Phoenix Improv Festival

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The 9th Annual Phoenix Improv Festival (PIF) will be held April 15-17, 2010 at The Herberger Theatre Center, located at 222 East Monroe, Phoenix, AZ 85004.

The Phoenix Improv Festival (phoeniximprovfestival.com) debuted in 2002, and in its inaugural year featured three local Phoenix troupes. Last year’s festival featured troupes from around the country, including troupes from Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, Salt Lake City and Detroit, as well as troupes from all over the state of Arizona. The Festival is produced by CareFree Write Productions (CFWP), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. This organization looks to serve as a support network for developing local artists, an educational resource for the community, and an integral part of Phoenix’s growing cultural movement.

Past performers have included Mark Sutton and Joe Bill from Chicago’s Annoyance Theater & The Second City, Jack McBrayer from NBC’s 30 Rock, "The Sonic Guys," T.J. Jagadowski and Pete Grosz, and Stephnie Weir from Mad TV.

PIF 2002

April 13, 2002 The Phoenix Improv Festival was originally created as a one night showcase of local troupes and as an opportunity for performers to meet, work together and share ideas in a time when very little communication existed between them. ComedySportZ and The Jester'Z each performed shortform sets followed by a Harold by The Barrow Gang and an improv jam. The Festival was held at the now defunct Metro Theatre in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Notable Events

  • First Improv Festival in Phoenix Area
  • It is believed the Barrow Gang set was the first longform performed in the Phoenix area (suggestion: mortician)

Performing Troupes


PIF 2003

April 18th-19th, 2003 The success of the first festival led to the idea of an annual event. The second year of the event moved to downtown Phoenix in The Paper Heart Art Gallery and was expanded to two days. A larger number of local troupes were involved along with the first invitations to out of state performances.

Notable Events

  • First multi-night Festival
  • First time out of state troupes invited
  • Only sketch show in Festival History (Moving Targets)

Performing Troupes

Workshops

Bill Binder, Chuck Charbeneau, Clif Highfield

PIF 2004

April 22nd-24th, 2004 The largest shortcoming of the 2003 festival was a lack of hospitality for visiting performers. The goal of the festival was to make visitors feel welcome during their stay in Arizona. The den mother system - assigning a local performer to take care of a troupes needs while in town - was adopted and remains an integral part of the festival. The addition of a Thursday night Arizona Showcase allowed several smaller local troupes to perform for a larger audience and become more involved in the improv community. Incidents of note include the director of the festival going temporarily blind one week prior to festival and a performance of Actual Theatre by Bare that was so harsh and convincing that several audience members called the festival coordinators the following day asking if Bare was OK. Music was provided by DJ Legacy.

Notable Events

  • Screening of The Delmonic Interviews
  • Adoption of den mother system
  • Premiere of Arizona Showcase

Performing Troupes

Arizona Showcase

Mainstage

Workshops

Chuck Charbenau, Clif Highfield, Shaun Himmerick


PIF 2005

April 14th-17th, 2005 The 2005 festival was a large leap in scale. A non-profit organization was formed within the state of Arizona to promote improv in the Phoenix area including the festival. Spnsorships, advertising and donations helped promote the event to a much larger audience along with increased press coverage. The festival relocated to the Playground in the Park Theatre in the Viad Center in downtown Phoenix, offering a full theatre setup and an increased 200 seat capacity. Through sheer luck the festival was able to book some of the more sought after shows and instructors from around the country. Bret Anderson masterfully hosted the festival.

Notable Events

  • Screening of The Delmonic Interviews
  • U.S. Premiere of The World According to Keith
  • First television coverage

Performing Troupes

Arizona Showcase

Mainstage

Workshops

Bob Dassie, Craig Cackowski, Joe Bill, Shaun Himmerick, Fuzzy Gerdes, Chuck Charbeneau, Clif Highfield


PIF 2006

April 19th-23rd, 2006 Phoenix has changed a great deal in the year since PIF 2005. New troupes, performers and styles have grown out of the experience of last year's festival. The Originals and The Remainders Musical Improv join the local scene while Apollo 12 and Galapagos return to Phoenix after touring festivals around the country. Several returning troupes and new performers will visit the festival as it stretches to five days, starting with a kick-off performance of local troupes and special guests ColdTowne Heroes.

