CIF Productions' Previous News And Updates
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CIF Productions' 2008-2009 Season
October 1, 2008 - June 15, 2008
October 3-4, 2008
October 11, 2008
October 18, 2008
October 25, 2008
November 15, 2008
December 13-21, 2008
January 9-10, 2009
March 28, 2009
April 13-19, 2009
April 15, 2009
May 2, 2009
June 22-July 31, 2009
July 10-August 2, 2009
Chicago Improv Festival Productions has a new flickr page featuring a collection of 96 high-resolution color photos taken from April '07 to March '08. These photos show all the programming CIF Productions did during that time, with a major focus on CIF '07.
To see the photos, please click: CIF Productions' Photos
All 7 hour-long episodes from CIF Productions' College Comedy Championship 2007 are available for on-line viewing at: CCC Episodes
Our favorite shows? Quarter-Finals #2, Semi-Finals #1, and Semi-Finals #2
To celebrate and highlight the upcoming 11th annual Chicago Improv Festival, CIF Productions is having its first ever CIF Preview with performances at The Second City Skybox: April 25-26, 2008.
Chicago Improv Festival Productions' Executive Director Jonathan Pitts says, "We have 10 wonderful Chicago acts performing in our preview and they're all part of our CIF 2008 roster. This is a great line-up, as we are happy to give an extra showcase to such strong Chicago talent."
CIF Artistic Director Mark Sutton, who selected the Chicago ensembles for the roster of CIF 2008, said, "I originally wanted to call the CIF Preview weekend, 'A Celebration of Chicago Comedy' because that's what it will be. We can show our audiences 10 very funny Chicago improv teams, as well as give those Chicago teams an extra chance to perform with CIF. It's going to be a great weekend!"
Ticket Information: Tickets will be $12 for each show (the midnight shows will be $10). Tickets can be bought through The Second City Skybox or by calling their box office at 312-337-3992. The Second City Skybox is located at 1608 N. Wells, 4th floor.
The deadline for CIF taking submissions for it's 11th annual festival ended yesterday as CIF received over 115 submissions from 5 countries. This is fifth year in a row that CIF has received over 100 submissions. CIF's Executive Director Jonathan Pitts says, "It's exciting to see the quality and quantity of submissions that came in from all over the world. It's nice to know that after 11 years CIF still has vitality for improvisers who want to perform here. As a festival, we're only as good as the talent we present, so when I see these submissions and who they're from, I know we're in good shape for this year's fest."
CIF Productions is presenting a free screening of two College Comedy Championship episodes on Sunday, March 2, 7pm at ComedySportz Chicago's theatre (927 W. Belmont). There will be free food from Chipotle and a cash bar. The two episodes which can currently only be seen on OSTN-TV will be shown are a Semi-Finals with Columbia College Chicago's Droppin' $cience versus Northwestern University's Old Tom Jar, and the Finals with Indiana University's Awkward Silence versus Northwestern University's Old Tom Jar. Both episodes will run about an hour in length. The Semi-Finals episode will be screened at 7pm and the Finals episode will be screened at 8pm. That night, on-air talent from the tv-series will be there, as will some of the college improvisers who were in the comedy tournament, and so will some of the crew from Columbia College Chicago's Television Department. The event is open to the public.
On Friday, February 8, BASSPROV performed in front of over 200 people at the Beverly Arts Center. This was their fourth time performing at the BAC and it was their first time they played without any special guests. After the show, several audience members and BAC staff said it was the best show BASSPROV has ever done at the BAC. Their fishin' trip topics included plagerism and politics. The opening act featured BAC's teen improv group, the Beverly Big Mouths as they performed a very fun 30 minute set of short-form games under the guidance of their coach Elise Lammers.
For a complete schedule of air dates and times, please click on College Comedy Championship.
The 2nd annual Teen Comedy Fest will be Friday, August 15 and Saturday, August 16, 2008. As it was for 2007 TCF, the South Shore Cultural Center's Paul Robeson Theatre will be the performance venue and the festival will be co-sponsored by the Chicago Park District.
To read the full on-line review, please click on CIN Review
The dates for the 11th Annual Chicago Improv Festival have been changed from April 21-27 to June 2-8. Chicago Improv Festival Executive Director Jonathan Pitts explains, "With the on-going writer's strike, we've had a hard time getting commitments from possible headlining actors and writers. By moving the dates of the festival to June this gives everyone more time to see how everything shakes out."
Pitts continues, "We choose June 2-8 because there are no other improv festivals during it, nor the week before or the week after. Also, there are no major conventions in Chicago that week, so we have regained our hotel sponsorship with Essex Inn of Chicago. Other advantages include warmer weather, the Cubs being out of town thus better parking for our audience, a new partnership with Snubfest which happens that same weekend, a possible partnership with the Midwest Independent Film Festival which happens that week, we regain the Park West as a super-stage venue, we gain the Lakeshore Theater as the week-long Mainstage venue, we retain The Second City Skybox as the Showcase venue, and we will continue our co-presenting partnerships with Chicago's comedy theatres for on-site programming during the festival week. I'm really excited about the way everything has come together for the new festival dates in June. It is like watching a great Harold."
