Category Archives: Workshops


We are so excited to announce this year’s workshop series!

All workshops will take place Saturday October 22nd at Dog Story Theater. Mark your calendars and get ready to learn some new skills! Information on how to register coming soon

9:30 am to 12 pm: Make Your Own Improv taught by Pete Jacokes and James Quesada

About Pete and James:

Pete Jacokes has been teaching improv and sketch writing since 2001. He has taught for Second City, Detroit and Novi, Planet Ant Theatre and Go Comedy! Improv Theater. James Quesada has been teaching improv since 2012 teaching at Go Comedy! Improv Theater and Pointless Improv and Brewery. He has also coached forensics and Walled Lake Western High School since 2005.

About the workshop:

Make Your Own Improv – In this 3 hour workshop Pete Jacokes and James Quesada will teach you the ins and outs of creating long and short form improv. Using their experience having created almost 200 short form games and 2 dozen long form shows since 2014, to help you invent new and engaging short and/or long form improv, that you can take back to your home theaters and be show ready. Let’s make some games!


9:30 am to 12:30 pm: Make Short Form Your Form taught by Stefan Gearhart

About Stefan:

Stefan has been teaching improv for the better part of 10 years. He trained a number of improv troupes including Happy GAS Improv, NTX Comedy, Damaged Goods, Improv Anonymous, and Gracie Law Comedy. He has taught a number of improv workshops for Imagination Station Science Center, First Unitarian Church, Oldham County Library, Goodwill of Southern Indiana, Dr. Campbell Medical Offices, Destination Imagination, Kentucky Shakespeare, The Alley Theater, The Detroit Improv Festival, The Pittsburgh Comedy Festival, The Compass Improv Festival, and the Toledo Rep Theatre.

About the workshop:

Short Form: Two words plagued by stereotypes and surrounded by assumptions. Stereotypes, such as not being able to perform complete scenes, to it being the beginner’s improv. Short Form: Two words that tend to spark rolled eyes and instant dismissal if brought up within earshot of fellow improvisers. Short Form: Two words that can mean so much more than you ever imagined. In “Making Short Form Your Form”, Stefan Gearhart of Damaged Goods Improv challenges you to open your mind and realize the endless possibilities Short Form has to offer. Discover how Short Form can be just as gratifying as Long Form and what you can do to help yourself and your teammates reach that point. In this workshop, he’ll teach you how to break the stereotypes associated with Short Form, such as how to incorporate a beginning, middle and end to your scene, while staying true to the Short Form method. He’ll also teach you some of the secrets behind Damaged Goods’ signature high energy style, including show hosting and performance tips, along with ways to keep your audience begging for more!


12:30 to 3:30 pm: Have Guitar, Will Improvise taught by Nelson Velazquez

About Nelson:

Nelson is currently an improv instructor at Crown Point Community Theatre. He worked with the course instructor of Northwestern University’s class Topics in Theatre: Comedy’s Roots in Chicago Improv to present interactive practical application of improvisational concepts to non-improvising graduate students learning about the history of the art form. Founder and head musical director for Los Improviachis, the world’s only improvised mariachi band. 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.

About the Workshop:

Have you ever felt you’ve worked really hard with your partners to explore and heighten your scene and you feel like you have nowhere to go? Guess what? YOU DO! Go into song and let the laughs continue! This workshop will introduce the fundamentals of musical improv and how you can use basic musical direction & performance to take your scenes to a new level!

The Line Up

Want to see the full schedule for the festival without all of the full descriptions? Click on The Line Up at the top of the page to see the full run down. Click the link for each event to find tickets. It’s that easy.

Festival Pass!

(UPDATED 10/9/15: Corrected ticket links)

We’re very excited to introduce two festival passes, an all access show pass, and a workshop pass.

The All Access Show Pass gets you access to 12 separate improv shows featuring 28 improv troupes! You also get to experience the Downtown Improv Crawl on October 15th ($12.00 value), and Beyond the Laughter- a panel discussion on October 17th about using improv to provide healing and build community ($5.00 value). $60 per person. Please arrive 10 minutes early to claim your ticket for each show.


The All Access Workshop Pass lets you choose any three workshops to attend during the Grand Rapids Improv Festival. With twelve very different and engaging workshops to choose from, you are sure to get a lot of bang for your buck. You will also get access to Beyond the Laughter- a panel discussion on October 17th about using improv to provide healing and build community. $60 per person

Purchase the All Access SHOW Pass here:

Purchase the All Access WORKSHOP Pass here:

Workshop Proposals!

We’ve got them launched! Are you interested in teaching a workshop as part of GRIF? Check out the application HERE

All workshops for all levels of improv experience are welcome and will be considered! 

A few specific workshop slots available:

  • First time improvisers- an extreme basics class
  • Intro to Long Form (any type)
  • Intro to Musical Improv
  • Youth aged workshop
  • High school aged workshop
  • Specialty/niche workshop
  • Other

Compensation is available and will be determined based on experience, other applicants, workshop type, and availability of funds. For those looking to run a workshop, GRIF is willing to pay a predetermined sum or % of all tickets sold to the workshop you are putting on. If you have a preference please let us know in the ‘Anything else we should know’ section, otherwise we will finalize compensation during phase 2 of the selection process.