Fri & Sat 10:30pm $15
Theatresports has been going strong since 1983. Two teams battle it out in the #1 comedy improv showdown scored by a panel of judges.
Seattle TheatresportsTM is fully improvised: we make it all up on the spot, using suggestions from the audience as a jumping-off point. We work hard to focus on story, narrative, technical game-playing, and comedy. 'Blue' humor is easy, and we take our improv too seriously to take the easy way out.
Occasionally, audience members shout out off-color suggestions, but if we take them, we challenge ourselves to use the suggestion in a creative and intelligent manner.
Each night the two most valuable audience suggestions will win prizes and/or free passes to another show! The best suggestions are usually honest answers that come from our audiences lives, so don't be afraid to speak up!
TheatresportsTM was developed Keith Johnstone, first in England and then in Calgary. It began as a formal performance mechanism for a series of improvisational exercises for London's Royal Court theatre.
"Its aim was to help playwrights overcome writer's block by short-circuiting our natural tendency to edit ourselves. While self-editing is an important tool for getting through life, it can cripple the creative process. Johnstone's exercises constantly sought to trick the mind out of its habitual dulling of the world." [Johnstone, Impro, page 32]
In 1976, Keith Johnstone and a group of his students formed the Secret Impro Group to perform noon-hour shows at the University of Calgary. The following summer they regrouped to form The Loose Moose Theatre Company. Since then, Theatresports has spread to over 22 countries.
Johnstone created TheatresportsTM as a response to two main concerns. The first was the audience. Why, he wondered, did things like sporting events draw so well while theaters were half empty? Could it be that the connotations of "culture" kept people away? People would go to a football game without knowing beforehand if it would be a good game; they were, however, assured of excitement and the opportunity to participate, to vocalize, and to invest something of themselves in the event and the outcome. Keith would speak of envying the "passion" of a sports audience. The goal, and the result, of Theatresports is to attract people who wouldn't normally go to the theatre. Johnstone was also concerned about the performers. He wanted Theatresports to provide training for improvisation. It would help in recruiting new performers, and its structure would allow for a greater number of participants.
When The Seattle Theatresports League was founded, this innovative Improv format was being performed in a few cities in Canada, the UK, and Australia. The Seattle League was the first company in the United States to perform Theatresports.
For several years, the Seattle group performed at different venues, including Swannie's Comedy Underground, the Pioneer Square Theater, the Group Theatre at the Ethnic Cultural Center, and the Intiman Playhouse, gathering a following along the way.
By 1988, The Seattle Theatresports League began producing and performing another show: Cream of Wit. The focus of Cream of Wit has been the exploration of longer forms of improvisation in a non-competitive setting. The improvisors in the company wanted to move into new and different theatrical formats, including producing and writing full length shows.
"We wanted to continue the success of Theatresports, but grow creatively in other forms. The company began teaching improvisation to interested students, some of whom gained the skills to join the company." [Artistic Director Randy Dixon]
In 1998, The Seattle Theatresports League became officially known as Unexpected Productions, a theatre company which would produce improvised, scripted, and live shows, in addition to Theatresports. Additionally, The company sought to find a permanent home to produce shows on a seasonal basis. In June 1991, Unexpected Productions acquired the lease to the Market Theater in the historic Pike Place Market, which has been our mainstage ever since.