OTRimprov Presents the 5th Annual IF CINCY: the Improv Festival of Cincinnati

IF 2018_logo5th Year of Festival features a new venue and 60% more performances

OTRimprov proudly presents the 5th Annual Improv Festival of Cincinnati. With a focus on diverse voices and female performers, IF Cincy features improv talent from Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Baltimore, Cleveland, Lexington, and from right here in Cincinnati. The Festival runs September 27-29, 2018. IF Cincy is excited to move to Memorial Hall OTR. Moving to a bigger venue allows the Festival to expand performance offerings, with more improvisers traveling to Cincinnati from across the nation. Additionally, more local troupes are scheduled to perform, highlighting  the continued growth of world class improv in Cincinnati.

Headlining the Festival are:

  • Working Title featuring Amber Nash, best known for her role as Pam Poovey on the Emmy- winning animated show Archer and Kevin Gillese, Artistic Director at Dad’s Garage in Atlanta.
  • Broke Gravy from Portland, OR, an award-winning troupe who uses honest audience interactions focused on personal experience to inspire and inform their scenes.
  • The Bearded Company (previously called The Bearded Men) from Minneapolis, MN. Their Dungeons and Dragons inspired improv set will feature members of OTRimprov and the action will be controlled by a 20 sided die.
  • Emily Fightmaster & Friends features Cincinnati native Emily Fightmaster, who has performed on some of the biggest improv stages in the world, including Boom Chicago in Amsterdam and on both the mainstage and with the touring company of Second City Chicago.

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 and multiple troupes comprised entirely of women or people of color. The producers of the Festival chose to solicit submissions for the 2018 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 our inclusion efforts 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 and co-producer of IF Cincy.

Traveling to Cincinnati are ANARCHY: an improvised rock opera (Chicago), The Brothers Jacokes (Ferndale, MI), Edith Head (Los Angeles, Nashville, Cincinnati), Horror of Terror (Chicago), I’m the Dog (Chicago), JETZO (Los Angeles), Karen from Accounting (Ferndale, MI), Lady Parts Detroit (Detroit), League of Pointless Improvisers (Ann Arbor, MI) Matt Damon Improv (Chicago), Radio Pigeon (Baltimore, MD), Rare Form Improv (Cleveland), Rhonda (Lexington),  Red Pill Players (Atlanta), and Wieck & Petersen (Ferndale, MI). There also will be a special ComedySportz All-Stars match featuring players from across the country.

Cincinnati’s improv scene has exploded in the past few years, with more and more groups performing regularly around the city. IF Cincy proudly showcases this growth and wealth of local talent. Cincinnati troupes joining the line-up are Blue Roses, Bluetime, BROvaries, The Business, Hands on Dots, Dave Powell Champion, Highly Improvable, HOT MIC, Not my Boyfriend, Roosterwolf, Two Sketchy Dames, and Wampus.

Many of the performers taking the stage in the evening will also be hosting workshops over the weekend, giving locals and visiting artists a rare opportunity to take classes from the impressive and diverse range of visiting national talent.

Tickets are available for single sessions or multiple sessions; whether you are looking to purchase a ticket for one session, tickets for both the 7:30 and 9:30 session in a single evening, or want to mix and match across nights, there are a variety of options. Ticket bundles can also be used for more than one attendee. For help with putting together your ticket bundle and securing your seats, contact the Memorial Hall Box Office at 513-977-8838.

Single Tickets are $20 for Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening performances

The Basics:

Who: OTRimprov presents
What: Improv Festival of Cincinnati (IF Cincy)
When: Thursday through Saturday, September 27-29, 2018
Where: Memorial Hall OTR, 1225 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Featuring: Improv artists from Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Nashville, Ann Arbor, and right here in Cincinnati.
Tickets: http://www.ifcincy.com
How Much: Single Tickets $20 | 6 Ticket Bundle $90 | 4 Ticket Bundle $65 | 2 Ticket Bundle $35 | Additional fees may be added. Ticket bundles can be used for more than one attendee – contact the Memorial Hall Box Office for assistance.

Performance Schedule

IF_Schedule 2018*denotes troupes performing more than once at IF Cincy 2018

ANARCHY: an improvised rock opera (Chicago) || NEW to IF Cincy

Anarchy is a completely sung, completely improvised rock opera featuring some of Chicago’s finest musical improvisers, who have a wild variety of training and educational backgrounds. The project started in the fall of 2013 as an idea born from the desire to create a brand new form of musical improv, with roots in modern musicals (including shows like Tommy by The Who, Green Day’s American Idiot, Rent, and Spring Awakening).

The Bearded Company (Minneapolis) || Returning to IF Cincy

The Bearded Company has been performing and teaching together since 2006. They travel regularly and have performed in over 40 cities in the US and Canada. They have groups in Minneapolis and Los Angeles. The Beards focus on genre-based narrative improv using strong characters and storytelling that is always engaging and never shies away from a little emotion.

Blue Roses (Cincinnati) || NEW to IF Cincy

A Cincinnati-based two-prov who enjoy and are inspired by the work of David Lynch. Two-prov/duo-prov weirdness with emotional content.