Chicago Improv Festival's Artistic Director Mark Sutton said, "This is perfect, and it allows me to do more creative programming." Sutton has opened up the festival possibilities by changing his previous concept for the 2008 festival. Now everyone is encouraged to submit their act or ensemble to CIF, as there will be no formula of selecting just one act or ensemble per city. Says Pitts, "CIF's decade long tradition is to celebrate and present the finest and funniest examples of improv comedy from all over the world and we look forward to doing this in 2008".
Chicago Improv Festival has also changed its submission deadline for acts, duos, ensembles and apprentice teams to Friday, February 28th at 9pm (CST). Announcements of selected festival acts will be Saturday, March 15 at 5pm (CST), and announcements of festival headliners will begin in mid-April. For complete and updated submission information, please click on Submissions
CIF will keep it's previously scheduled April 25-26 weekend dates at The Second City Skybox. CIF will present a CIF 2008 Preview, with improv performances by Chicago ensembles at 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, and 11pm. CIF Artistic Director Mark Sutton will program the acts for this weekend. BASSPROV is expected to headline on one or both nights. The full line-up will be announced soon on this website.
To read the article, please click on Storybox: Pioneer Press Article
"The Storybox ensemble brings firm commitment and playfulness to the story and characters they concoct. The ensemble all work together smoothly and adeptly. You can easily give away 90 minutes of your time to watch this dedicated ensemble prance, prod and play around as they each work together as a team to be storytellers. Storybox does stress the elemental importance of imagination and ritual in theater and it succeeds." - Scott C. Morgan
The first week of Storybox's month-long run at Piven Theatre is over, and Storybox did four strong performances in front of enthusiastic audiences who praised the show for its creativity, ensemble work, originality, and theatrical quality. Storybox's press photo was also printed in this week's Chicago Reader and it was the only unscripted production listed in the Reader's theatre section rather than it's improv/comedy section. Next week an article on Storybox will appear in Thursday's Pioneer Press.
CIF Productions debuts two short videos from the College Comedy Championship episodes (which air in full on OSTN-TV late-January). To view them, click: CCC Main.
Storybox was the lead story for the "Suburban Stages" in Friday's Chicago Tribune's art section. The preview article on Storybox's upcoming month-long run at Evanston's Piven Theatre, also featured this photograph by Jerry Shulman.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE - SUBURBAN STAGE:
"Storybox" opens Thursday at Piven Theatre, Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. Through Feb. 3. Tickets are $10 at 847-866-8049.
Piven kicks off 2008 by getting back to basics in this one-act improvisational show, created and directed by Jonathan Pitts, the founder of the Chicago Improv Festival. Using the "story theater" techniques of Paul Sills and his mother, Viola Spolin, which formed the creative matrix for both Second City and Piven's own celebrated youth-theater program, the show also incorporates other influences, including Japanese Noh theater, Anne Bogart's "Viewpoints" techniques, Del Close's long-form improvisational approach and the myth work of Joseph Campbell.
The show, a collaboration between Piven's Performance Lab and the Storybox ensemble (vets of past improv festivals), takes as its motto "within every story, there lies another story." The artists aim to produce an original narrative piece every night using a single audience suggestion, wooden sticks, and pieces of cloth as they follow one main character through a series of different fanciful environments.
It might be cold outside, but CIF Productions aims to generate a lot of heat with its various projects happening during the first month of the year. These projects include co-presenting a month long run of Storybox at the Piven Theatre (Jan 10-Feb 3); partnering with ComedySportz Chicago to co-create and direct Illinois' first ever All-Fest Improv Team for the Illinois High School Theatre Fest (January 11-12); and the telecasting of 7 hour-long episodes of CIF Production's College Comedy Championship 2007 on OSTN-TV (beginning in late-January).
Congratulations to Boom Chicago and Messing with a Friend for making TOC's end of year list, and thanks again for their great shows at CIF 2007!
All in the (comic) timing: We laughed, we cried, we took notes. Here's our list of the folks who made 2007 so funny. [By Steve Heisler]
On Saturday night, Chicago Improv Festival Productions presented an evening of improv performances to an appreciative audience at the Beverly Arts Center. The headliners were The CIF All-Stars with Joe Bill, Tim Chidester, Katherine Gotsick, Bob Kulhan and Tim Sniffen. The opening act was Baby Wants Candy, and the middle act was BAC's teen troupe Beverly Big Mouths.
The highlight of the evening was at the end of the show when the CIF All-Stars brought the Beverly Big Mouths on-stage with them to play in several multi-generational scenes that earned large laughs from the Beverly audience. Backstage, after the show, Joe Bill said "Playing with those kids was great. The future of improv is in good hands."
CIF Productions Executive Director Jonathan Pitts Receives pH Award
On Monday, November 12, pH Productions' co-Artistic Directors Jason Geis and Micah Philbrook gave their first ever award, the pH pHounders Award, to CIF Productions Executive Director Jonathan Pitts as part of their 5th anniversary party held at the Lakeshore Theatre. The evening's event featured performances by pH Productions' roster of shows. There was an audience of 200+ people in attendance.
