of 2007 and early 2008 learning, experimenting and we did a couple of tryouts.


Our first official show was July 2008 @ CC Casino in Houthalen-Helchteren. Shorty thereafter a dude came up with the name RIOT and we kept it. Our last but last but one King Boudewijn and Queen Fabiola have been decorating our scene - and the latter our logo - ever since.

2009 - 2010

In 2009 - 2010 we played everywhere & nowhere. In larger theatres such as Wagehuys in Leuven, but also in tiny locations, bars, musea, churches, public libraries & lecture halls all over Flanders.


In 2011 we decided to structurally play in larger venues. Fakkeltheater in Antwerp became a second home. Also that year Katrijn won the Flemish Impro Cup; she sealed her victory with the famous words "The only Flemish Impro Cup is an E-cup".

2012 - 2014

Thierry left us for 700 miles of geographical reasons in 2012 and Tania Cnaepkens, Jan Buermans, Jeron Dewulf, Dries Desmet & Yann Van Den Branden joined us on stage as guest players. We also recruited Koen Mertens on drums & percussion.


In 2015 we were permanently joined by Sarah Manhaeve, Kristof Jakiela & Vincent Van Nieuwenhuyze, and we found a new home in Theaterbox, Ghent.

2016 - now

In 2016 we started performing internationally at the Finland International Improv Festival, and at the Fluim Festival in Utrecht. Since then we have been performing regularly in English as well, both in theatres as well as commercial shows. And now in 2017 we celebrate our 10th anniversary! We are already looking forward to our 20th.