Florida Studio Theatre FST presents the 7th Annual Sarasota Improv Festival, July 9,10, and 11

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(Sarasota, FL) —How do you know summer is near? Is it the smell of Coppertone or the hum of speed boats racing through the bay? In Sarasota, hearing the name “Sarasota Improv Festival” means summer’s just around the corner. The 7th Annual Sarasota Improv Festival will take place on July 9,10, and 11. Due to the popularity of this festival, a third day has been added to the roster. Also brand new to the weekend lineup are two international groups, bringing their wacky worldly improv acts to Sarasota along with our Florida homegrown troupes. Rounding out the festival are the many other troupes from Chicago, Boston, Austin, Miami, Atlanta, New York, Tampa, Orlando, and everywhere in between. The art of Improv is inspired by the world around us. With so many different styles and backgrounds, these improvisers are getting ready to pack some serious punch into their improv comedy.

Pricing varies, with passes available for the weekend at $59, nightly at $49, and individual shows at $10/each. Thursday’s Florida Sampler Party tickets are $20 and Featured Act tickets are $15. The festival will also feature workshops taught by the professional improvisers attending the festival. More information on workshops will be coming soon. All festival passes are now on sale and may be purchased by calling the Box Office at 941-366-9000, or by going online at floridastudiotheatre.org.

With twenty acts from all over the country will perform in the festival that the Sarasota
called “Hilarious” and the Tampa Bay Times called “High energy.” Rebecca Hopkins, Sarasota Improv Festival Director and FST Managing Director, speaks to the excitement of welcoming all these zany, zealous improvisers to the FST stages stating, “Putting together the festival is always one of my biggest challenges of the year. The art form of Improv has really grown and we want to make sure we reflect that with a diversity of groups in the festival. Bringing in ImproMadrid and Omar Argentino Galvan will give Sarasota a glimpse of how Improv has spread internationally. For our featured performers we have Baby Wants Candy and Available Cupholders. We have wanted to have Baby Wants Candy join us from the beginning and have never been able to make it line up. This year everything just came together. We are also celebrating a 7 year partnership with Available Cupholders which has included performances at the festival, additional shows after the festival, and artist residences at the theatre. They are hugely popular in Sarasota because they are always pushing the boundaries into something new.”

Kicking off the festival Thursday evening with the Florida Sampler Party, will be returning Florida groups Just The Funny, Dear Aunt Gertrude, Sick Puppies, Comedy School Dropouts, Post Dinner Conversation, and The Third Thought. These comedic comrades will wrap up the first night of the festival with FAST: the Florida All-Star King of the Hill Competition.


More laughs continue on Friday and Saturday with returning groups including, STACKED, Hawk and Wayne, Dad’s Garage, Villain Improv, ImprovBoston, Big Bang, North Coast Improv, SAK Comedy Lab, and of course the home team of FST Improv. FST’s Director of Improvisation, Will Luera, shares how FST Improv is getting ready to play host of this crazy comedy marathon stating, “FST improv is excited to once again welcome performers from the state of Florida, the country, and now the world to our theater. Every year the cast is inspired by the amazing collection of talent that comes together for one weekend. As performers, this year we aim to not only showcase our usual quick gameplay but also our increased focus on long-form and musical techniques. We will make our fans and supporters proud.”

New to the festival this year is Music City Improv from Nashville and coming all the way from Spain is ImproMadrid, and Omar Argentino Galvan, who will perform his entire act in Spanish. Sarasotans will have the opportunity to experience first-hand the humor and wit from across the world.

Presenting audiences with a unique opportunity to see all the many different types of Improv comedy in just three days, each act will perform in 40-minute sets that include traditional improv games, long-form comedy, and short sketches. Audiences can expect another festival filled with musical improv, including the return of the dynamic and deliriously funny hip-hop style improv.

In addition to the 40 minute sets performed by each group will be two featured act performances in the evening on both Friday and Saturday. Both featured acts will treat audiences to a special 70 minute show. Audiences may recognize the first featured act returning from Austin, Texas, Available Cupholders. Also joining the festival as a featured act is a group known for their instrumental influence of the musical improv genre. Baby Wants Candy has featured performers Stephnie Weir and Nicole Parker (MadTV), Rachel Dratch and Aidy Bryant (SNL), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock), Garry Tallent (Bruce Springsteen and the E St Band), and Mark Pender (Max Weinberg 7) to name a few. The New York Times calls them, “Truly amazing,” and The Chicago Tribune describes them as a, “Fully entertaining, gone bonkers aesthetic.” Baby Wants Candy has performed over 2,000 completely improvised musicals to sold-out crowds from Singapore to Edinburgh.

