Event of the Week: Sarasota Improv Festival

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Suncoast is not only famous for its museums, its orchestra, opera, ballet and theatres. It's also well known for its outstanding comedy. And this weekend you'll see why.

The 2014 Sarasota Improv Festival is not a competition, it's a celebration of the improv art form.

"It's easily the best improv festival in the Southeast United States. And that's because it brings to town some of the best improv groups from all around the country,” says Billy Milec of 3rd Thought improve group.

Each troupe has its own special style. "Chicago is known for its slower styles, where they aren't looking to push something fast. Austin is known for its narrative styles, telling a really great story. And New York is very fast in general," says 3rd Thought’s Patrick McInnis.

He calls himself the metaphysical leader of his improv troupe from Tampa. They're the longest running show in Tampa, and this is their 4th year to attend the festival.

They'll be presenting long-form improv.

"You'll see more shorter games, similar to ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway.’ And then with other groups you might see a full one-act play based off of a word suggestion," says actor Chris Friday.

The festival will also include classes and workshops, and a lot of talk about what makes improv work. "The secret of improv is not to try to be funny to just go in with your mind completely blank."

Two days of hilarious, high energy comedy; and you're invited to see it all. The best deal is to get a 10-play weekend pass, so you can go from one show to another.

It all happens this weekend at Florida Studio Theatre on July 11th and 12th. There are 16 different groups performing, and you're guaranteed to get a good laugh.