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Announcing the 2017 Workshop Lineup!

We are so excited to be bringing three new workshops to GRIF 2017! The workshops give improvisors of any experience level a chance to brush up on their skills and learn some new ones.  All workshops will be held Saturday, November 4th and are going to be taught by some amazing improv professionals. This year there won’t be any overlap in workshop times so those who want to attend all three will able to. Stay tuned for more information on buying tickets for individual workshops or a workshop pass which gets you into all three for a discounted price! Without further ado, here are the workshops offered this year:

Saturday 11/4 – 10 AM to 12 PM

Beyond Hamilton: A Musical Improv Workshop taught by Nelson Velazquez

Hip-hop has influenced everything from the radio to the TV to the big screen. It has also become part of the theatre scene as well! Learn the basics of what it takes to do improvised hip-hop from the streetz on up! We learn the fundamentals of building your rhyme catalog to putting together a cypher to going from scene into hip-hop in one dope workshop!

About Nelson:

Nelson is currently an improv instructor at Crown Point Community Theatre.  He is the founder and head musical director for Los Improviachis, the world’s only improvised mariachi band. He is responsible for directing/teaching/coaching both short-form & long-form musical improvisation from both the actors and musical directors point of view. He is a seasoned workshop leader, and has led workshops for a wide variety of people across the country.


Saturday 11/4 – 12 PM to 2 PM

Don’t Be Bulletproof taught by Jessica Landis

Improvisation means you can do, or be, anything. How do you make the “right” choice when there are infinite possibilities? This workshop will focus on making brave, interesting moves in your scenes that will surprise you and your audiences. Avoid the mundane! Never do the same date-at-a-restaurant scene again! Pick up the confidence that you will be okay no matter what happens next- and no matter who you are on stage with. As Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has said, being present in the moment can make you a better person and a better leader. Don’t you want to try it?

About Jessica:

Jessica has been teaching improvisational theater classes at theaters in Chicago for over 10 years, including Gorilla Tango (now under new management), One Group Mind, and Theatre Momentum. She has also taught at the Champaign-Urbana festival at SoDo Theater. In the past few years she has also taught workshops on demand for independent improv teams. Jessica has a degree in theater direction and has directed scripted and sketch shows at Stage 773, MCL, and the Annoyance Theater in Chicago.


Saturday 11/4 – 2 PM to 4 PM

The Mind of Character taught by Mike McGettigan

Find the nuance of character and allow it to work for you. Let go of you “actor” brain and let your character do the thinking. Students will be focused on finding their individual way into a character allowing them to develop realistic and honest characters that are as easy to transform into as putting on a hat.

About Mike:

Mike McGettigan acts as Planet Ant Training Center Director, Instructor and a resident member of the The Planet Ant Improv Colony Home Team. A former instructor and performer of the Second City Detroit, McGettigan has over twenty years of performance experience and eleven years of student-centered teaching practice including other prominent institutions like the Detroit Creativity Project, YArts and GoComedy. His extensive training includes instruction from improv luminaries Keegan Michael Key, Michael Gellman, Carla and Craig Cackowski, and many more. He has earned multiple awards for his writing, directing, and acting prowess and has spent time working alongside notable Detroiters such as Tim Robinson, Sam Richardson and Marc Evan Jackson. McGettigan specializes in focusing his students’ on the hilarious side effects of honesty, connection and character.



Wondering about Workshops?

Watching improv is great, and watching it at the Grand Rapids Improv Festival is even better, but sometimes you just want MORE. That’s why every GRIF we carefully put together a selection of workshops to help people learn and grow in their own improv journey! Most of our workshops are appropriate for beginners to veterans and each one focuses on a different aspect of improv. Do you have a workshop you might want to teach? Then apply HERE! Do you have a workshop you’d like to attend? Leave a suggestion in the comments below!

Some of our past workshop topics include short form game creation, musical improv, and more! Each workshop is taught by experienced improvisors and is a fun way to spend a Saturday morning whether you’re just looking for a few hours of fun or looking to build skills for your own improv resume.

If you’re an improvisor who still hasn’t applied to GRIF, do it now and get in on our July early bird submission pricing! APPLY HERE!


Today is the day! Submissions for GRIF17 are now open. Troupes, individuals and those interested in teaching a workshop can head HERE and apply!

Submissions open JULY 9th!!

Submissions are opening July 9th and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back to Grand Rapids! The GRIF organizers are busy behind the scenes making sure GRIF17 will be one to remember. Remember IMPROV CHAOS? It’s going to be even better! Remember our downtown bar crawl? This year it’s going to be EVEN BETTER!

Thank you to everyone who made the GRIFs of years past so successful! Come out and see what we have in store for this year.

GRIF 2017 is SIX MONTHS away!

GRIF17 is right around the corner! Ok, maybe not RIGHT around the corner, but like, down the block and around the corner. In any case, it’s coming and it’s time to get excited. Do you have a troupe that would like to perform? We can’t wait to have you! Are you an individual that doesn’t have a troupe but would still like to participate? Join our Improv Chaos event! Do you have a special skill that you think would enrich our festival goers? Sign up to teach a workshop! Do you just like to watch improv and drink? Plan to come along on the GRIF Improv Crawl! Submissions to participate are set to open in July. In the mean time, tell your friends, tell your troupe mates, and tell Siri to mark your calendar for GRIF 2017 – October 30 to November 6!

Stay tuned here, and on our Facebook page for all the updates!


GRIF brings you more than laughs! This year’s shirt is just $15 ($12 for performers) and features the GR skyline with all of our participating troupes, and of course our GRIF face. Tote bags also available for $7


Get excited!

Submit your applications now to be a part of GRIF 2016! We already have a ton of awesome shows lined up and want more. This means YOU! If you know things that other people need to know, then you should sign up to teach a workshop and share the wealth.

Find out more here!


Welcome to GRIF 2016

We’re just now coming down off of our high from GRIF 2015 and are ready to do it all again; bigger, better and even more hilarious! October seems far away now but there’s lots to be done and worker bees are behind the scenes to make sure this is going to be a not-to-miss event. Stayed tuned here for updates on how to apply to participate, the line up, and the many fun events that will be taking place.