This year’s Orange County Improv Fest, returning after two years of being on a pandemic hiatus, hosts teams from cities all over the region including San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles. With the 2020 festival being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the goal this year was to invite back all of the talent scheduled to perform two years ago. A host of new teams will also be joining the roster, including an all-female team, musical teams, two Harry Potter-inspired teams, and many more. “It is just celebrating a diversity of different improv styles,” says festival co-director Bridget Steiner.
After the festival’s original home, STAGEStheater in Fullerton, was forced to close during the pandemic, one of the challenges with bringing the festival back was finding a new venue. Thankfully, the historic, non-profit Frida Cinema was there to save the day. “The Frida is an awesome non-profit, arthouse theater. So we are excited that they’re supporting us and we get to support them,” says Steiner. The venue is located on the bustling 4th Street in downtown Santa Ana. Surrounded by local restaurants, galleries, and shops.
A ticket to the event is good for one night of shows. The shows will take place on Friday and Saturday night from 7 p.m. to midnight. Tickets for each night ($20) are sold separately and are good for the entire night, which is split up into three blocks, each about an hour and a half long. Attendees are invited to attend one block, step out of the theater to enjoy the town for a bit, and return for another block; or stay for the entire night. Tickets for the shows can be purchased here.
Other Festival Events
In addition to the improv shows, there are interactive workshops held throughout the weekend. Workshops are recommended for people who have at least some prior improv experience. Workshops tickets, sold separate from performances, can be purchased here.
“The festival will expose you to a wide variety of different approaches to improv and a lot of talent,” says Steiner. There will be a handful of local teams performing, including college teams from both Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine. The Improv Collective and ImprovCity are two local theaters that will be represented at the festival. Members of the public who are interested in learning more about taking improv classes, joining an improv group, or attending future shows, are encouraged to reach out to these theaters directly.