Event Details


February 19-22, 2015


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Finest City Improv, San Diego, CA

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Best of Fest Contest!

Vote for your favorite team of the festival!   Audience favorite is guaranteed a spot in the 2016 San Diego Improv Festival! (non-San Diego teams only)

Use #SDIFBestofFest #sdimprovfest @finestcityimprov to Instagram, Twitter (@finestcityimpro), or Facebook!

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Workshops are $35 with $30 early-bird pricing valid through January 1, 2015. They are each 2.5 hours long and are capped at 16 participants.


3 – 5:30

The Most Important Moment of your Life (or, be here, now) with Kelly Buttermore and Justin Peters SOLD OUT!
The most important moment of your life is happening between you and your scene partner right now. When we approach our scenework with that present-tense mindset, beautiful things can (and will!) happen. This workshop will teach you how to do just that …to take your time at the top of the scene, trust your initial choices, listen to each other, and establish the sorts of meaningful, emotional connections that will lead to more satisfying and fulfilling scenes. Improvisers, even those with many years of experience, have a tendency to make certain choices within a scene that take it out of the present tense. This workshop is geared towards helping intermediate/advanced improvisers focus on making offers that keep the scene in the here and now.

Funny Business with Amy Lisewski, Founder of Finest City ImprovFREE!
This is a brief presentation followed by a roundtable discussion for current and aspiring theatre owners, managers, and other professionals in the biz.  In less than three years Finest City Improv grew from a twice a month show at various temporary locations to a permanent space, over $200K in revenue a year, shows 4 nights per week, hundreds of students, and a rapidly growing corporate program.  Amy will share her strategies, obstacles, and best practices.  Bring your questions, experiences, and current issues to share and discuss the business of improvisation!


10 – 12:30

Simplify your Scenework with Jason Shotts - SOLD OUT!
Ever feel lost onstage? You “got in your head” and didn’t know what to do? Sounds like your’e working too hard.  Well use a few simple techniques that will help you breathe easy and start having fun again. Stop trying so hard and put up a scene you’re proud of.

Love the one you’re with Kelly Buttermore & Justin Peters SOLD OUT!
If most improv scenes were real life, most meetings with your boss would lead to your firing, the divorce rate would be 95%, and no one has ever, ever had a positive experience in a restaurant or retail store.But what if instead of choosing conflict, we chose love instead?Making a conscious choice to enjoy the company of and care deeply about your scene partner can be a much more interesting, rewarding and empowering choice that can only serve to enhance your scene and make it that much more fun to be in. We’ll run exercises to illustrate these points, and help improvisers focus on the things that bring them together, rather than those that drive them apart.

3 – 5:30

A Brave New World: How to Make a World in Your Improv (Theme Workshop) with Nick Armstrong - SOLD OUT!
In this exciting workshop, improvisers will learn how to create a whole new world. Defining the rules, developing memorable characters, finding the game, learning why everything needs to be important and have high stakes and discovering thematic ideas living inside this new planet. Improvisers will learn how to start discovering the bigger thematic picture of the show.

Start at the Start with Colleen Doyle - SOLD OUT!
This workshop will focus on making discoveries at the top of your scene to find the good stuff faster: relationship, POV, emotion. Let go of the burden of premise to make your scenes easier and more fun!

Our Thing & My Thing with Jason Shotts SOLD OUT!
Relationship goes deeper than “Doctor/Patient” or “Roommates”, so what’s OUR THING? Couple that with MY THING and you’ll never ask yourself “What’s next?” in a scene again.


9 – 11:30

Advanced Character and Scene Work with Jason Pardo SOLD OUT!
Stories are instructions for living. Strong, consistent characters make our stories believable. Fun, surprising characters make our stories memorable. Scenes are no different. Jason’s workshop focuses on how to put it all together to create strong characters that are fun to play, while building quality scenes that are fun to watch. Attendees should have intermediate improv experience or beyond.

12 – 2:30

From Moment One with Karen Graci SOLD OUT!
This workshop specifically focuses on how natural, honest choices from the very first moment in scenes lead to solid scene work.  Students learn how to build their confidence by tapping into the power of immediate physical, emotional, and vocal choices, and discover ways to create these organic starting points. This workshop challenges students to trust their instincts, all the while balancing character development, scenic relationships and game.