Bluetime (Cincinnati) || NEW to IF Cincy

Mary O’Connell and Tone Branson are company members and performers for Improv Cincinnati, and work together on a variety of improv and sketch comedy projects. With a combined 15 years of improv experience and love of playing unusual characters, the duo created, “Bluetime,” a long form set comprised of a series of stories that take place during an event (suggested by the audience) of significant size and scope. Sweeping between “blue time” scenes, where they play themselves, and “orange time” scenes, where they play outlandish characters, Mary and Tone take audiences on a journey that is honest, sincere, foolish, and fun.

Broke Gravy (Portland, OR) || NEW to IF Cincy

Broke Gravy mixes the unique experiences of their audience with narrative, relationship, and the unexpected to create a show that is always surprising and new. Sometimes they ask you questions. Sometimes you ask them questions. Every time you’ll discover something that explores humor, humanity, and truth.

The Brothers Jacokes (Ferndale, MI) || Returning to IF Cincy

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.

BROvaries (Cincinnati) || NEW to IF Cincy

When you blend a variety of backgrounds, ages, and experiences, there’s bound to be laughter. Take a peek into the living room of this group of wise, wacky, and wild women and see just how weird life can be.  BROvaries is a group that takes a comedic look at both the everyday situations we find ourselves in and also the subjects that might otherwise be avoided in polite conversation.

The Business (Cincinnati) || NEW to IF Cincy

Here to strategize all your improv synergies, our patent pending reverse recursive analysis is sure to improve your comedy reception and activate your most vital laugh centers. Our dedicated, professional, customer focused improvisation team is here to assure your experience is one of comfort and quality. We are so glad you chose The Business, a division of OTRimprov, for your improv needs and we are excited to shift your paradigm to a new dynamic of improv greatness.

ComedySportz All-Stars (multiple cities) || Returning to IF Cincy

This match will feature ComedySportz players from different CSz locations around the country! This mash up of talented improvisers will split into two teams and play for your entertainment-and points! Using audience suggestions and willing volunteers, the red team and blue team will go head to head playing some of the most popular improv games. Scenes, jokes, music, puns, and guessing games abound in this entirely unscripted show. The all powerful referee will keep things moving, call out fouls, distribute points, and with the audience’s help, announce the improv champions at the end of the match!

Dave Powell Champion (Cincinnati) || NEW to IF Cincy

Featuring OTRimprov’s Artistic Director Dave Powell and his hand-chosen Champion, this is improv at its most immediate. Past champions have included local actors and improvisers but the Champion for IF Cincy is one you are going to want to see. Details coming soon!

Edith Head (Los Angeles) || Returning to IF Cincy

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 bursts of high energy, and ridiculous character work. Edith Head is all about having fun, because if we’re not having fun then who is?

Emily Fightmaster & Friends (Chicago) || NEW to IF Cincy

Returning to her native Cincinnati, Emily Fightmaster performed at the first IF Cincy and then moved to Chicago, Amsterdam, and back to Chicago playing at some of the biggest and most prestigious improv venues in the world. She is hand-picking a team from the friends she has made playing in Second City’s Mainstage shows.

Hands on Dots (Cincinnati) || NEW to IF Cincy

Hands on Dots unique form starts at a terrible place for a first date, and luckily gets better from there. Partial character exploration, partial deep dive into silliness.

Highly Improvable (Cincinnati) || Returning to IF Cincy

Highly Improvable has been thrilling audiences with 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 and Myrtle’s Punch House.

Horror of Terror (Chicago) || NEW to IF Cincy

Do you sometimes find yourself wanting to scare your friends and loved ones? Do you lurk around dark corners waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike? Are you just hoping and praying to get the adrenaline rush from making somebody scream? Well wait no more. Horror of Terror can help you get that scare fix!  Chicago’s only completely improvised horror/comedy group is filled with thrills and their show might literally take your breath away. They mix and match all of the sub-genres of horror from backwoods and fanaticism to slasher and psychological thriller to make a uniquely terrifying comedy that will leave you begging for more.

Hot Mic (Cincinnati) || Returning to IF Cincy

Hot Mic’s opening number began in 2017 and its been performing a completely improvised, 90 minute musical ever since. Our talented performers offer a hilarious, rousing and, sometimes, touching production complete with memorable characters and catchy songs.

I’m the Dog (Chicago) || NEW to IF Cincy

I’m the Dog consists of Alec Herr and Tatum Hunter. The two met at Chicago’s iO comedy theatre when they locked eyes from across the room in the midst of a hate-fueled dance battle, like that one scene in West Side Story. Their shared love of narrative forms and sincere characters inspired them to form I’m the Dog so they could find opportunities to get out of the classroom and onto the stage. Their improv explores the relationship between sincerity and absurdity and focuses on characters who love each other. They’ve performed at The Crowd Theatre in Chicago.

