Upright Citizens Brigade and more at the Tampa Improv Festival

Four days, 31 acts and a big national headliner make this year's Tampa Improv Festival the biggest yet.

click to enlarge TAKING ON TAMPA: The touring cast of Upright Citizens Brigade. - UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE
TAKING ON TAMPA: The touring cast of Upright Citizens Brigade.

The Tampa Improv Festival is back and it’s looking more impressive than ever with 31 troupes and nine workshops presented over four days.

Tonight's lineup includes Another Man’s Trash from Eckerd College, The Sunday Group from the University of Florida and [email protected] from the University of South Florida.

On Friday, catch Dear Aunt Gertrude from Tampa, TacoCheetah from Toronto, Sick Puppies from Boca Raton and The Laser Comedy Show from Chicago. Saturday’s lineup includes Hawk & Wayne from St. Petersburg, Viceroy from Boston and Orlando’s illustrious SAK Comedy Lab, and Sunday’s big finale brings Upright Citizens Brigade Tour Co. with opener Post Dinner Conversation to the Orpheum and local Cigar City Comedy comics.

PDC Director Nicholas Riggs says the show marks the premiere of a new side group called Cult Classic, a narrative long form team made up of PDC directors that uses narrative techniques and cinematic edits.

click to enlarge TOP DOGS: PDC offshoot troupe Cult Classic. - PDC
TOP DOGS: PDC offshoot troupe Cult Classic.

"'Long form' is a simple way of talking about the sort of improv that lasts longer than a single scene and resembles a full stage play," Riggs explained. "Unlike the sort of improv that's become popular through shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway? where performers are given theater games to play, long-form improv features performers who work together to find the funny through games that they discover inside different scenes made up on the spot."  

Riggs added that most sketch comedy actually comes from long-form improv, giving performers a chance to discover new characters and premises in front of a live audience that they perfect through written sketch.

"We felt that making TIF Florida's official long-form improv festival would give the many troupes in the state a chance to showcase their own unique approaches to long form improv," Riggs said,  as well as a chance to play alongside improvisers who hail from those cities where it first emerged and continues to serve as the foundation for the rest of the improv world."

Upright Citizens Brigade, as many might know, sprung from Chicago’s ImprovOlympic in 1990, spawned a hit Comedy Central show and jumpstarted the careers of Amy Poehler, Ed Helms, Aziz Ansari and Horatio Sanz.

Tickets are $15 per show, or $40 for a day pass and $75 for a weekend pass. Workshops are $25 each. Thursday's events take place at the USF Oval Theatre. For additional venues and event/workshop schedule, visit TampaImprovFestival.com.

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