Jet City Improv
Jet City Improv is an improvisational theater company that performs short-form, medium form and improvised plays in the Seattle, Washington area. The company was founded in 1992.
Jet City Improv is a short-form, non-competitive improv show that draws on acting techniques, classic theater and long form improvisational theater. The show features a high level of story-telling with complex characters and complete, compelling story arcs. Also highlighted are improv games that focus on characters, emotions and relationships. The scenes and improv games average five to seven minutes in length and are performed by a team of six. Jet City Improv is presented in a high energy theatrical package of about ninety minutes in length, consisting of two halves bisected by a five minute intermission.
Jet City Improv began producing and experimenting with full-length improvised plays in 2002 with an improvised Shakespeare titled "The Lost Folio". Since that date over 75 audience interactive, fully costumed plays with full sets and props have been produced at the Jet City Improv Theater. The inspiration over the years has been genres, periods in history, comic books, literature, film, TV and more.
Mid Form is a term that Jet City Improv has applied to their hour long late night productions. A cousin of the improvised play the mid form will have little to no set, little to no costumes and basic lighting that may be a series of short scenes under a unifying theme. Examples would be "Uncle Mike Ruins Christmas", "Worst Trip Ever" or "Periods in History".
Jet City Improv was founded in 1992 by Mike Christensen and Andrew McMasters and debuted with a free show on March 18, 1992 at the Second Story Studios (89 Yesler Way, Seattle, WA). In July 1993 Jet City Improv began performing every Friday at 11 pm at the Northwest Actors Studio, until the following October when the show moved to the Belltown Theater Center where they performed Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30pm. The 10:30pm Friday/Saturday night performance became a tradition that Jet City maintains to this day.
Creation of Wing-It/Jet City and its subsequent significant dates
In December 1994 Christensen and McMasters founded Wing-It Productions (a 501c3 Non-profit organization) to take on the production of Jet City Improv's activities. Jet City Improv's performances were relocated to the Ethnic Cultural Theater, on the University of Washington campus in 1997. In October 1997, Jet City debuted the first Twisted Flick, an improvised re-dubbing of "Creature from the Black Lagoon." Twisted Flicks continues to be produced by Jet City Improv on the last weekend of every month. Jet City produced the first ever Jet City Improv New Year's Eve show on December 31, 1999 entitled the “Y2K Bash” and that New Years Eve show continues to be a fan favorite; selling out each New Year's Eve. In June of 2000 Twisted Flicks began performing for the Fremont Outdoor Movies. The following January (2001) Jet City Improv moved performances to the University Heights Center for approximately one year during the renovation of the ECT. Twisted Flicks moved into the Paradox Theater in September 2001.
The Lost Folio, Jet City's first longform show, premiered in April 2002. Since that date Jet City Improv has produced a new eighty minute improvised play about every two months. In February of 2003 Jet City Improv took over the lease to the former Paradox Theater, a 1930's lumber yard warehouse that was converted into a movie theater in the late 1970's. This move brought all performances into one venue and allowed the company to expand performances as they added shows at 8:00pm and Thursdays. The theater was renamed the Historic University Theater (or HUT) and today is called the Jet City Improv Theater. In February 2003 Jet City Improv co-produced the first annual Seattle Festival of Improv Theater; a national festival of improvisational theater. SFIT continues to gather the best in improvisational theater from around the globe in Seattle. May 2017 will see Jet City Improv celebrate 25 years of performing in Seattle, and October 2017 will be 20 years of performing Twisted Flicks, the B-movie re-dubbing show.
Jet City offers a variety of Adult Continuing Education courses including Improv 101, 102, 103, 201, 202, as well as the Performance Series and a Drop-In Dojo. Classes are held every quarter of the year, and run for eight to twelve week sessions. Drop-In Dojo is held every Monday from 6-8:00pm and is open to anyone.
Jet City also offers classes and residencies for high, middle, and elementary school students.
Jet City is a leader in corporate workshops focusing on teamwork, creativity and communication.
Jet City began an outreach program in early 1998 providing free performances for events, children's camps and fundraisers. The center piece of the Jet City Improv Outreach Program is the annual summer camp shows and workshops. Each year the company travels across the state of Washington performing at summer camps for kids with a life-altering illness, disabilities or suffering from the lost of a loved one, with no cost to the camp. In 2016, Jet City Improv visited 13 different camps and performed a total of 22 shows or improv workshops. In 2017 the Jet City Improv Outreach Team looks to break that record with 25 shows, 2 workshops at 14 camps across the state of Washington.
The Outreach Program was expanded in 2001 to provide free workshops for at risk and incarcerated youth in the Seattle Area. Weekly classes are taught for inmates at the Seattle Juvenile Detention facility. Jet City Improv also provides free weekly improv training and performance space for the Sanctuary Arts Centers' Visual Storytelling Program.