Spotlight On: Red Rocks Improv Festival

This year marks the 5th year the small little town of Cedar City has and improv festival. It’s inspiring to see this community grow and expand every year. Cedar City has about 35,000 people in it and is a college town, but that doesn’t mean its been an easy road. Off The Cuff Improvisation who runs the Red Rocks Improv Festival, have had their challenges but in the end have hit them head on. Now they are a festival that attracts acts from all over the country to sold out crowds. Here is an interview I did with Co-Founders TJ and Wendy Penrod.

It’s your 5th year as a festival! What can we expect?

This will be a bigger better festival than we have put on before! In our fifth year you can expect to have an amazing time, watch some kick ass shows, see some beautiful sights, attend some awesome parties, eat delicious food and get to know improvisors from all over the country as well as the beautiful state of Utah.

You are known for not only having a festival, but taking improvisors on outdoor adventures. Is that happening again this year?

Yes! We have planned 2 hikes this year. The first hike will be on Friday to Kannaraville Canyon waterfalls. Plan to get wet on this hike as we explore a deep slot canyon with some waterfalls only 10 minutes out of Cedar City. The second hike will be on Saturday in Zion National Park. We will be hiking the Emerald Pools loop Trail. On this hike you will be able to see the iconic Red Rocks of Southern Utah and everything Zion National Park has to offer. The hikes are free and transportation provided. Both hikes are in the easy category as well so we encourage everyone to come.

What workshops can improvisors expect?

There will be workshops! The who, and when are still being figured out at the moment. As soon as this information gets finalized we will be posting it on our Facebook page and sending it out to everyone who is performing at the festival.

What does the little town of Cedar City Utah have to offer improvisers?

Cedar City is a beautiful town located in the heart of the Red Rocks of Southern Utah. It is known as Festival City USA. Despite its small size, Cedar City is home to many different Arts organizations and hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year. Including the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Neil Simon Festival, the Groovefest American Folk Music Festival and of course The Red Rocks Improv Festival and many more. It is also home to Southern Utah University and because of its proximity to National Parks it is a hub for outdoor adventurers. Cedar City has all the perks of a small town, friendly people, clean air and great restaurants (if you get there before 9pm when they all close!)

OTC runs the Red Rocks Improv Festival and you just celebrated 10 years. Tell us a little bit about that…

That’s correct! We have survived for ten years! If OTC was a person we would be going into 4th grade. 3 years from puberty. We can’t wait for our bodies to change and our voices to drop.

We started out as college students in a coffee shop and now we run our own theatre and school. We strive to better ourselves and our festival is one way we do so. We’ve been really fortunate to get the support of our town and the amazing national improv community and we’ve been able to learn from some of the best in the business. We LOVE improv, and for everyone involved in OTC our festival and theatre are a product of that love and we want to share that with as many people as we can and give back to those who have given so much to us.


Nick is Camp Director and Founder of Improv Utopia an improv retreat for adults in California and Pennsylvania. He is also one of the founding members of the National Improv Network and performer and teacher at iO West as well as member of The Sunday Company at The Groundlings. He has also taught many workshops around the country.

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