OTRimprov Presents 4th Annual Improv Festival of Cincinnati

OTRi_IF 2017 logo4th Year of Festival features improv veterans from 9 different cities

OTRimprov proudly presents the 4th Annual Improv Festival of Cincinnati (IF Cincy). IF Cincy again features national improv talent from Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, San Diego, Atlanta, Detroit, Nashville, Ann Arbor, and from right here in Cincinnati. The festival runs September 6-10, 2017​ at Know Theatre of Cincinnati in Over-the-Rhine.

Headlining the festival are:

  • Heyday comprised of veteran improvisors seen with Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade, LA, Westside Comedy Theatre, and a current cast member on Comedy Central’s Drunk History.
  • Big Ol’ Show featuring Amber Nash​, best known for her role as Pam Poovey on the Emmy winning animated show Archer and Matt Horgan, the Associate Artistic Director at Dad’s Garage in Atlanta.
  • Matt Damon Improv featuring all women of color, their shows invite a special guest white male improv veteran who can only speak when repeating things the women of Matt Damon Improv have already said in the show – forcing them to really listen and take a baby step in a woman of color’s shoes. They have performed at many Chicago theaters and the Chicago Improv Festival (CIF)

IF Cincy makes its home at Know Theatre of Cincinnati again this year thanks to Know Theatre’s Jackson Street Market, which also fostered OTRimprov’s success in establishing a sustainable, professional improv company offering a variety of shows, corporate training, and classes.

Last year’s festival saw an increase in representation of diverse voices and perspectives on stage. The trend continues this year with women representing half of the performers in the festival as well as troupes comprised entirely of women or people of color. The producers of the festival chose to accept submissions for this year’s festival and expressly sought out diverse groups. “We know how important representation is on the stage. And it’s working: last year we highlighted women on our stage and in our classes right now, around 50% of our students are women. We want to make sure we are sustaining and working to increase our diversity. By highlighting some incredibly talented improvisors who also are women and people of color, we hope we can diversify
our audience and continue to diversify the improv performers here in Cincinnati ,” says Kat Smith, co-director of OTRimprov.

National improv performers traveling to Cincinnati are Heyday (Los Angeles), Matt Damon Improv (Chicago), Pick and Roll (San Diego), Geisha Gravy ​(New York City), Red Pill Players (Atlanta), Big Ol’ Show ​(Atlanta), Lady Parts Detroit (Detroit), Brother Jacokes (Detroit), Edith Head (Los Angeles, Nashville, Cincinnati), and League​ ​of​ ​Pointless​ ​Improvisors​ (Ann Arbor).

Cincinnati’s improv scene has exploded in the past few years and more and more groups
performing regularly around the city. We are proud to showcase this growth and wealth of local talent. Cincinnati troupes joining the line-up are producer OTRimprov​, Two Sketchy Dames, Highly Improvable​, Family​ ​Bunker​, …and​ ​then​ ​cannibalism​, Killer​ ​B’s​, Hot​ ​MIC​, Act​ ​One​, and CS6001​.

Many of the performers taking the stage in the evening will also be hosting workshops over theweekend, giving Cincinnatians a rare opportunity to take classes from the impressive and diverse range of visiting national talent. Workshops will be offered by: ​Members of Heyday will teach their take on The Harold, a classic improv long-form piece; Matt Horgan of Big Ol’ Show will focus on giving students the tools to consistently tell solid, effective stories in 3-5 minutes; Yoshee Sodiq of Red Pill Players students will leave his workshop with practical things you can do to play at a performance based level and have audience wanting more; Members of Matt Damon Improv will lead workshop participants through exercises and coached scenes that will help improvisers recognize their character status habits, grow within the scene, and empower their character; Edith
Head ​will help students in committing to the character. Including a extended town-hall style meeting in character, this will be a great way to learn new skills.

