Update browser for a secure Made experience

It looks like you may be using a web browser version that we don't support. Make sure you're using the most recent version of your browser, or try using of these supported browsers, to get the full Made experience: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge.

Improv Festival Online

July 10-12

Improv Festival Online

July 10-12

While we're not able to have our full-scale, five-stage, 48-hour Annual Sarasota Improv Festival this year, Florida Studio Theatre is excited to bring you a special virtual improv festival Friday, July 10 through Sunday, July 12. Held completely online, this Festival features workshops, shows, and interviews with established improvisers from around the world, including Joe Bill (a founding member of Chicago’s Annoyance Theater), Craig Cackowski (Quartet, Orange Tuxedo), and Gael Perry (French improv troupe, La Carpe Haute). Scroll down for a full schedule of virtual Festival events. 


Shows and interviews are free and can be accessed using the Sarasota Improv Festival Facebook page. Workshops will be conducted over Zoom and cost $30 each to register.


Friday, July 10

3PM – Workshop with Tara DeFrancisco
6PM – Workshop with Joe Bill
8:30PM – Shows by There Goes the Neighborhood/Joe Bill and Charles Gooch
10PM – Interview with Madi Goff

Saturday, July 11

10AM –  Workshop with Craig Cackowski
12:30PM –  Workshop with Parallelogramophonograph
8:30PM –  Shows by Parallelogramophonograph/Available Cupholders
10PM –  Interview with Joe Bill

Sunday, July 12

10AM –  Workshop with Gael and Laura Doorneweerd-Perry (France)
12:30PM – Interview with Gael and Laura Doorneweerd-Perry (France)
1:30PM –  Interview with Founders of Burn Manhattan
3PM –  Interview with Stacey Smith
4PM –  Festival All-Star Show



3PM – Be Here Now: Joy & Presence in Scenework with Tara DeFranciso & Rance Rizzutto
In a time of personal reflection and awareness, presence is the name of the game. Through the methodology of two person exercises and scenic work, we will actively listen, co-create, and find the fun again. 

6PM – Improvised Personal Monologues with Joe Bill
Get tips to help you tell effective personal stories in the moment based on a suggestion, a scene, or someone else's personal story. We'll check in on what you are conveying to an audience - both intended & unintended - and explore tips for sharing stories that are dynamic, moving, inspiring & efficient. 


10AM – La Ronde with Craig Cackowski 
Zoom is the perfect format for concentrating on 2-person relationship scenes, and there’s no better form to highlight that than La Ronde, a character-based improv structure, used as both an exercise and longform!

12:30PM –  Virtual Improv & Genre Techiques with Parallelogramophonograph
Discover techniques, tips, and tricks for making our "cyberprov" more dynamic by utilizing the camera, mic, and zoom layout in a way we never can onstage. YES! You can still escape to otherworldly locations with extraordinary characters in online improv in a variety of ways that are fun, inspired, and incredibly delightful. 


10AM – The Character Playground with Gael & Laura
In this online workshop, Laura will guide you through fun, active exercises to find new characters and play scenes. Walk away with a bunch of new characters, a technique to avoid stereotypes, and your ideal question to ask for a character suggestion. 



Available Cupholders (Austin, TX) have been performing improv together for over 15 years. Their over the top energy, antics, and willingness to take risks have made them Sarasota Improv Festival favorites. Consisting of five of Austin’s top comedians and actors, the Cupholders are dedicated to producing improvisational comedy that pushes boundaries, explores untouched territories, and creates memorable theatrical experiences. The group believes that improv is the theatre of everyday existence. “No one walks around with a script telling them how to feel and what to say all day,” explains Michael Joplin. “We are all improvising all the time. When we do it on a stage we are tapping into the truth and comedy of everyday life.”


Joe Bill is widely regarded as one of the best teachers of Scenic and Comedic Improvisation in America today. He is one of the founding members of The Annoyance Theater Chicago where, for 12 years, he performed in and/or directed more than 60 different shows. He is the Director of Corporate Training at iO Chicago and is a Guest Artist in Residence at The Second City Training Center where he teaches intensives in Duo Improvisation and Improvisation for Actors. Joe first learned Improvisation and in 1977 studied and worked with Del Close from 1985 through the mid 90’s.


Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, Kevin Scott, and Todd Stashwick


Craig Cackowski is an actor, improviser and teacher based in Los Angeles, (mostly) at the Westside Comedy Theater. He was involved with the iO and iO West (RIP) theaters from 1992-2018, and was the three-time winner of the Del Close Award as Teacher of the Year at iO West. He has played numerous improv festivals around the US with his long-running three-man troupe Dasariski (with Bob Dassie and Rich Talarico) and his duo Orange Tuxedo (with his wife Carla!). While in Chicago, he appeared in and co-wrote 5 revues for The Second City, and helped create such improv forms as JTS Brown and Close Quarters. As an actor, he has been seen in recurring roles on such shows as Community (as "Officer Cackowski”), Bajillion Dollar Properties (as “Todd the janitor”), Veep (as “Cliff”) and as part of the ensemble cast of Drunk History. Other film and TV credits include Diary Of A Future President, Archibald’s Next Big Thing, The Mayor, Son Of Zorn, Girlboss, Comedy Bang Bang, Newsreaders, Welcome To The Family, The Mindy Project, How I Met Your Mother, Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Year Of The Dog, 21 And Over, The Kings Of Summer, Murder Bury Win, and Wine Country. He may be heard frequently on such podcasts as “The Thrilling Adventure Hour,” Kevin Pollak’s “Alchemy This,” and his own podcast “Craig’s List,” in which he makes Carla watch his 100 favorite movies.


