Ocean State Improv Festival Comes to Contemporary Theater Company In Wakefield

The festival will take the stage at The Contemporary Theater Company in Wakefield, Rhode Island June 7-11.

By: May. 26, 2023
Ocean State Improv Festival Comes to Contemporary Theater Company In Wakefield

The lights go up. Actors step onstage. The audience does not know what's about to happen… and neither do the performers. That magic moment that holds the potential for anything to unfold is the driving force behind the Ocean State Improv Festival, which will take the stage at The Contemporary Theater Company in Wakefield, Rhode Island June 7-11.


The Contemporary Theater Company invites theater lovers, comedy enthusiasts, and anyone seeking a unique and engaging entertainment experience to join them at the Ocean State Improv Festival. Whether you're a die-hard fan of improv or new to the art form, this event promises to leave you inspired, entertained and eager for more.


“Improv thrives on collaboration and the energy of live performance,” says Maggie Cady, the General Manager at the theater. “There's an electric feeling at the festival, fueled by the fact that every performance is a one-time-only event and one that we will be talking about for years to come at future festivals.”


Now in its fifth year, the Ocean State Improv Festival is a beloved highlight of the summer calendar at the theater, showcasing a diverse range of styles and techniques in a dynamic lineup that will captivate audiences. With 24 troupes performing over four days, attendees can expect an evening filled with laughter, surprises and memorable moments.


“We have returning audience favorites like Juliet & Juliet and Brotha, Brotha who brought the house down when they headlined the festival last year,” says Cady. “We are also thrilled to have 13 troupes who are new to the festival!”


Drum Machine, a one-person sweepingly epic unscripted musical featuring multiple characters in scenes, monologues and songs performed by improv legend Jill Bernard, will headline the 7 pm performances on Wednesday, June 7 to kick off the festival and Saturday, June 10 on the final night of shows. Jill Bernard, co-founder of HUGE Theater in Minneapolis, has performed Drum Machine in 20 countries over the last 20 years, and this will be her first performance at the Ocean State Improv Festival.


In addition to nightly performances, the Ocean State Improv Festival also offers a series of workshops from teachers like Jill Bernard, Ruby Willmann, Sami Haeli and Meghan Wolff of Juliet & Juliet, Denzel Belin and John Gebretatose of Brotha, Brotha, Mark Meritt of Hi-Fi on Life, Stephanie Rae of Wakanda vs. Everybody, and Jason Kelts, Justin Rivers, and Alex Timmis from Electric City Puppets. These provide an opportunity for improvisers of all experience levels to enhance their skills, learn new techniques and gain insights from talented teachers on topics such as improvised Shakespeare, puppet improv, narrative improv and developing your own improv form.


Performances kick off at 7 pm on Wednesday, June 7 and run through Saturday, including troupes from all over the country and mixer shows featuring performers from many different improv groups.


“This year looks like it will be the best yet in terms of the caliber of performances,” says Cady. “The mixer shows at 9:30 pm on Thursday through Saturday are some of my favorites because you get to see folks who have never performed together catch lightning in a bottle as creative sparks fly.”


From past years, the staff at the Contemporary Theater Company know that Ocean State Improv Festival is a great introduction to the world of improvisational theater for one and all.


“Some of our guests are world-renowned improvisers, but many are just like us - artists from smaller communities who want to enrich the world in whatever way they can,” says Rebecca Magnotta, Director of Art and Design for the theater. “For one week a year, all of these artists from all over the world have the chance to come together, and all of a sudden, nothing about what we do seems small."


Tickets for the Ocean State Improv Festival are now available for purchase on The Contemporary Theater Company's website, with options for individual shows and festival passes so that you can enjoy all the performances for that day or the whole week.


For more information, including the festival schedule, workshop details, and ticketing, please visit www.contemporarytheatercompany.com/ocean-state-improv-festival.


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