Passes ​are available for taking in multiple evenings of improv, whether you want one, two, or three, four, or FIVE days of improv. The All Access Pass allows entry to all performances Wednesday – Sunday for $90, the Weekend Pass allows entry on Friday and Saturday evening’s performances and Sunday’s matinee for $75, and a One Night Pass is available for entry on either Friday or Saturday evening for $35.

Single tickets are $20 for Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening’s performances; and $10 for Wednesday evening and Sunday matinee.

The​ ​Basics:
Who:​ OTRimprov presents
What:​ Improv Festival of Cincinnati (IF Cincy)
When:​ ​Wednesday – Sunday, September 6-10, 2017
Where:​ Know Theatre of Cincinnati, 1120 Jackson Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Featuring:​ Improv artists from Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, San Diego, Atlanta, Detroit, Nashville, Ann Arbor, and right here in Cincinnati.
Tickets:​ http://www.ifcincy.com
How​ ​Much:​ Wednesday, Sunday $10 |Thursday: $20 | Friday, Saturday (Two shows a night) $20 per show | All Access Pass: $90 | Weekend Pass: $70 | One Night Pass: $35 Friday or Saturday only.

Performance​ ​Schedule

Wednesday​ ​September​ ​6
7:30​ ​pm​ ​–​ ​Know​ ​Theatre​ ​Underground

  • Family Bunker (Cincinnati)
  • The Killer B’s (Cincinnati)
  • Highly Improvable (Cincinnati)

9:30​ ​pm​ –​ ​Know​ ​Theatre​ ​Underground

  • Improv Jam – All are welcome!

Thursday​ ​September​ ​7
7:30​ ​pm​ ​–​ ​Know​ ​Theatre​ ​Underground
CS6001 (Cincinnati)
…and then cannibalism (Cincinnati)
The Brothers Jacokes (Detroit)
9:30​ ​pm​ ​–​ ​Know​ ​Theatre​ ​Underground
League of Pointless Improvisors (Ann Arbor)
Hot MIC (Cincinnati)

Friday​ ​September​ ​8
7:30​ ​pm​ ​–​ ​Know​ ​Theatre​ ​Mainstage

  • Two Sketchy Dames (Cincinnati)
  • Geisha Gravy (New York City)
  • Edith Head (Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Nashville)

9:30​ ​pm​ ​–​ ​Know​ ​Theatre​ ​Mainstage

  • Act One (Cincinnati)
  • Lady Parts Detroit (Detroit)
  • Big Ol’ Show (Atlanta)

Saturday​ ​September​ ​9
7:30​ ​pm​ ​–​ ​Know​ ​Theatre​ ​Mainstage

  • Red Pill Players (Atlanta)
  • Pick and Roll (San Diego)
  • OTRimprov (Cincinnati)

9:30​ ​pm​ ​–​ ​Know​ ​Theatre​ ​Mainstage

  • Matt Damon Improv (Chicago)
  • Heyday (Los Angeles)

Sunday​ ​September​ ​10

  • 2:00​ ​pm​ ​–​ ​Know​ ​Theatre​ ​Mainstage
    ComedySportz Cincinnati (Cincinnati) Family Friendly!

Workshop​ ​Schedule

Flip​ ​the​ ​Status:​ ​Empowering​ ​Underrepresented​ ​Characters
Led by Matt​ ​Damon​ ​Improv
Saturday September 9th
10am – 12pm
Know Theatre Underground
We will lead workshop participants through exercises and coached scenes that will help improvisers recognize their character status habits, grow within the scene, and empower their character. This workshop is great for beginning and seasoned improvisers.
Level: All levels

The​ ​Hey-rold
Led by Heyday
Saturday September 9th
10am – 12pm
Know Theatre Mainstage
Members of Heyday teach their take on the Harold, a fun and fast-paced spin on the classic improv long-form piece. From the shared monologue opening to the vertical structure of the piece, you’ll learn to unleash the Harold in a whole new way.
Level: All levels

