FST Improv


FST Improv Presents: We're Doomed
Beginning August 13 | Saturdays @ 7:30PM  | BUY

In a world where blockbusters come and go, FST Improv entertains with an original, fully-improvised motion picture! The cast of We’re Doomed will perform an improvised disaster movie based on a title provided by the audience. We’ll leave the fancy equipment behind as we use unique staging, special effects, and onstage acrobatics to recreate the excitement and magic of the silver screen. You’ll even get to see improvised previews of upcoming attractions.

Tickets: $15 per person
FST's Bowne's Lab


FST Improv Presents: Thank You For Being A Friend
Saturday, September 10 @ 7:30 PM | BUY

Thank You For Being A Friend is a unique blend of stories and games in which actors improvise two half-hour episodes of an original sitcom which the audience will help create! Complete with improvised commercials and theme song, Thank You For Being A Friend captures the essence of television’s most beloved genre. As television plummets down to the extent where most is reality TV and less that a third of all new Sitcoms make it to its tenth episode, FST Improv promises to take you back to a time and place where "Everyone knows your name". That's what we're talking about Willis!

Tickets: $15 per person
FST's Bowne's Lab


Click here to view the online playbill.


Complete your theatre-going experience. Dine with us! 

FST's Bowne's Lab opens one hour and 15 minutes before showtime for dining. Enjoy a full food and drink menu featuring such fan favorites lobster bisque, tortellini with sausage, bacon-wrapped scallops, chicken quesadillas, fresh salads, and more. Reservations are not required. 

View Bowne's Lab menu.


Kevin Allen is a writer, videographer, content creator, and actor. He moved to the Sarasota area from Chicago, where he studied and performed improvisation at iO and The Second City. He earned theatre and English degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he was a member of the legendary Comedy Wars improv team. He is husband to Janet and father to Summer.

Ariel Blue has been performing for 15 years in many stages across the U.S. When she’s not performing, you can find her on her blog, The Blue Print, or working with her writing group, R.A.D. Although Ariel has been singing for many years, she only recently put out her own original music which can be found on all streaming platforms. Through by day, she works for the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, by night, she’s delivering joy via musical performances. In essence, she’s a superhero! www.simplyarielblue.com

Valerie Dale

Sylvia Day is an international actor, writer and comedian based in Sarasota after more than 25 years in Europe. She trained in improv at UCB in New York, sketch writing at Second City Chicago, and musical improv with the Olivier Award-winning Showstoppers in London. She has performed on the TEDx stage in Zurich, Off-Broadway in her solo show 50 SHADES OF DAY! and at Asolo Rep in SWEENEY TODD. She also works as a leadership presence and communications coach with organizations and senior leaders around the world. www.sylvia-day.com

Sarah Durham is originally from Campbellsville, Kentucky, but has found a home at FST. She is the Head Writer for FST Sketch and is a member of FST Improv. Sarah studied improv and comedy writing at The Second City in Chicago. At FST, Sarah is a writer for the Cabaret Stage and Children’s Theatre. Some of her recent credits include Cinderella, Three Pianos, and Deck the Halls. She hopes to continue to write joy into people’s lives.

Darryl Knapp is an avid Tampa Bay Rays fan, loves deviled eggs and salads. Darryl has been an improviser for over 25 years and has studied with many of the greats and institutions worldwide. He is a teacher of improv in the Tampa area. Originally from Westchester County NY he now hails from Wesley Chapel a mere 80 North of FST. Affectionately known as The Mayor of Improv in the Community. He is also proud of his many Improv Festival shirts and also has talked more about improv than has performed it.

Emily Levin is a recovering attorney who began studying improv in the Chicago area and has since gone on to be a total embarrassment to her children. She was a
founding member of an all-female improv troupe called Lady HaHa and performed in the Chicago suburbs for drunk women having a ladies’ night out. Emily moved to Sarasota in 2013 and is thrilled to be living here instead of freezing and shoveling mounds of snow in Illinois. Emily hopes that her career at FST will rise to new heights of embarrassment for her family.

Shawn McWhinnie was first introduced to improv at the University of Florida performing numerous shows for the college campus with UF’s improv troupe, Theatre Strike Force. At UF, he also was a part of the sketch comedy troupe Generation. After a brief hiatus to pursue his career as a pharmacist, Shawn began taking improv classes at FST and is glad to be back on stage performing improv for Sarasota audiences.

Sal Piccolo got started in comedy on a dare. Originally a sports broadcasting major, Sal hosted and produced The Sports Cellar on AM radio right here in Sarasota. After failing miserably at stand-up comedy, he moved to Chicago where he discovered his love of improv. Having studied at The Second City Conservatory, iO theater, Annoyance theater, pH theater, and Theatre Momentum as well as many workshops and festivals, Sal is a student first. Connection to people is something we are losing more and more every day, so Sal has made it his goal to develop personal connections with people, and hopefully make you laugh a little too.

Sammy Pontello is a recent graduate of the University of Central Florida, where he completed his Bachelor’s of Arts in Theatre Studies with a minor in Creative Writing. Past credits with Theatre UCF include Much Ado About Nothing (Leonato), Urinetown (Caldwell B. Cladwell), A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Magistrate/Others, U/S D’Ysquith Family), #GodHatesYou (Rabbi Cohen), and Titanic (Pitman/The Major/4th Man, U/S J. Bruce Ismay). Other past credits include L’Italiana in Algeri (Ensemble) with UCF Opera and Arkansaw Bear with Celebrate TYA, who he also frequently directed with. Sammy served as a New Play Development Intern with the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre in Orlando, Florida this past year, where he assisted the selection process for PlayFest 2021. He also works often as a director, and is currently workshopping a solo show inspired by the life of Emma Goldman. When not working on the stage, he can often be found in the kitchen, and is an avid – and formerly professional – baker. He currently serves as a Literary Fellow with Florida Studio Theatre.