There will be a weekend of international improv combined with musical improv and everything in between. Will Luera, FST’s Director of Improv sums up this weekend of unpredictable hilarity stating, “Without a doubt, the Sarasota Improv Festival is one of the top improv festivals in the country and on par with some of the best in the world. As a previous guest performer, this was always one of the most exciting weekends of the year. The talent, the production value, and especially the audiences create an amazing energy that makes performing in Sarasota a real treat.”

Pricing varies, with passes available for the weekend at $59, nightly at $49, and individual shows at $10/each. Thursday’s Florida Sampler Party tickets are $20 and Featured Act tickets are $15. The festival will also feature workshops taught by the professional improvisers attending the festival. More information on workshops will be coming soon. All festival passes are now on sale and may be purchased by calling the Box Office at 941-366-9000, or by going online at floridastudiotheatre.org.


About Florida Studio Theatre

Known as Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company eventually settled down into a permanent home, acquiring the former Woman’s Club building – now renamed the Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American Theatre, presenting contemporary theatre in its five theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the newly renovated Gompertz Theatre, the Goldstein Cabaret, the John C. Court Cabaret, and the new Bowne’s Lab Theatre.

Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience. Under Richard Hopkins, Artistic Director and CEO, FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world. As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.

Performance Schedule:

Thursday, July 9

7:00pm – Just The Funny/Dear Aunt Gertrude/Sick Puppies– Bowne’s Lab

8:30pm – Comedy School Dropouts/Post Dinner Conversation/Third Thought– Bowne’s Lab

10:00pm – FAST(Florida All-Star King of the Hill Competition) – Bowne’s Lab

Friday, July 10

6:00 pm – FST Improv – Goldstein Cabaret

7:00pm – STACKED – Goldstein Cabaret

7:00pm – Music City Improv – Keating Theatre

8:00pm – Hawk and Wayne – Goldstein Cabaret

8:00pm – Dad’s Garage – Keating Theatre

8:00pm – Baby Wants Candy – Gompertz Theatre

9:00pm – Villain Improv – Goldstein Cabaret

9:00pm – ImprovBoston – Keating Theatre

10:00pm – Available Cupholders – Keating

Saturday, July 11

4:00pm – Omar Argentino Galvan – Bowne’s Lab

5:00pm – ImprovBoston – Goldstein Cabaret

6:00pm – Big Bang Improv – Keating Theatre

6:00pm – North Coast Improv – Keating Theatre

7:00pm – Dad’s Garage – Goldstein Cabaret

7:00pm – North Coast Improv – Keating Theatre

8:00pm – STACKED – Goldstein Cabaret

8:00pm – SAK Comedy Lab – Keating Theatre

9:00pm – Baby Wants Candy – Gompertz Theatre

10:30pm – All Play – Gompertz Theatre


Group Information:

Available Cupholders

The Available Cupholders theatre ensemble is dedicated to producing experimental, enriching, and entertaining improvisational comedy. The Cupholders aspire to explore and expose an art form cloaked in natural communication, believing Improv to be the theatre of everyday existence. Unlocking the power of this art form through live performance and various performative media, they strive to be on the cusp of a daring theatrical experience that takes place anytime, anywhere. Their goal is to elevate the form and playing field, shedding light on the ever-changing zeitgeist in which we live, with belly laughs along the way.

Baby Wants Candy

The audience shouts out a title of a musical that has never been performed before. Accompanied by a full band, the first title that the group hears becomes the title and theme for that evening’s completely improvised 60 minute musical that BWC creates on the spot.

BWC has featured performers Stephnie Weir and Nicole Parker (MadTV), Rachel Dratch and Aidy Bryant (SNL), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock), Garry Tallent (Bruce Springsteen and the E St Band), and Mark Pender (Max Weinberg 7) to name a few.