Narrative​ ​Short​ ​Form​ ​Intensive
Led by Big​ ​Ol’​ ​Show’s​ ​Matt​ ​Horgan,​ ​Associate​ ​Artistic​ ​Director,​ ​Dad’s​ ​Garage​ ​Theatre)
Saturday September 9th
1pm – 3pm
Know Theatre Underground
Matt Horgan, Associate Artistic Director of Dad’s Garage Theatre in Atlanta, GA, has been performing and teaching Johnstone style narrative short form for 18 years now, and finally he can try and do something productive with it! In this workshop you’ll run the gauntlet of platforms, tilts, delaying the chaos, simple story structure, group mind, giving the audience what you’ve promised them and how change is necessary to move things forward. The goal of the workshop is to give you the tools you need to consistently tell solid, effective stories in 3-5 minutes!
Level: All levels

Break​ ​the​ ​Rules.​ ​Have​ ​Fun.
Led by​ ​Yoshee​ ​Sodiq​ ​of​ Red​ ​Pill​ ​Players
Saturday September 9th
1pm – 3pm
Know Theatre Mainstage
Learn to break some of the improv rules you’ve grown to love and find the fun to play at a heightened level. This course will help you rethink how you connect back to the thing that matter the most, the audience. You are there to perform, so let’s give the audience a show they will not forget. You will leave this course with practical things you can do to play at a performance based level and have audience wanting more. Be ready to change what you think is normal and get ready to WOW!!!
Level: All levels

Committing​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Character
Led by Nathan​ ​Ray​ ​Clark​ ​of​ ​Edith​ ​Head
Sunday September 10th
10am – 1pm
Know Theatre Mainstage
As improvisers, we all have the tendency to play the same characters over and over. While great in developing specific characters, the drawback is we limit ourselves creatively by playing it safe. The objective of my workshop is to get improvisers to focus on exploring, creating, and committing to original characters on stage. First hour, the students will space walk with specific instructions through movement, sound, and other unique ways in order to cultivate/create new characters. Halfway through the workshop the improvisers will create a character inspired by a friend or loved one. Once they’ve embodied that character we hold a town hall meeting with them for roughly 30-45 min, expecting them to hold their character the entire time. Throughout the town hall meeting they’ll be interacting with each other, and giving their opinions on a wide variety of topics (from politics to pop culture). After the meeting is over everyone will drop their character and discuss their experiences. Note: this is 3 hour workshop.
Workshop Level: All levels

Full schedule, tickets, workshops, and more are available at www.ifcincy.com

About​ ​the​ ​Artists
(Troupes​ ​listed​ ​alphabetically.​ ​For​ ​lineup,​ ​see​ ​above.)

Act​ ​One​ ​(Cincinnati,​ ​OH)
Matthew Jent and Tracy Connor will perform an improvised one act play in which the opening and closing night happen at the same performance. This indie duo is patient, confident, emotionally resonant, and delightfully funny.

Big​ ​Ol’​ ​Show​ ​(Atlanta,​ ​GA)
From deep in the heart of Georgia and Atlanta’s Dad’s Garage Theatre, comes Big Ol’ Show! Starring Amber Nash (the voice of Pam Poovey in FX’s Archer) and Matt Horgan (Associate Artistic Director at Dad’s), Big Ol Show is a completely improvised antebellum tale of lust and love during the American Civil War! Marriages will be forbidden, bodices will be torn open, mint juleps will be sipped, mustaches twirled, cannons fired and Yankees shot! It’s like “Gone With The Wind”, but three times as long. To give the show an even greater ring of authenticity, Amber Nash is a Georgia native while Matt Horgan hails from Ohio. Their intense and natural-born hatred of one another fuels the improvised action on stage, usually to the point of incivility. Bless their hearts.

Brothers​ ​Jacokes​ ​(Detroit,​ ​MI)
Real life brothers, Pete and Pj Jacokes, have been doing this their entire lives. This show is dedicated to their Mom. Their Dad is also pretty cool.

