FST Presents the 6th Annual Sarasota Improv Festival Today

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FST Presents the 6th Annual Sarasota Improv Festival Today

Summer's here and the snowbirds have migrated back up north. That means it's time again for the annual funny fest known as the Sarasota Improv Festival. The non-stop laughter returns today and tomorrow, July 11 and 12 for two days and nights of unpredictable and hysterical comedy, with 17 of the hottest groups on the national improv scene.

Acts from all over the country will perform in the festival that the Sarasota Herald-Tribune called "Hilarious" and the Tampa Bay Times called "High energy." The festival will also feature workshops taught by the professional improvisers attending the festival. This is a must-see event for anyone wanting to laugh out loud or strengthen their funny bone!

Acts from Chicago, Boston, Austin, Miami, Atlanta, New York, Tampa, Orlando and everywhere in between will perform on the FST stages. Pricing varies, with passes available for the weekend at $59, nightly at $49, individual shows at $10/each, and Special Event tickets at $25. Workshops are priced at $29 for a two-hour session with a professional improv group. Tickets are on sale and may be purchased by calling the Box Office at 941-366-9000,or by going online at floridastudiotheatre.org.

In 40-minute sets, groups will perform different types of Improv shows: traditional improv games, long-form comedy, short sketches, musical improv, and this year includes hip hop improv. Returning to the fest after sold-out appearances on FST's stage are Available Cupholders (Austin, TX), Dad's Garage (Atlanta), SAK Comedy Lab (Orlando), ImprovBoston (Boston), Stacked: All-female Musical Improv (Chicago), The Third Thought (Tampa), Hawk & Wayne (St. Petersburg), Dear Aunt Gertrude (Tampa), Lazy Fairy (Sarasota), and the "home team" troupe to kick it all off, FST Improv (Sarasota). FST also welcomes new kids on the block, Improv Against Humanity ( Miami), Big Bang (Atlanta), Post Dinner Conversation (Tampa), Six Degrees Improv (Orlando), Villain Improv (Chicago), and North Coast Improv (New York City.)

Headlining the festival with two special event shows is the award-winning Upright Citizens Brigade Tour Co. (New York/Los Angeles). The Upright Citizens Brigade Tour Co. came to New York, from Chicago, in 1996. The original brigade was founded by comedic legends, Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh. Members will be performing not one, but two hysterical shows for Sarasota audiences. The Upright Citizens Brigade Tour Co. is dedicated to fostering both an appreciation and education of the arts through affordable and high quality comedic performances and classes. Named "Hot Farm Team" by Rolling Stone magazine and "Best Comedy Club" by AOL, The UCB Theatre is widely recognized as home to today's funniest actors and writers. Their esteemed alumni include several performers and writers for Saturday Night Live, The Office, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, 30 Rock, Best Week Ever, Old School, Blades of Glory, Semi-Pro, and countless other films, commercials, and television shows. This group even formed a television series dedicated to their own brand of sketch comedy on Comedy Central that aired for three seasons from 1998 to 2000. This is a show that just might make you laugh until your face hurts.

The Sarasota Improv Festival continues to grow every year, booking new groups and increasing interest in the Improv scene. Rebecca Hopkins, Sarasota Improv Festival Director and FST Managing Director speaks to the excitement of welcoming 17 groups to FST stages stating, "How could producing 17 UNSCRIPTED shows in 48 hours not be thrilling? Every year holds a new adventure. There is always a mix of the new and the returning favorites. The nature of the festival allows for relationships with the different companies to grow. Companies like Dad's Garage, SAK, and Available Cupholders, have been with us from the beginning. The festival helps build connections between the companies that continue throughout the year. At the same time we always welcome new groups to the stage. I'm excited to see what groups like North Coast Improv bring to town. The thing about the festival is, whether returning or new, there is a sense of danger to it. These are improvisers. You have to remember they are literally making it up on the spot. The audience has a tremendous impact on the show. In a lot of ways they determine what the show actually is. You REALLY never know what might happen. That is what makes the festival so exciting-and nerve racking-but mainly exciting."

This year FST will once again extend its reach for the festival to include the Tampa and Orlando areas. This is made possible by a grant through Visit Sarasota County, and the goal is to increase tourism in the Sarasota area during the 'off-season'. The festival is an opportunity for audiences to come stay and play in Sarasota, see the best in Improv, and take a workshop with the professionals. New and returning improv artists especially enjoy the festival because of the talent brought in and because of Sarasota audiences.

Will Luera of ImprovBoston said, "This is definitely one of my favorite festivals of the year." Adding to this sentiment is Rene Dellefont of Dad's Garage stating, "Everyone had a blast. I know I would definitely love to come back."

Passes to all events are on sale and may be purchased by calling 941-366-9000, going online at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or by visiting the Box Office. Ticket prices vary, with passes available for the weekend at $59, nightly at $49, and per individual show at $10/each. Special Event tickets for The Upright Citizens Brigade are $25. Tickets are available now by calling the Box Office at 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:

Friday, July 11

6:00 pm - FST Improv - Goldstein Cabaret

7:00pm - STACKED - Goldstein Cabaret

7:00pm - ImprovBoston - Keating Theatre

8:00pm - Hawk and Wayne - Goldstein Cabaret

8:00pm - Dad's Garage - Keating Theatre

8:00pm - Upright Citizens Brigade Tour Co. - Gompertz Theatre

9:00pm - Six Degree - Goldstein Cabaret

9:00pm - Villain Improv - Keating Theatre

10:00pm - Available Cupholders - Keating

Saturday, July 12

4:00pm - Post Dinner Conversation - Goldstein Cabaret

5:00pm - Improv Against Humanity - Goldstein Cabaret

5:00pm - Dear Aunt Gertrude - Keating Theatre

6:00pm - Lazy Fairy - Goldstein Cabaret

6:00pm - North Coast Improv - Keating Theatre

7:00pm - Dad's Garage - Goldstein Cabaret

7:00pm - Big Bang Improv - Keating Theatre

8:00pm - The Third Thought - Goldstein Cabaret

8:00pm - SAK Comedy Lab - Keating Theatre

9:00pm - Upright Citizens Brigade Tour Co. - Gompertz Theatre

10:30pm - All Play - Gompertz Theatre

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