Big Bang Improv Returns to Sarasota for Special Residency

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Big Bang Improv Returns to Sarasota for Special Residency

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) has announced that Big Bang Improv, a Sarasota Improv Festival favorite, will return to Sarasota the first weekend of January 2020 for a special residency. During their time at FST, the group will perform two improv comedy shows and lead two workshops. Big Bang performances will take place on Friday, January 3 and Saturday, January 4 at 7:30PM in FST's Bowne's Lab Theatre. Tickets are just $15-18 and can be purchased at or (941) 366-9000. Improv workshops will be held on January 4 and enrollment is just $35. Those interested in discovering their own creative spontaneity can register online at, or by calling Pamela Smith, Education Administrator, at (941) 366-1350.

For years, Big Bang has brought their signature free-form improv to festivals around the world. The group is comprised of improvisers from all over the world who have over 100 years of collective improv and comedy experience. Big Bang members have appeared on television, on stage, in film, and at comedy festivals in North America, Latin America, and Europe.

"Instead of being connected through a specific theater or city, we are connected by an idea and philosophy," said Sara Burns, a member of Big Bang Improv. "Our philosophy is simply to 'follow the funny,' which allows the ensemble to build everything from nothing."

Known as one of the top free-form improv troupes, Big Bang give performances that remove the structures or "safety nets" found in most improv shows. Instead, Big Bang improvisers have the freedom to start a new scene or storyline whenever their imagination is sparked by an action, statement, or suggestion. This creates high-energy improv experiences that move seamlessly from one scene to the next at a rate of over a scene a minute.

"In free-form improv, every single moment, any little thing, can be explored and expanded upon," explained Rachel Rosenthal, a member of Big Bang Improv. Whether it's a funny line of dialogue, a musical note, someone's physicality, or the stage picture itself-any one of those things can be a jumping off point for a new discovery. The audience feels like they are part of the creation of something special that we are building just for them."

Big Bang cast members Sara Burns (Chicago) and Rachel Rosenthal (New York City) will travel to the Suncoast to give two special performances at FST on January 3 and 4. In each free-form performance, they will "follow the funny," rapidly building off of each other's ideas, creating a series of surprising and connected narrative threads done through the group's unique storytelling and editing style.

On January 4, Big Bang will lead two special workshops focused on creating smooth transitions between scenes along with the basics of hip-hop improv. Both workshops are suitable for beginners who are interested in dipping their toes into the exciting, inventive world of improv as well as more advanced participants.

Special performances of Big Bang's free-form improv shows will take place on January 3 and January 4 in FST's Bowne's Lab at 7:30PM. Tickets are available for $15-18 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (941) 366-9000 or at Single workshops are $35. To enroll, call Pamela Smith, Education Administrator, at 941-366-1350.


Big Bang Improv Special Performances

Friday, January 3 and Saturday, January 4 in FST's Bowne's Lab Theatre | 7:30PM
Big Bang is a fast-paced free-form show featuring performers from all over the world. Since 2014, Big Bang has toured extensively across North America, Latin America, and Europe.

Big Bang Improv Workshops

Seamless Scenes with Sara Burns
Saturday, January 4 I 10AM -12PM
Sometimes improvising a scene can feel like an uphill battle or like something isn't quite working. We feel it, our audience feels it, yet we aren't sure how to course correct or make a choice that will benefit our scene. In this workshop, Sara will help you to enjoy each and every scene you play so that improvising feels easier, freer, and much less stressful. She'll teach you ways to open doors in scenes that feel stuck, and to experiment with initiation and simplicity to keep those scenic doors open right away. She'll help you to confidently tackle any scene that comes your way. This is a workshop for all levels.

Intro to Hip-Hop Improv with Rachel Rosenthal

Saturday, January 4 I 2PM - 4PM
This musical workshop introduces you to the basics of Hip Hop Improv: the combination of free-style rapping and scene work. Instructor Rachel Rosenthal will guide you through the basics of free-styling-which instead of forcing the rhyme is all about gaining access to the rhymes that have been in your catalogue since you were a kid. Learn how to set yourself up find your flow and weave your rapped verses into your improv scene work!

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 then acquired the former Woman's Club building, becoming the first permanent venue. Shortly after Richard Hopkins arrived, the building was purchased and 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 Gompertz Theatre, the Parisian style Goldstein Cabaret and John C. Court Cabaret, and 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. 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.

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