ComedySportz​ ​Cincinnati​ ​(Cincinnati,​ ​OH)
Produced by OTRimprov and co-managed by Kirk Keevert and Eileen Earnest, ComedySportz is the award winning comedy show where two teams of performers battle it out for audience laughs and points while improvising scenes based upon audience suggestions. The Blue Team and the Red Team are under the command of the all powerful Referee and at the mercy of their audience fans, who control the outcome of
the match! It’s fast, it’s funny, and it’s appropriate for everyone. Seriously, your bachelorette party and your grandmother will have a great time!

CS6001​ ​(Cincinnati,​ ​OH)
Sean Dillon and Charlie Roetting are Cincinnati favorites in the improv scene. This innovative duo kick off their set by asking the audience for trivia factoids, which they use to inspire scenes with high level of wit and strong characters.

Edith​ ​Head​ ​(Los​ ​Angeles,​ ​Nashville,​ ​Cincinnati)
Edith Head is made up of Second City Hollywood and Upright Citizens Brigade LA Alumni. All members of Edith Head originally met at The Second City performing on the house team known as American Standard. After leaving Second City and completing UCB, they decided to reunite under the name Daddy’s Lap. Needless to say that name did not last. Thus, Edith Head was born. The style of the group is primarily silly, irreverent, free flowing, with several burst of high energy, and ridiculous character work. Edith Head is all about having fun, because if we’re not having fun then who is.

Family​ ​Bunker​ ​(Cincinnati,​ ​OH)
Birthed from the loins of OTRimprov emerged Family Bunker. A diverse troupe of long-form improvisers trained by a community of Cincinnati’s best. From our humble beginnings in a church basement to front and center on some of Cincinnati’s greatest improv stages, Family Bunker is here to explore, create, and grow. And also laugh. There’s typically laughing involved.

Geisha​ ​Gravy​ ​(New​ ​York,​ ​NY)
Geisha Gravy is Mike Sause and Stephen Thornton. They have been improvising as a duo in New York for two years. They create improvised one-act plays and have a monthly show at the People’s Improv Theater. They have improvised on different teams together since 2013: Five for Vendetta, Gotham City Improv, and The ANDsemble.

Heyday​ ​(Los​ ​Angeles,​ ​CA)
Heyday is a Harold team that performs weekly at iO West. Heyday won best Harold team in 2014, 2015, and 2016. The cast is made up of veteran improvisers who have been seen on The Second City mainstages in Chicago and Detroit, The Annoyance Theatre, The Groundlings Sunday Company, UCB LA, The Westside Comedy Theatre, and stages all over the world. This cast also boasts an impressive list of TV credits including a current cast member of Comedy Central’s “Drunk History.” Heyday performs their original take on the Harold known as the “Hey-rold.”

Highly​ ​Improvable​ ​(Cincinnati,​ ​OH)
Highly Improvable has been performing short and long-form improv in Cincinnati since 2011. Welcoming performers of all skill levels, Highly Improvable performs regularly at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, Envision Cinemas and Myrtle’s Punch House.

Hot​ ​MIC​ ​(Cincinnati,​ ​OH)
Improv Cincinnati presents Hot Mic: Cincinnati’s first full-length improvised musical. One suggestion inspires the world premiere of a Broadway-style musical, jam-packed with joyful improv, colorful characters, and an emotionally dynamic story. Hot Mic is accompanied by their backing band, The Kenshos.

Lady​ ​Parts​ ​Detroit​ ​(Detroit,​ ​MI)
Lady Parts Detroit is an all-female sketch and improv comedy troupe. While their sets are often centered in everyday conversations, the ladies pull apart these mundane interactions, using one line or phrase from each scene to turn their set into an interconnected wonderland of always clever, sometimes touching, consistently hysterical, and often physically embarrassing comedy.

