Need a Laugh? Check out the Chicago Improv Festival Starting April 20th


Where did all the originality go? It seems like every movie or TV show that comes out now is a sequel, spin-off, or based on a book! Despite this onslaught of repetition, hope’s not lost for originality lovers. If you want to quench your thirst for creative content there is one form of entertainment so original the actors literally make it up on the spot! It’s called improv comedy.


Improv, short for improvisational comedy, is comedy based on actors improvising their way through a humorous sketch or situation with very little or no preparation.


Chicago hosts an improv appreciation event annually called The Chicago Improv Festival or  CIF 18 (because it’s in its  18th year).  It returns to the Windy City this year from April 20th to the 26th. The festival will include performances from a number of local and national improv groups as well as workshops for future and current improv actors.


Improv festival features – Schedule of events and venues



The biggest part of the festival is the performances themselves.  There will be shows at different venues throughout the city that will include all sorts of different types of improv comedy including such categories as  “long form”, “short form”, and even “experimental.” The shows are pretty affordable as well, you can probably check out a new improv group each night of the festival if you wanted to!



Over 130 improv groups will be showcased during the festival. Many of which are based in Chicago, but a number of  national acts will be appearing as well. Here are just a few of the groups that will be performing. Be sure to click on the links for videos of performances.



Besides entertainment,  the festival is a good resource for aspiring or current improv comedians. There will be a number of workshops taking place throughout the week to help you hone your craft. An assortment of workshops taught by experienced improv professionals will be available for three days during the festival, If you’re interested, be sure to sign up early as class size is limited. 

April 24th

  •  “An Alternative Approach to Scene work” 4pm-6pm at Stage 773 $50

April 25th

  • “Your Power Improv Toolkit” 11am-4pm 1st floor Athenaeum Theater $60
  •  “Broadening Relationship and Location” 1pm-3pm @ stage 773 $50
  • “Solo Improvisation” 2pm-5pm at Stage 773 $60

April 26th

  • “Protecting the Freak” 10am-noon @Stage 773 $55
  • “Longer, Stronger and Grounded” 12pm-2pm @Stage 773 $45
  • “ The Expansion Tree: From Formula to Form” 3pm-6pm 1st floor Athenaeum Theater $40


About Chicago Improv Productions

CIF 18 is organized by Chicago Improv Productions, a non-profit organization that puts together a number of improv comedy based events throughout the year. For more information on Chicago Improv Productions, including how to donate, be sure to check out their website.


Join the conversation on social media: Use the hashtag #CIF18 or follow them on Twitter at @CIFest They also have a presence on Facebook and Tumblr




Chicago Improv Festival

Date: April 20th-26th

Location: Chicago, Illinois (various venues)

Photo attribution: By ClayRobeson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons




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