Oct. 23--ArtsQuest, which purged three of the music festivals at its south Bethlehem SteelStacks campus last year in a cost-cutting move, has added a comedy festival to its schedule for next year, the nonprofit announced Tuesday.
The first SteelStacks Improv Comedy Festival, to be held at ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, will offer eight hours of performances Feb. 1 and comedy workshops Feb. 2.
Headlined by The Upright Citizens Brigade, a national improv company that has included some of the top comedy performers and writers in the country, the new festival will showcase a variety of short- and long-form improv groups from 4 p.m. Feb. 1 to 2 a.m. Feb. 2.
Tickets for the performance part of the festival are $24 for the general public, $20 for students and ArtsQuest members and $15 for groups of 50 or more. They will go on sale to ArtsQuest members at 10 a.m. Wednesday and to the public at 10 a.m. Friday at http://www.artsquest.org/comedy and 610-332-3378. Tickets will be $29 at the door.
In addition to the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company, the new festival will have improv groups from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, with performance spots filled through a jury process.
Improv troupes interested in performing at the festival should submit a performance resume and/or biography, as well as a video clip of a performance, to http://www.artsquest.org/comedy. All applications must be received by Dec. 6. Troupes selected for the festival will be notified by Dec. 13.
Upright Citizens Brigade also will teach two advanced long-form improv workshops Feb. 2. At 10 a.m., UCB will offer Advanced Harold, to fine-tune the approach to The Harold, the long-form improv structure. At 1:30 p.m. will be Character Workshop, which teaches students the important tools for playing deeper, more truthful characters.
Each workshop costs $35 for the public and $30 for ArtsQuest members. Individuals can register for the Character Workshop at http://www.artsquest.org/comedy or 610-332-3378. Anyone interested in the Advanced Harold workshop must submit an acting/improv resume to ArtsQuest Programming Manager for Cinema and Comedy Ryan Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those chosen for The Harold workshop will be notified by Jan. 17.
The Upright Citizens Brigade was founded by Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh. Its members have gone on to perform and write for TV shows "Saturday Night Live," "The Office," "30 Rock" and "Parks and Recreation," and many movies.
Among its alumni are Aziz Ansari, Bobby Moynihan and Horatio Sanz. The troupe was chosen "Hot Farm Team" by Rolling Stone magazine and "Best Comedy Club" by AOL, while the UCB Theatre in New York has won Time Out's Best Comedy Theater Award.
In December 2012, ArtsQuest announced that three of its six genre-specific festivals would not return for 2013, citing poor attendance. It said that Blast Furnace Blues, held in summer during its first two years, would return for a spring date in 2014.
Also eliminated were the Nowadays indie rock festival held in March 2012 for the first time and the SteelJam jam band festival held for the past two years. ArtsQuest has not said it will revive those.
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