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First Annual Down Under Improv Festival Set for Now thru 8/24 at UNDER St. Marks

18 teams will enter, only one will come out on top, and only you the audience will determine the Grand Champion! Join Horse Trade Theater Group and Gotham City Improv at the first annual Down Under Improv Festival at UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A) today, August 21-24. Tickets ($7/$12 Double Header) are available online at or by calling 212-868-4444. Group sets will be at 7pm & 8:30pm Thursday through Saturday, with semi-finals at 3pm & 4:30pm on Sunday and the final round at 9pm.

18 improv teams will battle it out to win a cash prize and the title of Down Under Improv Champion! Round 1 will have 3 teams competing in 6 groups with 20-minute sets. The top 6 will be divided into two semi finals of three teams each. The top two teams will go head to head with a 30-minute set each in Sunday nights final show.

The competition will be hosted by Rob Reese, a New York based director, playwright, librettist, and improviser who has directed, performed, and taught throughout the U.S. and in a dozen countries over five continents. Most recently Rob ran the Flatiron Scriptless Workshop Extension (named for the workshop's original location at Gotham City Improv's space in the Flatiron neighborhood). The Workshop combined improvisational creators from theater, music, and dance, and is building towards a full, scriptless theatrical event entitled World Tour. Other recent credits include the theological musical comedy revue Yahweh's Follies (Ars Nova), Kamala Sankaram's chamber opera Miranda (HERE) which received the 2012 New York Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical, Ray Leudke's pocket opera Viva Pablo Neruda (Voice Afire), The New Zealand remount of Keanu Reeves Saves the Universe (The Basement Theatre), A Lethem adaptation The Spray (Minnesota Fringe Festival) and improvisation tours of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

GOTHAM CITY IMPROV is a theater, school, and community of comedic actors in New York City. It was founded in 1987, as the sister company of the Los Angeles based improv company, The Groundlings. GCI helped launch the careers of Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie, Legally Blonde, Best In Show) Mary Birdsong (Reno 911) and Mike Price (Executive Producer, The Simpsons) They teach and perform both long and short form improv as well as sketch. They have shows and drop in pre show classes once a week at 115 MacDougal Street. Visit for a full schedule of classes and shows.

HORSE TRADE THEATER GROUP is a self-sustaining theater development group; with a focus on new work that has produced a massive quantity of stimulating downtown theater. Horse Trade's Resident Artist Program offers a home to a select group of Independent theater artists, pooling together a great deal of talent and energy. It is also the home of FRIGID New York - the first and only festival of its kind in New York City. In 2011 Horse Trade received the New York Innovative Theatre Ellen Stewart Stewardship Award for demonstrating a significant contribution to the Off-Off-Broadway community through service, support and leadership.

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