Notable Events

  • First time tickets sold in Europe
  • During Saturday Night's Performance, A man gave his wife a wedding ring after 25 years of marraige during the intermission.
  • Nite Terrors had their final performance.

Performing Troupes

Arizona Showcase

Mainstage

Workshops

Dave Hill, Fuzzy Gerdes, Chuck Charbeneau & Clif Highfield, Jesse Parent & Joe Rogan

PIF 2007

May 10th-13th, 2007 Phoenix has grew exponentially in the last year with Light Rail Pirates, Mail Order Bride, Dangerville, The Shenanigans, and others joining the growing success of The Jester'Z, The Originals, Apollo 12, Galapagos and The Remainders. Our third year at The Viad was a success

Notable Events

  • Final event in the Playhouse in the Park Theatre
  • Eric and Filup of Chevy's Livin Large Tour stop to host on their cross country trip
  • Mother's Day Showcase brings in lots of mom's

Performing Troupes

Arizona Showcase

Mainstage

Workshops

Chuck Charbeneau & Clif Highfield, Jesse Parent, Rebecca Sohn, Deb Downing Grosz, Jean Villepique, Craig Cackowski, Miles Stroth, Mark Sutton and Joe Bill

PIF 2008

PIF 2009

PIF 2010

The Phoenix Improv Festival will be held April 15-17, 2010 at The Herberger Theatre Center in downtown Phoenix. Now in its 9th year, the Festival is an opportunity to see the best improvisational talent from across the country, including performers from Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Austin, as well as Arizona’s hometown favorites.

Tickets are now available through the Herberger Box Office at (602) 252-8497, or via the Herberger Website at herbergertheater.org

Thursday, 6:00 PM

The Arizona Showcase -- (This is a marathon-style show with performances every 1/2 hour until 11:00 PM. A ticket allows admission for the entire evening.) All performing teams are based in Arizona. Tickets: $10.00

  • 6:00 PM – Chaos Comedy
  • 6:30 PM – Dangerville
  • 7:00 PM – Apollo 12
  • 7:45 PM – Mixed Nuts
  • 8:15 PM – Die Puppet Die
  • 8:45 PM – Pacto Suicido
  • 9:30 PM – The Empty Frames Experiment
  • 10:00 PM – Mack Duncan: 1-Man Show
  • 10:30 PM – Gentleman’s Club

Friday, 7:00 PM

Tickets: $15.00

  • Searching for X – (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Dumpster Tequila – (New York, NY)
  • Light Rail Pirates – (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Dr. God w/Special Guest Matthew Lillard – (Los Angeles, CA)

Friday, 9:30 PM

Tickets: $15.00

  • Mail Order Bride - (Phoenix, AZ)
  • ColdTowne – (Austin, TX)
  • Umlautilde – (Phoenix, AZ)
  • On the Spot – (Honolulu, HI)

Saturday, 4:30 PM

Tickets: $15.00 for adults; $10.00 for ages 17 and under

  • Exit 185 – (Casa Grande, AZ)
  • National Comedy Theatre Phoenix – (Mesa, AZ)
  • Valley Fever Improv – (Chandler, AZ)
  • Jester’Z – (Scottsdale, AZ)

Saturday, 7:00 PM

Tickets: $15.00

  • The Foundation – (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Men In Shirts – (Detroit / Los Angeles)
  • Kind Strangers – (Hollywood, CA)
  • JoKyR & Jesster – (Salt Lake City, UT)

Saturday, 9:30 PM

  • Tickets: $15.00
  • Galapagos – (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Hemi & The Buzz – (Detroit / Salt Lake City)
  • Midnight Society – (Austin, TX)
  • Joe Bill – (Chicago, IL)

Discount tickets ($12.00) are available for students, military and seniors.

All-Festival passes are available upon request. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and via the Herberger box office at (602) 254-7399.

Please visit phoeniximprovfestival.com for more information.

External Links