Helena Rankin is originally from Ithaca, NY, is an early career artist with a focus in both stage management and music. Her past FST involvement includes Bright Star (Backstage Crew), Light My Fire (Light and Sound Board Operator), and Tomas and the Library Lady (Stage Manager). During college, she spent two summers in Oberlin, OH working as the Production Stage Manager for the Oberlin Summer Theatre Festival. She is immensely enjoying living in Florida, and is very happy to be continuing her work with FST! Stay positive and strong.

Kyle Shoemaker is a local performer, writer, and improviser with FST Improv, On Deck, and Big Bang Improv. Kyle could not be more thrilled to be a part of FST!


Autumn Steiner was dubbed “The Unknown Comic” (by her parents) as a toddler, and she remained that way until 2015, when a Google search led her to Florida Studio Theatre. Since then, Autumn has made up for lost time, performing with FST Improv, Big Bang Improv, and as “Lady Parts” in the Shakespearean improv troupe Come What Will. She played Lisa in the short film Barely Inspired, which had its world premiere at the 2019 Sarasota Film Festival. She is working on a collection of personal essays titled Sweet Face, Black Heart—a phrase a priest once said to her.

Christian Torres

Matt "MW" Walker is a multi-talented artist and contemporary comedian who hosts the weekly Podcast Discovery Show, and the monthly Whenever Show. He plays with the alternative rock band HIDES and indie-folk/rock under the moniker MW Walker all over the country. He’s produced independent comedy shows all over, performed in countless festivals and shows all over the country, writes for sketch and took down commercial Christmas lights in LA one January. To see what he’s up to, it’s best to follow him @mattwindwalker.

Sergi Glushonkov (Pianist) has been playing piano since he was a sprightly Ukrainian baby. As his piano skills slightly improved over time, his maturity level remained the same. Thus, he found a funducational outlet as sort of a superhero... “Southside Elementary music teacher by day – FST pianist by night.” Sergei has a few children’s musicals under his belt (or wherever one likes to keep their experiences): Jungle Book, Cinderella, School House Rock, and Sleeping Beauty. Sergei is extremely excited to be a part of the FST troupe — just ask his shrink!

Michelle Neal (Pianist) Is a Music Director for the Manatee Players, a private music teacher, and was born and raised in Florida. She hopes to one day find someone to collaborate with and pursue her dream of composing in various musical styles.

Will Luera (Director) is the Director of Improvisation at Florida Studio Theatre, Director of Big Bang Improv, and serves as the Artistic Director Emeritus of ImprovBoston. Will is Co-Creator of Healing Moments for Alzheimer’s, a nonprofit organization that provides education advocacy and ministry for persons with dementia and their caregivers. Will tours globally as an improv and theater actor, director, and instructor, performing and teaching regularly all across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.

Rebecca Hopkins (Founder/Producer) is the founder and producer of FST Improv and the Sarasota Improv Festival. She has also been actively involved in development of FST’s Cabaret productions since her arrival in 1998. During the 2019-2020 Winter Season, she was the Lead Developer for That’s Amoré! and Light My Fire, and was part of the development team for Outlaws & Angels. Previously she was the Lead Developer on  The Wonder Years: The Music of the Baby Boomers; Unchained Melodies; Blue Suede Shoes; Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves; Yesterday; American Pie; and Poems, Prayers, and Promises. She has been the head writer on all five Laughing Matters shows. Some of her favorite shows she helped develop include: Mack the Knife; The Prima Donnettes; That’s Life; The Wanderers; My One and Only Gershwin; Hot and Cole; The British Invasion; The Flip Side; and Outlaws and Angels. Mrs. Hopkins serves as Managing Director for Florida Studio Theatre, and as such, is the Chief Operations Officer. Mrs. Hopkins is responsible for oversight of FST’s Administration, including the Business Office, Development, Marketing, Box Office, Front of House, Restaurant, Budgeting, and maintaining the overall quality of FST’s internal management. Mrs. Hopkins serves on the Board of Directors for the League of Resident Theatres and for the Theatre Communications Group. She is the former President of the National New Play Network. In 2012, the Arts & Cultural Alliance awarded Mrs. Hopkins the Cultural Champion Award in recognition of her many years of accomplishment and growth with Florida Studio Theatre. In 2016, Mrs. Hopkins was awarded the Luminaire Award, honoring excellence in creativity, philanthropy, advocacy, and all elements that are keys to future growth of the arts in Sarasota.





August 11, 2022  I  The Sarasota Observer  I  FST's We're Doomed takes a shot at disaster movies

June 8, 2022  I  Broadway World  FST Improv Announces Summer Lineup

June 1, 2022  I  Suncoast FYI  I  Interview with FST's Director of Improv, Will Luera

March 15, 2022  I  Broadway World  I FST Improv's Spring Season Lineup Announced

November 5, 2021  I  Suncoast View  Improv Games With Florida Studio Theatre

October 29, 2021  I  Broadway World  I  FST Improv Announces Return To Weekly Performances