Big Bang Improv

Boston style free-form that has been wowing New England audiences and at festivals around the world for years. The entire set moves seamlessly from one scene to the next at the rate of over a scene a minute all following the group play philosophy of “follow the funny”. The show builds rapidly and culminates in a series of surprising and organic callbacks done through the unique editing styling and story-telling of this Boston super-team. This is a high-energy improv experience that redefines itself with every performance.

Comedy School Drop Outs

Comedy School Dropouts (CSD) is an improvisational and sketch comedy troupe based in Miami. Their show is a mix of every aspect of entertainment (Shortform, Longform, Musicals, Videos). CSD members have performed all throughout the United States. From all of Florida, to New York, Chicago, LA, and back. CSD performs every show with the goal of making the audience feel like they just had a moment that they will never forget.

With over 55 years of experience between the cast, CSD members have trained in New York (UCB), Chicago (Second City, iO, The Annoyance), Kansas City (Comedy City), Los Angeles (UCB), and various trainings in Miami, FL. They look to represent Miami in the improv community and show Miami is a city made for comedy.

Dad’s Garage

Founded in 1995, Dad’s Garage Theatre has grown from a small volunteer-led organization to a thriving mid-size theatre led by professional artistic and administrative staff. The family at Dad’s has continued to grow along with us including over 300 volunteers and performers. We now entertain more than 30,000 people each year at our two –theatre facility in Atlanta, at public events across the continent, and at festivals across the globe. In addition to our outrageous original scripted productions, Dad’s Garage produces improv shows 52 weeks per year.



Dear Aunt Gertrude

Since 2009, Dear Aunt Gertrude has kept audiences laughing with its fun-loving, themed show, chock-full of innovative comedy. This 10-member team currently performs both short-form and long-form improv shows at The Box Theater in the heart of Tampa. In the past they have had the privilege of opening for The Upright Citizen’s Brigade Touring Company at the Palladium and have been a featured team with The American Stage Late Night Series. They were delighted to perform among other improv fanatics at The Orlando Improv Festival, The Gainesville Improv Festival, The Tampa Improv Festival and they couldn’t be more thrilled to return to The Sarasota Improv Festival this year.

FST Improv

Since 2001, FST Improv has been providing laughs to every nook and cranny of Sarasota and beyond. From snowbirds to roundabouts and everything in between, every show is unexpected and made up on the spot. Taking audience suggestions, the cast of FST Improv twists and turns it into an improvised game. With audience favorites such as the three headed Broadway star, paper chase, puppets, and more – it’s easy to see why audiences keep coming back. They now have their own space – Bowne’s Lab Theatre – a space for all things experimental.

Hawk & Wayne

Gavin Hawk and Ricky Wayne represent the Chicago and West Coast long-form improvisation styles through Hawk’s training at Second City Chicago and the Annoyance, and Wayne’s training at Los Angeles’ Groundlings. They have been performing as Hawk and Wayne for the past five years at American Stage in St. Petersburg, where they have done year long runs of their shows The Dumb Show, 321, The Memory, News of the Weird: Live, and It’s A Living! This is their fourth time performing at the Sarasota Improv Festival. Other festivals include the Hartford Improv Festival, DuoFest, and others. Next month they are performing at the Detroit Improv Festival. Check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hawkandwayne.


Showcasing their unique freeform style of play, ImprovBoston expertly blends games, scenes, skillful storytelling, off-the-cuff music, and audience participation into unforgettably hilarious performances. This ensemble representing Boston’s best improvisers explores a form that redefines itself with every performance. No rules. No boundaries. Just one brand of spectacular improvised comedy that has put ImprovBoston on the map for over 30 years.


ImproMadrid Theatre (Directed by Ignacio López , Ignacio Soriano and Jorge Rueda) is a company that has almost fifteen years dedicated to research techniques in Theatrical Improvisation . Its objectives; disseminate their knowledge and findings through workshops and courses and above all, create and exhibit Improvisation theater shows . Fresh and original shows in which actors create , unscripted and in the eyes of the public, unique and unrepeatable pieces of theater.

Just the Funny

Just The Funny, Miami’s Home for Improv and Sketch Comedy, was founded in January 1999 by nine veteran improv actors who wanted to create the funniest interactive comedy theater company in South Florida. Still going strong 13 years later, JTF now hosts improv at its own venue, the Just The Funny Theater & Training Center, with weekly shows AND classes in improv & sketch comedy. JTF’s Award Winning Mainstage Cast has been featured in the Miami New Times BEST OF issue in 2000, `01, `05, `06 & `10, as well as Yelp! Miami’s #1 Nightspot. Just The Funny’s Mainstage Cast members perform sketch, shortform, & longform improv. Many of our players are also instructors.

