• New decade of laugher at Manila Improv Festival

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    In celebration of its 11th year anniversary, the Silly People’s Improv Theater (SPIT) and the PETA Theater Center present the Manila Improv Festival 2013 from June 25 to 30.

    The theme for this year is “Follow Your Feet,” an improvisational theater concept which also ties in with the art form’s return to PETA—the group which first introduced improvisational theater to the country in the early 1970s.

    As SPIT takes on a new decade of laughter and innovation, the group decided to take a bolder step in sharing the art of improvisation to bigger audiences through the festival and its partnership with PETA Theater Center.

    Gabe Mercado, artistic director of the festival and founder of SPIT, describes the vision of the festival: “SPIT was founded back in June 2002, because I saw the need for a new kind of comedy—one that differed from the usual stand-up comedy routines that we are used to seeing on TV and comedy bars. Improv appealed to me because of its grounding on truth, the magic of spontaneity, and the fun that on-the-spot creation brings about. We hope events like these help build the improv community of the country and the region.”

    Being the country’s premiere improvisational theater group known for their smart and incisive brand of comedy, SPIT has represented the Philippines in numerous international events such as the prestigious Los Angeles Comedy Festival in 2004, and more recently, in the Hong Kong and Beijing Improv Festivals.

    Last year SPIT celebrated their 10-year anniversary as a group, and staged the 1st Manila International Improv Festival. The festival was an overwhelming success with sold-out performances at Quantum Café in Makati City.

    Furthermore, the exciting improv workshops held at the College of St. Benilde facilitated by renowned improv veterans Shaun Landry and Tom Farnan from Los Angeles, created a clamor for another festival. And since SPIT wanted to continue propagating improvisational theater in the Asean region, the group decided to do it again this year.

    The 2nd Manila International Improv Festival promises to create a new, fun, and exciting theater experience for improv enthusiasts and generally anyone who wants to have a good time and learn something new.

    The Manila Improv Festival 2013 will have six shows featuring the participating improv groups: People’s Liberation Improv and 3 Dudes Improv (Hongkong), Beijing Improv (Beijing), Taichung Improv (Taiwan), Xiamen Improv (Xiamen), Zmack (Shanghai), Pirates of Tokyo Bay (Tokyo) and Silly People’s Improv Theater (Manila).

    There will be one show each on June 26, 27, 28 and 30 (8 p.m.), while there will be two shows on June 29. Entrance for each show is P400, and will feature three improv groups for each set, performing a variety of long form and short form improvisational shows.

    All performances will be at the heart of the PETA Theater Center—at their “Black Box” performance space known as the PETA-PHINMA Theater. SPIT is excited to be exploring this new space with the theater’s flexible and intentionally skewed box theater that offers numerous stage and audience arrangements.

    During the festival, there will also be an Applied Improvisation Network Conference for HR and training professionals from June 25 and 26. Applied Improvisation takes the concepts of improv, and utilizes it in other fields, particularly in sharpening skills in innovation, creativity, presentation skills and leadership.

    The AIN conference will be led by Paul Jackson, one of the founders of the Applied Improvisation Network and its immediate past president, Kay Ross, a Hong Kong-based marketing consultant and coach and member of People’s Liberation Improv, and Curt Mabry who has been using improvisation in his work with Zmack Shanghai as well.

    A workshop for both master and aspiring improv actors will be conducted as well from June 28 to 30.

    For ticket inquiries, call Meann Espinosa at (632) 410-0822 local 14 to 15.2013

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