Tag Archives: Hartford Improv Festival

The Hartford Improv Festival – This Weekend!

To any Annual fans in Connecticut (or surrounding areas), be sure to check out The Hartford Improv Festival this weekend. It’s being put together by Sea Tea Improv who we covered in a three part oral history. Find out all you need to know below:

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On March 27th – 29th at Spotlight Cinemas in downtown Hartford, Sea Tea Improv will bring back the Hartford Improv Festival for a second year. Last year’s festival drew crowds of hundreds throughout three days of improvisational comedy activities, as well as dozens of improvisers from around the country. Tickets can be purchased at www.hartfordimprov.com.

Sea Tea Improv is delighted to announce that performers will hail from all over the country. Teams from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, and California will be performing, along with twelve of Connecticut’s best improv teams. Selection this year was very competitive with nearly ninety troupes competing for forty-four performance slots. The performers this year represent the best the country and the state have to offer.

Connecticut is well-represented with not only Sea Tea Improv, but Parachute of  Conard High School, Purple Crayon of Yale, Horse Lincoln of UConn, The Great Make Believe Society of Middletown, Tick Tick Boom of Manchester, and Ad Hoc and Hot Garbage of Hartford. Connecticut’s growing improv community will demonstrate its talent throughout the weekend.

The Hartford Improv Festival (HIF) is Connecticut’s largest improv event of the year as Sea Tea Improv continues to establish Hartford as a hub for comedy at the national level. The Hartford Improv Festival is designed to attract local and national talent to Hartford and showcase the art of improv comedy. Now in its second year, the Hartford Improv Festival (HIF) is continuing to establish Hartford as a hub for comedy at the national level. Each day of the festival will consist of improv comedy performances featuring both local and national comedy talent as well as workshops and master classes.

The events this year include four workshops by improvisers from around the country (New York, Boston, Providence and Chicago), held at Sea Tea studios; dozens of improv shows; a Friday-night drop-in jam, a Saturday-night private party at Vaughan’s Public House, and a Sunday night wrap-up consisting of an improvised movie dubbing at Real Art Ways and a performance at City Steam Brewery.

Tickets can be purchased for single shows, whole days, or the entire festival. For a full schedule please visit www.hartfordimprov.com.

Most of the performances will take place at Spotlight Cinemas in downtown Hartford, where audience members can enjoy the full complement of food and drinks from the theater’s restaurant while watching comedy from across America. One entire movie theater will be given over to HIF comedy shows for the duration of the weekend.

Sea Tea Improv is dedicated to showcasing local businesses and talent to the teams and patrons attending the festival. Through post-festival surveys sent to performers and audience members, Sea Tea Improv can report that 70% of last year’s audience respondents and 90% of performers patronized one or more downtown restaurants while attending the festival, and many performers stayed overnight in hotels in the city.

HIF2015 is made possible through the generous support of Dr. Steven A. Fischman, D.D.S., Shall Be LLC, Bridge to Choice Coaching, and The Tobacco Shop in Downtown Hartford.  Sea Tea Improv is still accepting sponsors for the 2015 festival. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, please email comedy@seateaimprov.com.

Sea Tea Improv is an award-winning comedy company based in Hartford, Connecticut and serves students of all ages and experiences.Sea Tea Improv has performed hundreds of shows throughout Hartford, New England, and beyond for the past five years. Their mission is to bring the highest-quality comedy and improvisation to Connecticut, build upon the cultural offerings of Hartford, and lead a dedicated community of improvisers.

The Phoenix Moment: An Oral History of Sea Tea Improv Pt. 3 (Extended Edition)

An Oral History of Sea Tea Improv Pt. 3 (Extended Edition)

By Briana Haynie

In September of 2012, Sea Tea added five new members; Casey Grambo, Helena Morris, Briana Haynie, Jeffrey Schaefer and Zach Herring. As a whole they’re known as Generation 3. In addition to growing in numbers and in presence, Sea Tea was hired by The Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT to perform an interactive live game of Clue, using characters from Mark Twain’s books, inside the author’s historic home.

Soon after Gen 3 started, the company became proud owners of a studio on Pratt Street in Downtown Hartford. One of their proudest achievements yet; it was a major milestone for the company for now they not only could grow their education program but they could also offer up a home for the expanding improv community in Hartford.


JULIA PISTELL: On a certain level the moment I really realized we were getting into something bigger than I originally thought was when our friends, our personal friends, stopped coming to shows and all the shows were full of strangers.

KATE SIDLEY: I think a moment that really crystallized it for me was when we had our photo shoot this year and we recreated the original Sea Tea group photo of all of us walking up a street arm in arm. [This time] we were such a large group that we barely fit in the street and we joked that after our next generation we’re going to need to take a picture of us walking down the highway. That was a big shocking moment for me when I compared those two photos together and thought, “wow this is an army of comedians and how awesome to be a part of forming a comedy army.”

JULIA: I was recognized at CVS by my cashier and that was also, that was like one of the first times I’ve ever been recognized for anything, I was really surprised and until around that time I felt what we were doing was just a very small thing and I realized it was getting larger than I assumed it would.

DAN RUSSELL: The first time we got asked to be on the Colin McEnroe show, that was a big deal, that was pretty early on, that didn’t feel like we deserved it yet. And it wasn’t like it was just a show about improv and we were a guest; we were the topic of the show, the title was Sea Tea Improv and that felt like a big deal. Somebody had heard of us and I didn’t know who they were, it’s local radio but it still felt pretty big.

JOE LEONARDO: Right now it feels big and it doesn’t feel big at the same time. I’m just in a weird limbo where I go to Hartford and I feel accomplished and then I’m in New York City I feel like I’m not trying hard enough, like I’m not working hard enough.

LAURA MANASEWICH: I think probably the studio was a good visual for me to understand what we were. When I started, I wanted to be a part of playing all the time and for me that was what this was always going to be. I think that the realization of having a visual representation and a space to keep our stuff, a name and an address was really when I put it together, this is a big thing, this is bigger than it has been.

Continue reading The Phoenix Moment: An Oral History of Sea Tea Improv Pt. 3 (Extended Edition)