Founder’s Message

cincinnati comedy

It’s already 2019!? These years really do keep going faster and faster.

We wanted to take a moment to reflect on the year that was, as well as to give a few ideas of what’s to come.

A few fond memories from 2018:

  • Clifton Players allow IC to use Clifton Performance Theatre full time!!

  • Massive IC community turnout to walk aside Ferris Bueller-themed float in the Northside 4th of July Parade

  • New students team program. These allow Core Curriculum graduates the opportunity to play on a coached improv ensemble and perform at IC shows.

  • Performances in the Dam Good Improv Festival and Improv Festival of Cincinnati

  • Creation of Diversity Scholarship funded by showcase proceeds and donations. The scholarship provides additional opportunities for individuals with unique voices and perspectives to take improv class.

  • Impact!

    • 45 classes

    • 148 students took Improv 101: Fundamentals (formerly Level 1)

    • 35 students completed Improv 501 (formerly Level 5), thus graduating from IC’s Core Curriculum

    • 51 shows and nearly 2000 attendees

    • 9 Diversity Scholarships awarded

The Community in Action…

We also refined our values this year. And while values are nice, they’re nothing without action. Naturally, the IC community really stepped up to model them:

Embodying Yes And:
When Clifton Performance Theatre became IC’s new full-time home (thank you, Clifton Players!), the IC community STEPPED UP! Countless volunteers helped pack and move existing costumes, set pieces and props to Clifton Players’ new home. Sean Dillon led an effort to paint the back room and even provided the paint. New shelves and organization systems were installed. The bar was relocated and spiffed up. Sparkling lights now adorn the performance space. Heck, someone even donated the money to buy new LED color-enhanced lights! We are flabbergasted!!

IC’s House Managers are a delight! Not only do they recruit and manage volunteers, make sure show attendees are warmly greeted and served, and take care of the myriad show prep and clean up activities – they do it voluntarily! Furthermore, they’re always finding new ways to do it more effectively! We are the luckiest!

It seems every time we turn around Nathan Mendel is volunteering more time for IC. He has put in 30+ hours to program a custom class registration system for our website – and also has put in the time and research necessary to help us add and upgrade the theater’s equipment. What a guy!

Thank you to everyone who embodies a Yes, And mindset – and extra special shout outs to Sean Dillon, Cait Riley, Erica Bauman, Nathan Mendel, Mary O’Connell, Tone Branson, and our anonymous LED lights donor!

Fostering a fun, inclusive, and friendly community filled with meaningful and supportive relationships:
Sean Dillon’s monthly Mixer exemplifies this value in every way. Everyone feels welcome, included, and safe, and Sean carefully curates the themes and games in a way that helps blend novice and experienced improvisers without either group feeling outside their skill level. We’re also excited to see the game nights, D&D groups, and karaoke nights that have popped up. The community is easily our favorite part of IC, and we can’t wait to see how we grow and support one another in 2019.

Equipping students and performers with the skills to succeed, the opportunities to try, and the freedom to fail:
We may be an improv theatre, but our scripted seasonal shows are outstanding! Tom Schmidlin and Ed Osterman’s Hogwarts parody “Luna” (directed by Cait Riley) was hilarious and wonderful. Mary O’Connell’s spectacular “Twi-Lit Zone” was deliciously weird and stylish, and sold out well before opening night. Both production casts were jam-packed with IC students. It’s our hope they grew artistically and had experiences as unforgettable as their performances.

In 2018, we were also lucky to welcome legendary improvisers, Matt Donnelly and Rich Talarico. Each taught terrific workshops and were hosted by our friends at Rebel Pilgrim.

Improving our theater, our community, our state, our country, and our world:
We’ve mentioned all the work that has gone into CPT, but did you know about Colette Lindemann’s community service group “Improv(e) Cincinnati”? They’ve already volunteered at Freestore Foodbank, made scarves for people in need, and distributed food for Community Matters. We’re excited to see what they’ll do next...

Looking Ahead

We have a bunch of cool things planned for 2019:

Second City Workshops - In January, we welcome our friends at Second City Tourco who will have a month-long residency at Playhouse in the Park. The cast will offer exclusive workshops to IC: “Creating Original Works with Improv, Freestyle Poetry, and Spoken Word” with Asia Martin and Terrence Carey and “Staying Grounded In Your Insanity” with Chuck Normant.

Regular performance schedules are being created and will be implemented in January. This will allow all student and house teams to have recurring predictable schedules. For instance, Veracity (improv inspired by true stories) will perform the third week of every month and Hot Mic (full length improvised musical) will perform the fourth week of every month. Find out more on IC’s calendar soon.

Meeting days - In 2019 we’ll be consolidating auditions and several meetings onto key days. The first is Sunday March 3. More info to come on this. Make plans to be there!

New scripted show - This summer expect a new musical parody of the Star Wars universe, which may or may not involve Ewoks. Tone Branson will direct and Tom Schmidlin and Edmund Osterman will again pen the script.

Additional theater improvements are planned, including a new audio system, a new projector, and a camera system to record shows.

Thank you

2018 reinforced yet again that Improv Cincinnati is more than just a theatre. It’s a community and home for lovable weirdos. We move into 2019 with a passion for great improv, a desire to improve people’s lives, and a love for the students and performers who make this place special. Thank you!


Jon and Colin