During his acceptance speech Pitts thanked pH Productions and his former Second City teacher, the late Don DePollo. Pitts said that DePollo told him that some day he would win an award and when he did to remember him. Pitts then brought out a headshot of DePollo and thanked him for being right.
For a complete wrap-up click on College Comedy Championship.
16 Teams: All Against One & One Against All
It is now time for the 1st annual College Comedy Championship! 16 teams from 13 universities are ready for comedy battle on November 2-4 @ Columbia College Chicago and Loyola University Chicago. This is what the 16 teams are playing for: the College Comedy Championship Trophy Cup, the National Title, and $1,500 for 1st Place!
For complete information including team bios, team listings, team photos, and the tournament bracket, click College Comedy Championship.
OSTN-TV, the cable television partner of CIF Productions upcoming College Comedy Championship, today announced that it will give the top four teams cash prizes. The 1st place team will win $1,500, the 2nd place team will win $500, the 3rd place team will win $250, and the 4th place team will win $250. For more information click on College Comedy Championship.
Group photos from Teen Comedy Fest's first festival, as well as praise from directors and parents about the TCF is now posted on the Teen Comedy Fest home page!
To see photos of Cornwallis, Double Play, and Planet Terrance from their shows during the ATC weekend, or to read a blog about the weekend click on Special Events.
CIF Productions' 2007-2008 Season
Chicago Improv Festival use to only be an annual week-long event in the spring, but starting this year Chicago Improv Festival Productions is producing it's first ever season, with events, outreach, and programming, from October '07-August '08.
For the last two years, since becoming a not-for-profit organization, CIF has successfully toured year-round educational outreach programs that featured performances and workshops through out the Chicago area. Additionally, last year for the first time, CIF presented performances at the Beverly Arts Center, the Improv Playhouse, Live Bait Theatre, and the CIF Improv Awards at the Annoyance Theatre.
Since all of these events and programs experienced success, it was a natural step to create a full Chicago Improv Festival Productions season of events, festivals, and programs. Listed below is the complete schedule for October '07-August '08.
October 12-14, 2007: Theatre Collaboration Performances
Chicago Improv Festival Productions co-presents Theatre Collaboration Workshop participants Cornwallis, Double Play and Planet Terrance @ Around The Coyote Fall Arts Festival. For more information, ensemble bios and photos, and a complete performance schedule click on Special Events.
October 19-21, 2007: Teen Comedy Fest
Chicago Improv Festival Productions presents the 1st annual Teen Comedy Fest @ Chicago Park District's South Shore Cultural Center. For more information, ensemble bios and photos, and a complete performance schedule click on Teen Comedy Fest. Teen Comedy Fest also has a myspace page TCF Myspace.
November 2-4, 2007: College Comedy Championship
Chicago Improv Festival Productions presents the 1st annual College Comedy Championship @ Columbia College Chicago and Loyola University. For more information, ensemble bios and photos, and a complete performance schedule click on College Comedy Championship. College Comedy Championship also has a myspace page CCC Myspace.
November 17, 2007: Best Of CIF
Chicago Improv Festival Productions presents the CIF All-Stars & Baby Wants Candy @ Beverly Arts Center.
January 10-February 3, 2008: Storybox
Chicago Improv Festival Productions co-presents Storybox @ Piven Theatre in Evanston, IL.
January 11-12, 2008: Illinois All-State Improv Team
Chicago Improv Festival Productions co-presents the 1st annual All Fest Improv Team @ Illinois High School Theatre Fest.
February 1, 2008: Comedy College Championship Telecast
February 8, 2008: Ice Fishing with BASSPROV
Chicago Improv Festival Productions presents Ice Fishing with BASSPROV @ Beverly Arts Center.
April 25-26, 2008: CIF Preview
Chicago Improv Festival Productions presents a weekend long CIF Preview featuring 10 Chicago acts and ensembles at The Second City Skybox.
June 2-8, 2008: CHICAGO IMPROV FESTIVAL
Chicago Improv Festival Productions presents the 11th annual Chicago Improv Festival, with CIF's Main Stage @ Lakeshore Theater. Other CIF venues include Annoyance Theater, Chemically Imbalanced Comedy, ComedySportz Chicago, Gorilla Tango Theater, IO Comedy Theater, The Playground, The Second City ETC, and The Second City Skybox. For more information including parties, workshops, and all other updates, click on Chicago Improv Festival. CIF also has a CIF Myspace page.
June 27-August 5, 2008: SUMMER THEATER CAMP
Chicago Improv Festival Productions' 3rd annual Summer Theatre Camp @ Chicago Park District's Ridge Park.
August 15-16, 2008: TEEN COMEDY FEST
Chicago Improv Festival Productions presents the 2nd annual Teen Comedy Fest @ Chicago Park District's South Shore Cultural Center. For more information or to register, click on Teen Comedy Fest. TCF also has a TCF Myspace page.