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 Ocean State Improv Festival 

June 5-9, 2024

Festival Details

The five-day Ocean State Improv Festival brings together artists and troupes to create an interconnected community that teaches, learns, inspires, and performs together on Rhode Island’s beautiful southern coast!

  • Nightly performances showcase the fantastic talents of performers from all over the world. 11 performances, including mixers, featuring 15-20 troupes total.

  •  A broad slate of workshops and multi-day intensives by top-flight teachers immerse you in new experiences, passions, and a worldwide network of inspiring collaborators.

  • “Mixer shows” (Theatresports, Micetro, Pirate, and the Duo Bracket Challenge) and workshop showcases let individual artists and members of troupes perform alongside new friends.

  • Connect with members of the world-wide improv community!

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Festival Details

Show Schedule

 Thursday, June 6 

5 pm: The Silver Lining (MA), The Pacheacos (MN), Magical Lying Hour (TX)

7 pm: Brotha Brotha (MN), Some Things May Never Happen (NV), Juliet & Juliet (MN/CA)

9:30 pm: Pirate Improv Mixer Show - Directors from across the festival compete to see whose vision wins the day as the audience chooses whether directors win doubloons or walk the plank!

 Friday, June 7 

5 pm: Ice Cream Manifesto (RI), Bollix Manor (NY), Mona and Shara Do Improv (CA), Bait & Switch (RI)

7 pm: The Unpronounceables (MN), Juliet & Juliet (MN/CA), Foul Play: Improvised Agatha Christie (MN)

9:30 pm: Micetro Mixer Show - Performers from across the festival compete in scenes and songs for the audience's love! They get eliminated throughout the show until we have crowned the Micetro winner!

11 pm: Pop Hearts (RI), The Improvised Twilight Zone (MN), My Town (MN)

 Saturday, June 8 

2 pm: People People (MA), Campfire Dragons (CT), Charismatic Megafauna (OH), Big Bang Improv (MA), Breakfast Boys (NY)

 

5 pm: Shakespeare Workshop Showcase, But of Mind (AK/CA), The Raving Jaynes (NY), NEAT (MN)

 

7 pm: Crocodile Paws (Finland), Hell Yeah! Musical Improv (NY), Star Trek: The Next Improvisation (MN)

 

9:30 pm: Theatresports Mixer Show - Performers from across the festival form teams and go head to head in the ultimate improv showdown!

 

11 pm: Patty Cakes (MN), EckBerger! (MN), Serious Theatre with Real Actors (Global)

 Sunday, June 9 

1:30 pm – 5:30 pm: Duo Bracket Challenge on the Performance Patio

Duo Bracket Challenge: Over the fest, folks pair up and submit new duos; 16 are selected for the bracket challenge. Duos are paired head-to-head, and each gets 2 minutes of time on stage. The audience votes for who moves on. 

Festival Passes and Tickets

Want to see shows at the festival? We've got your options covered!

  • All-Access Festival Pass: $170 You get tickets to every performance and an Ocean State Improv Festival t-shirt! If you sign up for 9+ hours of workshops, you get an All-Access Festival Pass for free!

  • Day Pass: Wed/Thurs - $45, Fri/Sat - $65) You can get a Day Pass to see all of the shows on a specific day of the festival. Performers get a free Day Pass for the day of their performance and discounts on all passes.

  • Individual Show Tickets: You can of course get tickets to each show individually if you want! Choose your own price based on our new pricing system for all of our performances. We want everyone to be able to enjoy these incredible performances!
    • ​Standard ticket price for OSIF shows is $25.
    • $35 tickets are available to help support the Jack Albanese Scholarship Fund.

    • $45 tickets are available for anyone who can afford a little extra to support this and future festivals.

    • $10 tickets are available for anyone 25 & under and anyone who needs them.

  • Performers get special deals on all passes!

Workshops

The Ocean State Improv Festival is focused on providing opportunities to create a community of improvisers that teaches, learns, inspires, and performs together!

If you take 9+ hours of workshops, you get a free All-Access Festival Pass! (That's 3 workshops or 2 if one is a two-day workshop!)

Workshops are open to everyone and anyone! Below, you'll find a listing of all the workshops. (Scroll down to find out more about the workshops or click the links to see descriptions!)

If you take 3 workshops, you get a free All-Access Festival Pass!

Workshops are $40 for one-session or $80 for a two-session workshop.

We want everyone to be able to take the workshops, so reach out to Maggie Cady at cady@thecontemporarytheater.com for financial assistance if needed! Really, we mean it.