Tara DeFrancisco was awarded “Funniest Person in Chicago” by The Free Press, “30 Under 30” in the Windy City Times, and “25 Funniest Females 2009” in Curve Mag for her ventures in stand up, sketch, and improv. She teaches improv courses and workshops to people of all ages and backgrounds across this nation, and that’s about the most rewarding thing ever – traveling to elementary and high schools, colleges, and offices all over the country as both an introductory instructor and a professional Comedy Consultant.

Gael and Laura Doorneweerd-Perry

Gael co-founded Strasbourg’s main improv group La Carpe Haute, and spends his time teaching and performing improv in and outside of France. He is known for his sound effects -even in silent scenes- and his incomparable mimed fishing skills. When Laura is not traveling the world, she can be found cycling the Amsterdam canals between her jobs as actress, trainer and AD of TVA Impro. She loves slow motion running, bloody fights and smoking. On stage, that is. After getting married during the summer 2019, they decided to go on a one year travel around the world to work together. They now teach, perform and travel the globe for the entire season 2019-2020 in what they call the Perryweerd Tour.


Madi is an actress, writer, director, and a member of the Impro Theatre Main Company, of Ripley Improv, and an alumna of the Groundlings Sunday Company. Madi brings heart to comedy and lightness to drama. She grew up making home movies in the Texas hill country. An early filmmaking highlight includes a “Jane” Bond action adventure blockbuster complete with special effects and car chase (age 12). Today Madi appears in Ripley Improv’s fully-improvised television series, As We Go Along, which is currently being submitted to festivals. She is also in the cast of Impro Theatre’s The Portal on Twitch. When she’s not working, Madi can be found playing basketball or swing dancing! Find out more on her Instagram: @msmadig.


Known around the world simply by his last name, “Gooch” was raised in Fresno, California. He is the baby and the best looking of his parents’ six kids. Gooch has been in the entertainment business as an actor, comedian, singer, promoter, producer, and director for nearly three decades. In 2016, Gooch moved from the People’s Republic of Los Angeles, California to work at the IMG Academy as the Head of Leadership. Gooch teaches Improv 101 at FST. You can see Gooch weekly as he performs in the new musical Improv team “Treble in Paradise” and as the newest member of FST Improv’s Mainstage cast. Gooch lives by the motto, “Let every day be filled with Peace, Love and Laughter.”


Since their premiere in 2005, Parallelogramophonograph has been more than just an improv troupe. Early on in their time together Kaci, Kareem, Roy, and Valerie knew they wanted to do something different onstage. Intrigued by the challenge of crafting fully-improvised stories together as an ensemble, PGraph spent years developing original formats and studying the arts of theatre, improv, and storytelling. Fiercely dedicated to the craft and art of improvised theatre, PGraph has performed weekly for over 14 years and will hit their 1,000th show together in 2020. They've toured the world performing and teaching their unique brand of improv with ensemble appearances in over 55 cities in the US, Canada, Australia, Spain, France, Finland, and the UK. The members of PGraph regularly teach, direct, and perform in shows at The Hideout Theatre in Austin, Texas - even during the pandemic (https://www.hideouttheatre.com/shows/PGraphVirtualShow). Find out more about them and their work, and their book on narrative improv, Do It Now, at PGraph.com.


Rance Rizzutto has performed, coached, and taught improv for years. Long-form with iO Chicago and other various independent groups. Short-form with ComedySportz and Second City Theatricals (aboard NCL ships). Musical and hip-hop/rap with Here: The Improvised Musical, The Deltones, Baby Wants Candy, and The Beatbox. More random shows like silent improv and Storybox. He’s done improv all over the world (13 countries!). He is also known for his photography, hypnotism, and hosting.


Stacey is a loud New Yorker that’s thrilled to be living in Amsterdam performing with the cast of Boom Chicago. She just recently relocated from Chicago, where she’s been teaching and performing for the past decade. When in Chicago, she teaches at Second City and iO, where she performs weekly with The Musical Armando and The Deltones. Stacey has performed in many theatricals at The Second City, including Life Hacks, #DateMe and two cruise contracts on The Norwegian Breakaway. Stacey has run comedy training centers at both CSz Chicago and ImprovBoston, where she was also seen in the Mainstage casts. She’s been lucky enough to headline comedy festivals all over the globe, touring her solo musical improv show “Stacejam.”


A group of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) performers across the United States advocating for anti-racism in comedy.