2016 Poster

GRAND RAPIDS IMPROV FESTIVAL FUN. Join us for 8 days of shows, workshops, bar hops, jams, and interactive kids workshops!




THIS IS NOT A DRILL, GRIF 2016 is only 6 days away!!!

Head over and check out the schedule so you know what shows you want to see!

When you’ve picked what you want to see you can go and BUY YOUR TICKETS!

What’s that? You want to see them all? You smart cookie, you. You should probably get the ALL ACCESS PASS!

But watching is only half the fun. Why not challenge your neurons to learn something new at one of our WORKSHOPS!


Get ready Grand Rapids, GRIF will be at a Dog Story Theater near you momentarily!


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!

It’s Happening!

We are less than a month away from the start of the Grand Rapids Improv Festival! Applications have been submitted and the schedule is being finalized. We are so happy to have had SO many troupes apply, both local and out of town, and can’t wait for everyone to showcase their talent this year. Here’s a little sneak peak of what the schedule is so that everyone can plan ahead:

Monday Oct. 17: A Comedy Outlet Monday (COM) sampler platter. This will be a regular COM, except instead of one or two acts we’re going to have a GRIF sampler platter. 5 troupes will each have a 10 minute set to promote their longer GRIF show. If you like what you see you can make a note and be sure to catch them again during GRIF.

Tuesday Oct. 18: We have two awesome shows this night! One is at 7pm and the other is at 9pm. Each show will have three troupes performing. All shows will be at Dog Story Theater

Wednesday Oct. 19: We have ANOTHER two awesome shows this evening, again at 7pm and 9pm at Dog Story Theater.

Thursday Oct. 20: It’s the DOWNTOWN IMPROV HOP!! Everyone’s favorite improv show and bar crawl will be happening this evening from 7-11pm. It will be three different local bars and each bar will have drink specials and appetizers provided for GRIF participants. But what three bars will we be going to? I guess you’ll just have to hop to it to find out!

Friday Oct. 21: We have two shows this evening at 7pm and 9pm. In addition we will also be hosting IMPROV CHAOS, a fun evening for everyone to get involved in GRIF even if you aren’t a part of a troupe. In Improv Chaos you get put into a group and together you have to solve challenges and create new improv games, and at the end there’s a performance for the participants. If this sounds like something you’d like to do you can fill out the application HERE

Saturday Oct. 22: This is a jam packed day! In the morning will we be having three workshops (which will be announced soon) and they will be taking place at Dog Story Theater. Then in the evening we will have three shows, at 4:30pm, 7pm and 9:30pm. The end of the night will conclude with a party for all of the troupes!

Sunday Oct. 23: We will have two shows this day with a break in between. The first show will be an all ages/family friendly show at 10 am. Around 12 we will have everyone’s favorite meal…BRUNCH! Whoever heard of an improv brunch? We hadn’t either, so we made one. In the afternoon at 3pm will be another show.

Monday Oct. 24: Say it aint so! This is the last day of GRIF and we will be hosting another sampler platter at COM to highlight some of our GRIF participants. If you missed someone you wanted to see maybe they will do an encore presentation this evening.

There you have it! Check the schedule, mark your calendars and get ready for some laughs. GRIF 2016 is around the corner!

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.

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:

GRIF Public Service Announcement

We’d like to thank Grand Rapids TV for allowing us to put together this very important Public Service Announcement

Events and Workshops!

Completes list of all the events and workshops GRIF has to offer is now online!
TWO new menus have been added to the top of the page…

GRIF Menu links Screen Shot 2

Click and follow those links for all the information you need.

And if you still crave MORE information,
check us out on Facebook at fb.com/grandrapidsimprovfestival
and browse for tickets at dogstorytheater.com