League​ ​of​ ​Pointless​ ​Improvisors​ ​(Ann​ ​Arbor,​ ​MI)
Formed in 2015, the League of Pointless Improvisers perform at the Pointless Brewery & Theatre in Ann Arbor, MI. The rotating cast of 22 is made up of the finest improvisers in SE Michigan and is directed by owner Jason Tomalia and Gary Lehman along with co-director Bob Wieck. They perform character and relationship driven long-form improv and experiment each month with a different form as part of the Friday late show A Pointless Display of Improvised Feats. The League of Pointless Improvisers has been invited to perform at the Baltimore Improv Festival, Detroit Improv Festival, Pittsburgh Comedy Festival, IF Cincy, Grand Rapids Improv Festival and Kalamazoo Improv Festival.

Matt​ ​Damon​ ​Improv​ ​(Chicago,​ ​IL)
The cast of Matt Damon Improv is comprised of all women of color “slaying improv comedy,” featuring a special guest white male (Matt Damon) or female (Lena Dunham) improv comedy veteran who can only speak when repeating things that the women of Matt Damon Improv have already said in the show – forcing the guest Matt Damon/Lena Dunham to really listen and take a baby step in a woman of color’s shoes.

OTRimprov​ ​(Cincinnati,​ ​OH)
OTRimprov is collaborative, simple, and joyful. We bring talented performers together to create consistently interesting, frequently funny, and always inventive scenes. By exploring a variety of forms, we keep ourselves and our audience on our toes. Members of OTRi have studied and performed with a variety of improv theatres and groups around the US, including Second City, iO, iO West, ACME Comedy Theatre, Mission IMPROVable, SmartyPants, Wit’s End, and Incredulity. We are proud to have been named “Best Improv Troupe in Cincinnati” by the reader of CityBeat in 2015, 2016, and 2017

Pick​ ​and​ ​Roll​ ​(San​ ​Diego,​ ​CA)
Stockton and Malone. Jordan and Pippen. James and Wade. These are names of people who play basketball and are not on this improv team. Pick and Roll is a fast-paced duo team of two emotionally insecure men who grew up in sports-driven families. Watch as these two unpack their demons through physical altercations and passable object work.

Red​ ​Pill​ ​Players​ ​(Atlanta,​ ​GA)
Red Pill Players is a comedy troupe who entertain audiences through stand-up, improv, sketch, and musical performances based in Atlanta, GA. They are a team of diverse warriors banded by their love of life, passion for seeking the truth, and always thinking outside the box. They ask all audiences, ‘When given a choice, always choose the Red Pill and enjoy the Ride.’ They leave audiences laughing, feeling happier and smarter. They are the sexiest comedy troupe you’ll ever see and your mother would approve.

The​ ​Killer​ ​B’s​ ​(Cincinnati,​ ​OH)
Brady Bunch and Bobby Moran, come together on the improv comedy stage to vanquish sadness and fear with joy.

Two​ ​Sketchy​ ​Dames​ ​(Cincinnati,​ ​OH)
50% Comedy, 50% Improv, 100% Fabulous. Alison Rampa and Eileen Earnest are Two Sketchy Dames full of wine & funny and they are ready to perform some make-em-ups and sketch comedy for you.

…and​ ​then​ ​cannibalism​ ​(Cincinnati,​ ​OH)
…and then cannibalism is a tenacious long-form team with performers from Improv Cincinnati, all of whom are extremely good looking. Following the Harold format, the team uses suggestions from the audience to perform a series of scenes spliced with group games that tie into one brilliantly hilarious gift.

###

OTRimprov is collaborative, simple, and joyful. We bring talented performers together to create consistently interesting, frequently funny, and always inventive scenes. By exploring a variety of forms, we keep ourselves and our audience on our toes. Members of OTRi have studied and performed with a variety of improv theatres and groups around the US, including Second City, iO, iO West, ACME Comedy Theatre, Mission IMPROVable, SmartyPants, Wit’s End, and Incredulity. We are proud to have been named “Best Improv Troupe in Cincinnati” by the readers of CityBeat in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

We foster new talent through classes and a welcoming atmosphere where all performers feel inspired to explore and take risks. OTRimprov is proud to produce ComedySportz Cincinnati and to support Family Bunker, Two Sketchy Dames, The Killer B’s, 13 Foot, Aunt Bill, and Dave Powell Champion.

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