Spotlight on Grand Rapids

It’s been a little while since we were able to do Festival Spotights during the International changeover. But I had the chance to talk to the folks from The Grand Rapids Improv Festival. It sounds like it’s going to be a great time.

GRIF is coming back for another year. What’s new this year?

We are going to have a lot of new local troupes, many who have formed in just the last year. We are fortunate to have so much talent right in Grand Rapids. We will also be bringing back some favorites like the Downtown Improv Crawl ( a combination bar crawl and improv show) but will be tweaking it to make it even better than last year!

Submissions are open for a few more weeks. What kind of shows are you hoping to attract to Grand Rapids?

We love all kinds of improv! Short Form, long form, one man shows – you name it, we want it. We would also love to see some great workshops to help people sharpen their skills and learn some some techniques.

What’s the local scene like. What kind of improv is coming out of Western Michigan now?

The improv scene in Grand Rapids has exploded in the last year. We have new troupes forming all the time, and established troupes getting better and trying new things. The improv scene is West Michigan is a mix of everything, from polished to experimental!

You’re going to have some commedia dell’arte this year. It’s one of the oldest forms of improv in the world. For those that don’t know about it, what can they expect?

This kind of comedy is the grandparent of modern sitcoms and uses half-masks, farce and satire to create relatable comedy. It’s a very fun, different way to watch improv.

What’s the venue like?

Most of the performances will be at Dog Story Theater in downtown GR. It’s an intimate setting to see all of the great improv we have lined up!

What can visiting performers expect to see in Grand Rapids when the festival isn’t going on?

Well we are Beer City USA so you can expect a lot of great breweries and bars! There are also plenty of museums, coffee shops, book shops and historical areas for after you visit a brewery or two.

What would you like visitors who come this year to say about the festival when all is said and done?

This will be the third year of the GRIF and we hope that people say it was the best year yet! If everyone leaves having laughed then our job will be complete

There’s still plenty of time to submit here.

Currently Bill is an instructor at The Torch Theatre and producer for the Phoenix Improv Festival.

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