 Thursday 

10 am - 1 pm:

Scene Brain, Game Brain with Joe Bill

The Power of The Second Move with Rhiannon & Chris Griswold-Jenkins

2 pm - 5 pm:

Silence is Golden with Kaisa Kokko-Palmer

Comedy from Connection with Joe Bill

 Friday 

10 am - 1 pm:

Deconstruction Basics with Joe Bill

Acting for Improvisers with Kaisa Kokko-Palmer (All Day)

Listen Up! with Rhiannon & Chris Griswold-Jenkins

2 pm - 5 pm:

Improvised Shakespeare with Sami Haeli & Meghan Wolff

Characters on Characters on Characters with John Gebretatose

Acting for Improvisers with Kaisa Kokko-Palmer (All Day)

 Saturday 

10 am - 1 pm:

The Power of Presence: Acting with Confidence Onstage - and Everywhere Else with Stephanie Rae

Joyful Diagnosis Bootcamp with Ruby Willmann

The Unspoken No: Your Path to Radical Agreement with Rhiannon & Chris Griswold-Jenkins

2 pm - 5 pm:

3 Formats in 3 Hours with Kaisa Kokko-Palmer

Playing Safely with Our Sensitivities with Alsa & Morgan Bruno

 Sunday 

10 am - 1 pm:

Music Is Us with Kaisa Kokko-Palmer

Do The Most: Amplifying Your Improv Voice with Stephanie Rae

Sign up for 9+ hours of workshops and get a free All-Access Pass to see all the shows!

Workshop Descriptions

Morning: 10 am - 1 pm

 Thurs, June 6 

Scene Brain, Game Brain with Joe Bill

Thurs, June 6, 10 am - 1 pm

This workshop will help improvisers understand the differences in
how their brains work when they are playing improv scenes vs
improv games. We’ll cover how the harmony of the Engineer and
Jazz Musician sensibilities in your head can be vital in playing
Scene, Narrative, Games (and “Game of The Scene’, if applicable).
There are psychological differences that happen when we play for
comedy as the goal vs. when we play for comedy as a consequence of
emotional and psychological connection. I’ve studied psychology
and behavioral neuroscience for more than 30 years and in this
workshop I aim to help everyone, at any point in their improv life, to
understand how to ground themselves immediately in an improv
scene, in ANY context. I will help you gain confidence, get out of
your head and feel more connected so you can just PLAY!

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The Power of the Second Move with Rhiannon & Chris Griswold-Jenkins

Thurs, June 6, 10 am - 1 pm

Everyone puts pressure on scene initiations, but the second move is where the true power in the scene is! Learn how to build collaborative, confident scenes from any Initiation.

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Afternoon: 2 pm - 4:45 pm

Silence Is Golden with Kaisa Kokko-Palmer

Thurs, June 6, 2 pm - 4:45 pm

How do you create tension, intriguing scenes and relationships without words? Come find out and take your improvising to a new level! 

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Comedy from Connection with Joe Bill

Thurs, June 6, 2 pm - 4:45 pm

This workshop is focused on acting in improvisational
scenes. We’ll explore comedy not as the goal of interactions but as a
consequence of your connection to yourself, your character, your
partner, and the scene as it unfolds. I’ll put you in repetitions with
partners so that you can feel how listening through an emotion (or
disposition or psychological state), with a willingness to change, can
lead to “honest interactions”. You will feel connected, be believable,
and be able to evoke a variety of emotions from yourselves and your
audience. This workshop will be equally useful for actors and
improvisers alike and will include some general and a little bit of
individual feedback.

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 Fri, June 7 

Morning: 10 am - 1 pm

Acting for Improvisers with Kaisa Kokko-Palmer

*FULL DAY* Fri, June 7 from 10 am - 1 pm & 2 pm - 4:45 pm

This workshop is going to concentrate on acting work and exercises through physicality, connection, emotions, and expressive language through body and words. Perfect for anyone wanting to dig deeper into the craft of acting.

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Listen Up! with Rhiannon & Chris Griswold-Jenkins

Fri, June 7 from 10 am - 1 pm

This workshop trains you to put all your attention on your scene partner and receive everything they give you. Become everyone's favourite scene partner! 

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 Deconstruction Basics with Joe Bill

Fri, June 7, 10 am - 1 pm

Almost all Longform Improvisation and Narrative contains some
elements of Deconstruction. In this workshop, we’ll play with the
deconstruction of Scenes and Monologues (and maybe some other
source material) but breaking down the different components of the
source as inspiration for scenes. This will include launching from
words, emotions, actions, themes, and implications while examining
patterns as inspiration for narrative that presents itself organically.
If time permits, we’ll do an overview of the different formal
deconstruction formats that exist and play inside of those to get a
taste of all of the ways that the ideas of deconstruction feed our
approach to different longer forms of improvisation.

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Afternoon: 2 pm - 4:45 pm

Improvising Shakespeare with Sami Haeli & Meghan Wolff

(aka Juliet & Juliet)

*TWO DAY WORKSHOP* Fri, June 7 & Sat June 8 from 2 pm - 4:45 pm

This workshop will cover all the basics you need to improvise the Bard’s work as though you’ve stepped right out of the 16th century and into an improv scene! We’ll get familiar with Shakespeare’s work, then explore and play with some of the basic building blocks, including wild metaphors, bold monologues, and passionate characters. On the second day, we'll dig into advanced metaphor and simile, working with the historic and mythological sources Will drew from to inform both his language and his stories. From there we’ll move on to playing with the shape and tone of Shakespeare’s work, and we’ll explore how your own interests and values can shape your stories and your shows.

