Smile Politely

Second Annual C-U Improv Festival May 7 and 8

Zoo Improv announces the Second Annual C-U Improv Fest on May 7 and 8.  This year’s festival will include two nights of shows and one day of workshops, taught by some of the most experienced improvisers in the world, including, Joe Bill, and Jay Sukow, both who have experience with Second City and Improv Olympic.  Teams from Chicago, Bloomington, and Champaign-Urbana will perform at 8pm on May 7 and 8pm and 10pm on May 8.  Headliners include BASSPROV and pH productions.  Also featured will be a team made up of local improvisers, directed by Chicago Improv Festival Executive Director, Jonathan Pitts.  All Shows are at Class Act, 114 S. Neil Street, Champaign.  Workshops are open to the public for $25.  Shows are $10 each or $25 for a festival pass.  For tickets and information, visit  To register for a workshop, send an email to [email protected].


Workshops are available to the public for $25.  They will take place on May 8 from 2pm to 5pm at Class Act (114 S. Neil in Champaign.)  Please share this with anyone you think might be interested.  Email [email protected] to sign up.

The workshop descriptions and teacher bios are included below.  I look forward to hearing from you!

The Only Form You’ll Ever Need: Yes, and…  with Jay Sukow

In this workshop, students will get back to what makes improv great: agreement instead of form.  Yes your way to success.

Jay Sukow has been teaching improv since 1993 at iO Chicago, ComedySportz, and through private workshops. He has a degree in Acting from ISU and training at ComedySportz, Annoyance Theatre, The Second City and iO Chicago.

Playing fast, playing smart with Jason Geis and Sally Anderson of pH productions

Erase the misconception of “faster play equals dumber bitty play”. Not true! We will teach you how to create a richly satisfying montage, or approach any piece with more energy and pace. You will find yourself approaching longform in a whole new way. Faster doesn’t always mean speed either…getting to the meat of the scene faster is another big emphasis of this class.

Sally Anderson has been proud to be a part of the Playground Incubator 2 team Kids With Feelings, Second City Conservatory program, iO, and Makeshift Robot. Jason Geis one of the founders and current Artistic Directors of pH. In addition, Jason is a member of the iO team, Mr. Fahrenheit and the Playground member team, Pastor of Muppets. Jason also coaches the Playground team, Space Robbers and Loyola’s college team, BAM! Jason is a graduate of iO and Second City Conservatory, where he was a member of the sketch group, Self Centered Girl.

Your Power Improv Toolkit with Joe Bill

The focus of this workshop will be bringing the power of depth and point of view to your improvised Characters and Scenes.  We’ll work with understanding the vital differences in playing Short Form vs. Long Form Characters, and will include personal feedback with things to work on going forward.  This workshop will perfectly augment ongoing study of Characters and Scene, Long Form Improvisation and Harold, as well as benefit the Improviser that is currently performing or aspiring to perform with a team or group. A minimum of 1 year of Improv Training is suggested, advanced Improvisers and actors welcome as well.

Joe Bill is a founding member of Annoyance Theater and has taught Improvisation at The Second City Training Center & Conservatory, iO Chicago & all over the U.S., Canada and Europe for almost 20 years.  He is a member of the Nationally Touring productions, BASSPROV and SCRAM and has been Improvising since 1977.

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