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The Sarasota Improv Festival Returns!

May 30, 2023

The premier festival of its kind in the southeastern United States, the Sarasota Improv Festival will return July 20, 21, and 22 with acts by some of the leading improvisational artists from across the country and around the world. This year’s lineup will feature more than 20 troupes, 29 performances, and 80 artists over the course of just one weekend.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming artists and audiences back to FST for this beloved festival,” said Director of Improvisation Will Luera. “This event is so special and distinctive — not just to the Sarasota community, but within the larger improvisational world on a national scale. It’s truly become a destination event.”

Headlining this year’s fest is MC Hammersmith, coming to FST all the way from the United Kingdom. MC Hammersmith, who has been described as a “posh British boy,” may not look or sound like any rapper you’ve ever witnessed before, but his impromptu lyrical stylings on topics ranging from Harry Potter to bathtubs cannot be denied for their skill or laughter-inducing ability. Called “The world’s leading freestyle rapper” by The Advertiser, MC Hammersmith has performed at Fringe and comedy festivals around the world and has headlined at major comedy clubs across the UK. The comedian has also won several awards, including the 2020 Scottish Comedy Award for Best Sketch Show/Variety Act.

MC Hammersmith. Photo by Lance Fuller Photography.

Our second international act is one of the hottest Canadian improv groups around, 2-MAN NO-SHOW. With just two members, 2-MAN NO-SHOW is an unpredictable tag team known for their daring physical choices, unflagging energy, and outrageous characters. This critically-acclaimed comedic duo has performed to sold-out audiences at the top comedy festivals across North America and was voted as Toronto’s Best Improv Troupe for two years in a row by NOW Magazine.

Festival fans will be pleased to see many audience favorites, including Available Cupholders (Austin and Los Angeles), North Coast (New York City, NY), Parallelogramophonograph (Austin, TX), Dad’s Garage (Atlanta, GA), and Big Bang Improv (Sarasota, Boston, NYC), return to the Gulf Coast to celebrate the return of the Festival. Joining them are more than half dozen improv troupes who make their debuts this year.

Joining FST for the very first time is HERE: The (Improvised) Musical, one of Chicago’s most lauded shows and one of the most celebrated globally in the artform. From just one audience suggestion, a two-person cast will spin a fully improvised musical, complete with an opening number, believable characters, and a spur of the moment storyline. Hailed as “Nothing short of genius” by NPR, HERE has been brought to 24 countries and 80+ cities worldwide.

Big Bang Improv performs at 10th Anniversary Sarasota Improv Festival (2018). Photo by FST.

The 2023 Fest culminates with the artistic and structural engineering feat, the All Play showdown. We’ll figure out a way to safely squeeze all 80+ Festival artists onto the Gompertz Mainstage in an epic finale of raucous improvisational games, skill, and style.

For those attendees inspired to get in on the action, the Festival offers 16 opportunities to learn from the professionals in our Saturday workshop offerings.

Hurry! You won’t want to miss out on this year’s fun. Snag your Festival pass by clicking here or by calling 941.366.9000.


Header Image: Festival All-Stars performance at FST's 2019 Sarasota Improv Festival. Photo by FST.