Music City Improv

Nashville’s premier improv and sketch comedy group and school. Our shows feature a variety of short and long-form improv, as well as live and video sketch comedy. Every show is unique, so come often and have a blast with us for less than the price of a movie. Check out our show schedule and buy your tickets online right here on MusicCityImprov.com

North Coast Improv

Established in 2009, North Coast is New York City’s premier hip hop improv comedy team. In addition to performing at venues all over NYC, we currently tour around the country teaching workshops & doing our improvised “hip hopera” at festivals, universities & comedy theaters alike. And if you don’t know, now you know.

Omar Argentino Galvan

Dedicated to researching IMPRO and theater-improvisation techniques . Your Improtour has gone through: Argentina , Chile, Colombia , Brazil, Uruguay , Peru , Costa Rica , Panama , Cuba , Mexico , Canada , USA , France , Italy , Portugal, Spain.

Post Dinner Conversation

No Salad w/ Strangers is Post Dinner Conversation Inc’s traveling team. Specializing in “B Line” – their own Tampa-style long form donned “Flashform” – they feature the best of close-quarters conversation between passengers on a rarely used subway. Currently, they are working on “Last Moments,” another “Flashform” long form inspired by the death of the most famous improviser, Del Close. Both fast and organic, improv’s never been so awkward and awkward’s never been so refreshing!

SAK Comedy Lab

Nowhere else in Florida will you find a place like SAK Comedy Lab. Since 1991, the professional improvisers of SAK have wowed audiences with our unique brand of live, improvised comedy. Based on your suggestions, the SAK actors will make up characters, scenes and songs completely on the spot that are edgy enough for adults but widely enjoyed by younger audiences as well.

Sick Puppies Comedy

Sick Puppies Comedy performs monthly at the Showtime Performing Arts Theatre in Boca Raton, FL. The troupe is 12 troupe members with diverse talents that Casey Casperson, the director tries to use as often as possible. Sick Puppies pride themselves for changing up the improv they perform. Casperson believes that when developing a market for improv like Boca Raton, it’s important to reward new audience members for attending month after month with fresh and new games, formats and challenges. So far, the strategy has worked. The Puppies have sold out nearly every show since February of this year. Considering the company incorporated in January 2013 and began classes and rehearsals last October, the Sick Puppies are honored and thrilled to have so much support so early in their existence. They are thrilled to play with the elite troupes here at the Sarasota Improv Festival and hope to make this a tradition.

STACKED: All-Female Musical Improv

STACKED: All-Female Musical Improv takes a suggestion of one word and delivers musical hilarity in four part harmony. With big characters, catchy songs, and no apologies, Stacked is sure to take you on a wild ride. Stacked is Erin Goldsmith, Stacey Smith, Jenna Steege, and Katie Yore. www.stackedmusic.com


The Third Thought

After a chance meeting in 2010, the Third Thought(TTT) began performing(in 2011) what is now the longest running weekly long-form show in Tampa Bay. Providing grounded scenes sometimes dealing with the infinitely bizarre, we strive for truth in a make believe world. TTT has performed the last several years at the Orlando & Gainesville Improv festivals along with the Del Close Marathon in NYC. TTT also provides weekly drop-in workshops in Tampa at the Tampa Pitcher Show. The Third Thought is very excited to be playing again at the Sarasota Improv Festival and are grateful for the experience.

Villain Improv

Villain has one mission and that is to take over the world! IO (Improv Olympic) Chicago team Villain destroys the stage by performing IO’s signature piece The Harold with dynamic scenes and group work that will leave you in awe. Winners of the 2013 Del Award For Best New Team, Villain kidnaps your sense of humor and keeps it locked up until it inevitably falls in love with its captor.




HAIRSPRAY – November 12 – January 11

DANCING LESSONS – December 10 – February 27

FLY – February 4 – April 4

CHAPATTI – April 8 – May 30




WITH THE PRIMA DONNETTES – October 22 – February 5

AMERICAN PIE – December 31 – April 23





OUT OF BOUNDS MATCH UP – October 18 – January 3



RAP-Punzel – September 23 – November 14

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