News from Chicago Improv Productions
As we’re wrapping up our 2015 season, here’s a recap of some of the events that took place during our last production season! Click on the links for more info!
August 16, 2015: Charleston/Montecello Touring Trips
August 12, 2015: 2015 Virginia Highlands Festival
July 15, 2015: Chicago Park District Summer Camp Shows
June 15, 2015: Richard Driehaus and MacArthur Foundation Grants
May 2015: Chicago Improv Festival 2015
May 2015: Storybox Unscripted Theater in San Francisco/New York
April 2015: College Improv Tournament 2015
Update: August 25, 2015
Chicago Improv Productions headed to Arts Midwest Conference
CIP is thrilled to be showcasing The Collage and The Make ‘Em Ups at Arts Midwest for the first time September 10 and 11th in Kansas City! We attended this one of a kind arts consortium last year and were determined to get in on the action this year. CIP’s Executive Director, Jonathan Pitts dreamed up the Chicago Room where we will hosting some of the best and brightest Chicago talent! Check back soon for more info regarding the Chicago Room!
CIP is committed to sharing and promoting the art of improv not only here in Chicago but all over the state of Illinois and beyond. Last month we performed and gave workshops in Monticello Illinois hosted by The Monticello Theatre Association.
Yesterday we were in Charleston, IL for an afternoon kids show and an evening adult show of The Collage! Here’s a pic from our trip!
Storybox travelled to Virginia last weekend to take part in the 2015 Virginia Highlands Festival. While there the Storybox Company performed 2 adult shows at the Barter Theater, and one Storybox For Kids show at the festival’s family activities tent. Amazing job to everyone involved with the VA Highlands Festival, and huge thanks for letting us be a part of it!
This summer over the month of June, Chicago Improv Productions is partnering with the Chicago Park District to bring over 30 improv workshops to parks around the Chicago area. As part of the Chicago Park District’s Summer Camp program, Chicago Improv Productions brought their touring kids show “The Make ‘Em Ups” to over 2,000 students. Here’s feedback from some of the camps!
Chicago Women’s Park
“Thanks Shannon! Art and Jackie – thank you for picking Women’s to pilot the Improv workshop. My campers LOVED it. My staff also commented on the quality of show and that they themselves enjoyed it. If this group is available for next year, I know Women’s would be interested.”
“We just finished with Chicago Improv Productions- they were AWESOME! The kids loved it! Thanks and keep us in mind for anything like this in the future!”
“We just had the improv group here for an hour they were AMAZING and we have over 200 children they keep entertained and amused. My day camp director would love the contact info for them so we can personally send a thank you. They were great and we welcome them back next year.”
Because of the success of this collaboration between CIP and the Chicago Park District we are raising funds to expand this program to 100 Chicago Parks next summer. We need to raise $40,000 to make this happen. If you would like to make a donation, please contact General Manager, Lauren Pizzi at email@example.com. All donations are tax-deductible.
Chicago Improv Productions is proud to announce that we have been awarded a generous grant for general operations from the MacArthur Foundation Funds for Arts and Development at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. We are so grateful for this support!!
The Chicago Improv Festival turned 18 this year, and the celebration was in full force! From April 20-26th 2015 over 250 acts converged on Chicago for a week long celebration of all things improv. This year’s festival was produced by Jonald Reyes, under the artistic direction of Kevin Mullaney and executive director Jonathan Pitts. Headlining acts from CIF 18 included Shasheer Zamata & Phil Augusta Jackson, The Katydids, Wild Horses, Joan and Ro, and SHELDON.
Huge thanks to everyone in the city of Chicago who helped to make this year’s festival possible, from our volunteers to our 14 venues throughout the city. Without your hard work and dedication, it would be impossible to pull off a festival of this magnitude, so we thank you from the bottom of our improv-hearts.
To see footage from the 18th Chicago Improv Festival, check out our VIMEO page!!
For more info on the fest, please visit chicagoimprovfestival.org
This year’s producer, Jonald Reyes, wrote an excellent article on producing comedy festivals in Chicago. Check it out here: Top 10 Things I’ve Learned From Producing Chicago Comedy Festivals
Update: May 2015
Storybox in San Francisco/NYC
CIP’s Storybox Company played in NYC in October at the New York Unscripted Theater Festival and in San Francisco at the Un-scripted Theatre in February. While in New York, the company was awarded with the 2015 Innovative Excellence award and played to sold out houses in San Francisco. We will kick off summer with a 6-week run at the newly re-modeled Bughouse Theater in Chicago, Illinois.
This year’s 8th College Improv Tournament was incredibly successful and concluded with the crowning of a new CIT Champion – Feral Christine from Sarah Lawrence University! This year’s tournament featured a whopping 136 teams from across the nation competing in 13 different regional tournaments, with a final Nationals competition in Chicago Illinois. Check out the champs and their winning trophy below!
Thank you to all the volunteers, co-presenting theaters, and dedicated performers for helping to once again make the College Improv Tournament a huge success!!!
You can watch sets from each of the teams by heading to our VIMEO page!
More info on the College Improv Tournament can be found at collegeimprovtournament.org
Chicago Improv Productions launches Touring Company
Chicago Improv Productions has created the Chicago Improv Touring Company with alumni of the Chicago Improv Tournament along with various members of the improv community. Their debut performance will be at the Champaign-Urbana Improv Festival hosted by Zoo Improv on November 16, 2013.
The eclectic mix of performers, their abilities, and histories is celebrated in the form that the Chicago Improv Touring Company signature mid-form called The Collage. The Collage is considered a mid-form because it takes the scenic and deep explorations of long-form while injecting the piece with the playful whimsicality of short-form games.
Originally performed in Chicago by the group Stone Soup, the first improv Olympic house team, The Collage has since been taught by Stone Soup performer and executive director of CIP, Jonathan Pitts, to other groups around the city through out the years. Most notably, the Roof Top Players, using The Collage, won the most consecutive improv cage matches holding the record of 17 wins.
Following CITC’s performance in the C-U Improv Festival, the group can be seen in theatres and colleges around the city of Chicago and the outer lying states.
“Bite of Improv” A Big Success
Chicago Improv Productions had its first fundraiser under its new Board of Directors. The event, “Bite of Improv”, took place in front of a full and happy house on Sunday, November 6 at Laugh Out Loud Theater in Schaumburg, IL.
To show the range of ages and experience levels that CIP works with, the event featured 3 improv teams ranging from high school to college to the pros. The 3 performances were from Chicago Improv Productions’ All-State Improv Team, CIP’s College Improv Tournament’s 2010-2011’s 3rd place team, Droppin’ $cience from Columbia College Chicago, and a headlining set by the pro team from Laugh Out Loud.
The event was spear-headed by CIP’s Board President Harlene Ellin with help from LOL owner Lillian Frances. The onstage emcee was CIP’s Executive Director Jonathan Pitts.
To see photos from the “Bite of Improv”, click: Flickr