Clown for the Improviser with Joe Galan SOLD OUT!
Improvise through the eyes of a clown. Your body and mind send you an endless stream of impulses. The clown understands how to be vulnerable and act upon these momentary changes. In this course, you will learn to say yes to everything without exception. Through clown-work you begin to improvise with your physical and emotional body, and use it to discover your world in the moment. By listening to the audience, the clown abandons all of its pre-conceived ideas in order to follow its true instinctual drive, to play! This course takes the essential lessons of clown and shows how to apply these “rules” to make more physically bold and truthful improvisation.

Building Chemistry and Connection in Scenework with Kristen Tallon and Emily Fightmaster
As you grow in your improv career, one of the main keys to your success is the ability to play with anyone from any background, in any situation; whether it be that once-in-a-lifetime audition, an acting job you’ve been hired for, or even a class at a new theater. This is an intensive workshop for intermediate to advanced improvisers that will leave you with the tools to build and maintain chemistry and connection with your scene partner, no matter who they are.

3 – 5:30

Developing the Comedic Character with Andy Goldberg  - SOLD OUT!
You don’t have to constantly come up with funny, clever lines to be successful at Improv Comedy. Let your Characters do the heavy lifting. Develop memorable, reality based characters that are just funny because of their attitude, point of view and manner of speech – and the lines they speak will write themselves. Learn to “become” the character rather than “pretend” to be the character.

Emote Control with Rich Baker
Has your scene work become predictable or stale? If you’ve been improvising a while and find you’re running out of steam sometimes, it might be due to the fact that you’re not exercising your emotions. Musicians have instruments. Actors/improvisers have emotions. Funny phrases are great, but not always reliable. Well played emotions will always connect with an audience. This workshop forces you to test and push the limits of your emotions and will demonstrate how even the most bland dialogue can make for an interesting and hilarious scene if the emotion behind them is pointed and controlled. You’ll never feel at a loss during an improv scene again if you learn how to lean on your emotions rather than your cleverness. This class is geared toward experienced improvisers who want to take their scenework to the next level.

Parties and Jams!


Hey PAL-entine! We want to make sure that you are getting the most fun and warm welcome that we can offer you.  Will you be circling Yes, No or Maybe to our totally awesome dates that we planned for you while you’re here?

Discover your perfect scene partner – OPEN JAMS
Friday & Saturday 6pm – Theatre

What better way to make a friend than on the stage? Our open jams are your chance to get on stage in a low pressure situation to play with improvisers from all over the country! Just show up and hop on stage!

Lover’s Lounge
Friday and Saturday 6-11pm  (Louisiana Room)
The place to be if you don’t get into a show or just need to meet up with your team.  Grab a drink from our lobby bar then head right next door to hang in the lounge!

Find the Polo to your Marco at the Pool Party
Saturday 12:00-3:00pm – Lafayette Pool  $15 for non-hotel guests
Hey you bathing beauty, throw on your best suit and that SPF 70 and make your way down to the Lafayette pool for drinks, games and music by DJ Schrammy. In case of inclement weather, we will be hanging out in the lobby area of the Lafayette.

After parties!

Find a Foxy friend at the Red Fox Room
Friday 11:00pm – 2:00am – Red Fox Room
Nothing says love like a dark lit room, red vinyl seats, and a crooner at the piano. Come on by to the Red Fox Room, located right across the hall from FCI inside the hotel. We will be having a private party just for us to get in your ultimate mingling time!

Sing Away the Heartache at Gilly’s
Saturday 11:00pm-2:00am – Gilly’s Lounge
Love got ya down? Grab the karaoke mic and sing your best Whitney impression! This funky dive bar attracts all the best and most interesting San Diego locals, and it’s always a good time.

Carve your name on the love tree and sign each other’s yearbooks
Sunday February 22nd 10:00-11:00pm – Theatre
Time to exchange lockets and letterman jackets as we wrap up the 2015 San Diego Improv Festival! Join us in the theatre for a closing toast, group photo and good byes.

Tickets & Workshop Registration

All show blocks are $15 each.  ALL-ACCESS PASSES ARE SOLD OUT.

Festival performers:  For free stand-by tickets visit the box office 30 minutes prior to show block to receive a waiting list number.  If there are unsold seats, you will be admitted just before the start of the performance.  you must be in lobby when your number is called or your spot will be given to the next person in line.

Download a copy of the festival program (PDF).



The festival is at Finest City Improv, which is attached to the beautiful Lafayette Hotel in the North Park area of San Diego, CA.

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We are located on site at the Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club, and Bungalows.

Book your room for just $99 per night!  This rate is available only for festival attendees on Thursday through Sunday nights.  Availability is limited and only available up until January 27, 2015. To book call 619-296-2101 or email: colleen@lafayettehotelsd.com and mention that you are with the Improv Fest 2015 group.