First Annual OCEAN STATE IMPROV FESTIVAL at the Contemporary Theater Company

First Annual OCEAN STATE IMPROV FESTIVAL at the Contemporary Theater Company You walk into a dark, mysterious room with no idea what might happen... and an entire night of entertainment effortlessly unfolds before you. A typical evening for a theatergoer, but a far less common experience for the actors themselves.

The Contemporary Theater Company embraces the excitement of the unknown with the international 1st Annual Ocean State Improv Festival, June 7-11.

Twenty-eight troupes from nine different states and six countries perform thirteen shows over five days. With a schedule packed with Rhode Island favorites alongside world-class visiting artists, this new festival launches the summer season with a bang.

"Improvised theater has a long and glorious history, from ancient fireside storytelling to 16th century Commedia Dell'Arte, to theater games and modern incarnations like 'Whose Line Is It Anyway"', says CTC Artistic Director Christopher J Simpson. "We've been inventing live entertainment throughout the ages, and the tradition is as alive and glorious as ever."

The Contemporary Theater Company is no stranger to improvised theater ("improv" for short), having produced their short-form showcase "Micetro Improv at the CTC" every Friday at 9:30 pm since summer 2012. In recent years they've delved into more ambitious projects like Slamming Doors, last summer's full-length improvisEd French Farce, and winter 2017's Whodunit: An Improvised Murder Mystery.

"Improvised plays have given the company new energy - no one else in the northeast is pursuing them the way we are," says Ashley Macamaux, Associate Artistic Director. "As an actor, it's unbelievably challenging, positive, and rewarding to improvise a full-length play."

Audiences are responding to the improv, too. Whodunit sold so well that the company added three extra showings.

The festival will feature numerous genres and styles of improv, from a 45-minute Shakespearean-style play to a twenty-minute improvised comic book. Newport's award-winning troupe "The Bit Players" will be featured on Wednesday night, and the Austin, TX foursome "Paralellogramophonograph" (PGraph, for short) will be the centerpiece, with hour-long plays on both Friday and Saturday nights at 7pm.

"PGraph was here in 2015, and their performances were among the most delightful shows ever on our stage," said CTC Communications Director Maggie Cady. "I'm so glad they're coming back!"

Everything at this festival is made up on-the-spot. This makes the festival full of one-of-a-kind experiences, and the talent is through the roof.

RI Natives Ben Rameaka and Molly Lloyd will be featured at the festival as well, representing the New York-based Upright Citizen's Brigade, where they both regularly teach and perform in their group Airwolf.

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