Expect the unexpected at the first District Improv Festival, kicking off Tuesday

The city has the Capital Fringe Festival, with its mix of one-man shows, oddballs and physical theater, and the e(merge) art fair, effectively a showcase for performance art. But this week will be the first major showcase of audience-driven, unscripted theater. The inaugural District Improv Festival, opening Tuesday, brings in troupes from the District, Baltimore, New York and as far away as Toronto and Austin, Texas, for six straight nights of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants theater.


Sarah Donnelly (left) and Greer Smith are part of the iMusical ensemble at the District Improv Festival. (Andrew Bossi)

The festival, which takes place at 14th Street theater hub Source, will showcase long-form improv. Think "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" with more of a character arc, says Dan Miller, one of the festival's board members. Every show will begin with a suggestion from the audience. "Everything from there," says Miller, "is unscripted and spontaneous." If you're curious, you have a chance to check out the festival without buying a ticket; admission to the opening night show, starting at 8:30 p.m. and featuring a handful of local troupes, is free.

After Tuesday night's free show, tickets for the festival's performances are $15 apiece; a festival pass is $40. The full schedule is below:

Tuesday
8:30-10 p.m.: The Word of God, Temporary Surcharge, Just Moxie, Press Play, Hot & Sweaty and Harold Night!

Wednesday
7:30-8:30 p.m.: Aboulia! Gus, Season Six
9:30-10:30 p.m.: Mason Improv Association, Jive Turkey, the Score

Thursday
8-9 p.m.: Sistine Robot, Population: 6, Dial M for Nasty
10-11 p.m.: The Lodge, Evan the Loyal, Commonwealth

Friday
8 p.m. Dr. Fantastic, Vox Pop, Hello Laser
10 p.m. Stranger, In Our Prime, ShawnMikael(s)

Saturday
6 p.m. Disco Taxi, Sea Tea Improv, iMusical
8 p.m. Weekend of Regret,  Aeropuerto, The Kristen & Amy Show
10 p.m. King Bee, the Armando Diaz Experience

Sunday
6 p.m. Mandudebro, Jimmy Fedora, Mr. Meaner
8 p.m. Singles Cruise, Haroldo Rivera, Nox

Lavanya Ramanathan is a features reporter for Style.

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Maura Judkis · September 23, 2013

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