 

This workshop isn’t just for those interested in improvising Shakespeare. It’s also for anyone who wants to explore how presentation and delivery can change an audience’s experience of your show, for anyone interested in using improv to explore another art they love, or for anyone looking to shake up their improv with a new approach to scenework.

The workshop leads up to a showcase performance in the festival on Saturday at 5 pm. Everyone from the workshop is encouraged to join the showcase, but it is not required. 

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Characters on Characters on Characters with John Gebretatose

Fri, June 7 from 2 pm - 4:45 pm

We explore the challenge of one improviser playing multiple characters within one scene or show. We will look at the exercises and techniques to help remember all those lovely characters in your brain. 

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 Sat, June 8 

Morning: 10 am - 1 pm

The Power of Presence: Acting with Confidence Onstage - and Everywhere Else with Stephanie Rae

Sat, June 8 from 10 am - 1 pm

This dynamic session is focused on finding and harnessing your unique inner

confidence through the power of applied improv. Participants will learn to embody their presence both onstage and in outside life, through interactive exercises and improvisational games. With expertise and guidance in a supportive environment, participants will hone their abilities to think on their feet, trust their instincts, and project confidence in every interaction. Get ready to explore and embrace your personal power, and leave equipped with new skills to navigate both the stage and the world with assurance and poise.

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Joyful Diagnosis Bootcamp with Ruby Willmann

Sat, June 8 from 10 am - 1 pm

Bring some joy and bring a towel for this Joyful Diagnosis Bootcamp! We will do scene work, some montages, and you’ll get straightforward feedback on what might be hurting you and where you could start pushing your improv!

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The Unspoken No: Your Path to Radical Agreement with Rhiannon & Chris Griswold-Jenkins

Sat, June 8 from 10 am - 1 pm

We say "Yes And" but what does that really mean? Let's go beyond the cliche to truly discover what it means to accept and build with a partner.

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Afternoon: 2 pm - 4:45 pm

3 Formats in 3 Hours with Kaisa Kokko-Palmer

Sat, June 8 from 2 pm - 4:45 pm

In this workshop, we will get to know 3 different formats that you can take home to your own group and make them yours. Formats will be chosen from a list by the group.

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Playing Safely with Our Sensitivities with Alsa & Morgan Bruno

Sat, June 8 from 2 pm - 4:45 pm

As improvisers, we play with everything that is within us and anything anyone around us is willing to offer. Our communities have become more and more aware of the possible harm that can come from creating art, so it has become incumbent upon improvisers to balance liberative play with a safe, joyful experience. This discussion-based workshop will engage participants in how to co-create playfulness with an audience and steward joyful boundaries so that everyone involved in the play feels free to 'mask or unmask' to their comfort level, including the audience. Our play deserves playfulness, even when it's uncomfortable.

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 Sun, June 9 

Morning: 10 am - 1 pm

Music Is Us with Kaisa Kokko-Palmer

Sun, June 9 from 10 am - 1 pm

Come have fun and explore what all we can create in the world of musical improv without any instruments other than our bodies! 

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Do the Most: Amplifying Your Improv Voice with Stephanie Rae

Sun, June 9 from 10 am - 1 pm

Have you ever been encouraged to be less ‘yourself’ onstage? Less loud - or

less quiet. Less ‘cultural’ - or less assimilated. Just...less. Not today. Become your very most “you” in grounded scenes and long form exercises focused on drawing from a place of truth to create something magical and new. Nerd out, be loud, go silent, make obscure cultural references - perform in a way that honors your most authentic self and connect with others without shrinking. Come prepared to learn from different perspectives and let your inner self shine!

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Housing

There are many nearby hotels and B&Bs in the South Kingstown and Narragansett area. We also have some community homestay options with locals available with advance notice!

Are you a Rhode Islander interested in hosting some amazing improvisers? Every year we need kind local folks to help us house our visiting friends! Reach out to Maggie Cady at cady@thecontemporarytheater.com for info!


 

Travel

We are located in Wakefield, Rhode Island in beautiful South County. 

 

Driving: We are 20 minutes off of I-95 at 327 Main Street, Wakefield, RI 02879.

Train: Kingston Station on the Northeast Corridor of Amtrak is 15 minutes from the theater. Wickford Station on the commuter rail from Boston is 15 minutes from the theater. We will have transportation from the stations available if you let us know your arrival time.

Air: Providence T.F. Green Airport is half an hour from the theater, and Boston Logan Airport is an hour and a half from the theater. We will have transportation from the Providence Airport available if you are traveling within certain timeframes at the beginning and end of the festival. (It's harder for us to get transportation in the middle of the festival because we're all busy at workshops and shows!)

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