JETZO (Los Angeles) || NEW to IF Cincy

Jetzo is unlike anything you’ll find on the improv scene. Equal parts performance art, clown and improv, Juzo and Chad perform in costume as a father and son from a small fishing village. Every show is their debut in America. They break every rule of improv and heavily involve the audience. They are always accompanied by a “musical cousin” — who might be playing anything from a guitar to bongos to a harp. Jetzo plays to standing room houses twice a month as part of the indie show Catsby, and have performed regularly at Second City, The Pack and The Improv Space. They are also heavily involved in clown productions at the Lyric Hyperion, under the direction of international clown star Dr. Brown.

Karen from Accounting (Ferndale, MI) || NEW to IF Cincy

A group of sassy lady-pals doing their best to prove that women can have it all.

Lady Parts Detroit (Detroit) || Returning to IF Cincy

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 Improvisers (Ann Arbor) || Returning to IF Cincy

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. The League of Pointless Improvisers has been invited to perform at the Baltimore Improv Festival, Detroit Improv Festival, We the People (Philadelphia) Improv Festival, Big City (Toronto) Improv Festival, Pittsburgh Comedy Festival, IF Cincy, Grand Rapids Improv Festival and Kalamazoo Improv Festival.

Matt Damon Improv (Chicago) || Returning to IF Cincy

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.

Not My Boyfriend (Cincinnati) || NEW to IF Cincy

Not My Boyfriend is ready to swipe right on you!!  Be ready to enjoy a first date full of laughs and minimal awkward pauses.  This group of Cincinnati’s finest eligible individuals will have you begging for a second date with their witty banter and charming personalities.  You won’t want to ghost them, we promise.

Radio Pigeon (Baltimore) || NEW to IF Cincy

The British are coming! The British are cumming! Witness the cringe-worthy, comedic stylings of Richard & Pamela in The Radio Pigeon Hour. In this ham-fisted romp, a loving couple and their invited guests descend into madness, shattering the rules of American society, the decency of American sex, and the integrity of the American theatre. You are guaranteed to ask yourself, “is this supposed to be happening?” and the answer is always “no.” You are guaranteed to ask yourself, “can I get my money back?” and the answer is usually “no.” You are guaranteed to ask yourself, “are they really British?” and the answer is always “yes,” but the truth is always “no.”

Rare Form Improv (Cleveland) || NEW to IF Cincy

Rare Form Improv is a “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” style comedy show with its own twists. We use structures that are crowd favorites and our own signature structures to put our own spin on improv comedy. Our perma-host seeks to use audience suggestion as much as possible to create new scenes every time.

Red Pill Players (Atlanta) || Returning to IF Cincy

Red Pill Players are a group of individuals banded together by their love of improv. Members have been raised and taught mostly within the improv and comedy scenes of Atlanta, with backgrounds that extend to stand up, improv, sketch, film and music. All of these are infused into our show. No performance is the same and that’s how we like it. Take the red pill and we will show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Enjoy the ride and enjoy the truth.

Rhonda (Lexington, KY) || NEW to IF Cincy

Rhonda can be seen regularly at Stage Box Theater in Lexington, performing both short and long form improvisation.  Recently seen at the Del Close Marathon in NYC and performing in Chelsea at the Upright Citizen Brigade Theater, they are also performing Labor Day weekend at The Dam Good Improv Festival in Louisville, KY.  Rhonda is led and coached by Heather MacDermott Baumann (iO, Annoyance).

Roosterwolf (Cincinnati) || NEW to IF Cincy

Cincinnati’s wild child! * Fast * Fierce * Funny *

Two Sketchy Dames (Cincinnati) || Returning to IF Cincy

50% Comedy, 50% Improv, 100% Fabulous. Two Sketchy Dames are full of wine & funny and they are ready to perform some make-em-ups and sketch comedy for you.

Wampus (Cincinnati) || NEW to IF Cincy

WAMPUS! is a mighty six-headed beast that performs a volatile and highly experimental form of improvisation never before seen in the majestic Ohio Valley. “Dangerous”? Perhaps. “Exciting”? Mos def. “Miss-able”? Only if you want to spend the rest of your life wallowing in ceaseless regret.

Wieck & Petersen (Ferndale, MI) || NEW to IF Cincy

Wieck and Petersen have been improvising for over 11 years now and have been friends for just as long. Last year they decided to see what happens when you mix the intellect and character driven style of Chris with the heartfelt narrative style of Bob, and the results were pure magic.

Working Title (Atlanta) || NEW to IF Cincy

Featuring returning favorite Amber Nash (the voice of Pam Poovey on FX’s Archer) and Kevin Gillese, artistic director of Dad’s Garage Theater in Atlanta, GA. Working Title was first formed in 2010; inspired by the screenwriting book Save the Cat, it was originally called Kill the Dog, which was a terrible name but they stuck with it for several years. After 2 European tours, a few festival appearances and running at Dad’s Garage for several years, they finally changed the name to Working Title and it’s much better. This 2 person format creates a screenplay for the audience.


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 for the last 4 years running (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018).

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 Two Sketchy Dames, Aunt Bill, and Dave Powell Champion.

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