Sarasota Improv Festival Brings the Funny July 14-16

The eighth annual fest brings back popular improv troupes as well as Sarasota newcomers.

By Kay Kipling May 24, 2016

Twilight zone unscripted cast photo vml4au

Twilight Zone: Unscripted, from Impro Theatre.


In the mood for some laughs? We’re talking the deep-in your-belly, can’t-stop kind. Check out the line-up for this year’s Sarasota Improv Festival, filling up Florida Studio Theatre’s various venues July 14, 15 and 16.

The eighth annual festival brings together inventive improv groups from all over the country and even, this year, from Canada and Colombia. And the troupes offer up a wide range of improv formats, too, from long form and short form to musical, dramatic, genre-based and more.

Headlining the fest is Impro Theatre, recognized by Entertainment Today as “the most uproarious, side-splitting, laughter-till-you-drop show.” Impro gives audiences a sci-fi twist with its Twilight Zone: Unscripted approach, presenting a completely improvised show in the style of classics 1960s sci-fi TV.

Another newcomer to the Sarasota festival is Parallelogramophonograph (PGraph), based in Austin, Texas, which delivers improv French farce style. Meanwhile, Speechless, another act new to Sarasota, is a wordless show based on movement and physical expressions, using a live DJ.

Pgraph group 1 h7cmgr

Parallelogramophonograph, from Austin, Texas

Northcoastimprovfest2015 bvjs0r

North Coast  Improv


The weekend kicks off Thursday at Bowne’s Lab, with performances by Just the Funny, Dear Aunt Gertrude, Sick Puppies, Third Thought, Post Dinner Conversation, Villain and FAST (Florida All Star-King of the Hill Competition). Friday’s schedule begins at 6 p.m. at the Keating Theatre with FST’s very own improv artists, followed by PGraph, Improv Boston, Dad’s Garage, Speechless, Impro Theatre, Available Cupholders, STACKED and North Coast Improv. (Some troupes appear at the Goldstein Cabaret and Gompertz Theatre.)

You’ll see some of those groups again on Saturday, along with Hawk and Wayne, Bing Bang Improv, and SAK Comedy Lab. But remember: No two shows are ever the same where improv is concerned, so FST likes to bill this weekend as featuring 26 world premieres—complete with the popular All Play performance that closes things out Saturday night, where all the performers take to the stage at once.

Three-day passes to the festival are $69; two-day passes $59; Friday or Saturday passes $49; and Thursday passes $20. For full info, call (941) 366-9000 or go to

Show Comments