IMP has returned from two sold out shows at the Chicago Improv Festival and is showcasing their show this weekend back on the Vineyard. The troupe was the only teen group selected to perform at the festival in the city noted as the improv capital of the country. Johnathan Pitts, executive director of the Chicago festival, called the Island group “one of the best troupes in the country.”
The IMPers will perform at home in their new space at the Base, the cabaret performance space in Alex’s Place at the YMCA on Saturday, April 27, beginning at 8 p.m. IMP and Alex’s Place are collaborating to give the troupe a regular performance space and Saturday’s show will be a preview to what will take place Thursday nights all summer long.
All of the teens at IMP began performing at a young age, some during kindergarten. Long-time improv actor Ashley Girard is 19 and began classes with director Donna Swift as a middle schooler. She said the experience in Chicago validated the efforts of the troupe.
“Myself and the rest of the IMPers have been working hard and artistically growing together for years,” Ashley said. “We’ve shown Martha’s Vineyard our love and commitment to the craft and we were proud to show that same love to the improv capitol of the world.”
The youngest member of the IMPers is 13-year-old Eva Wilson and for her, the trip to the Chicago festival was a reminder of improv as art.
“Improv is not just character, relationship, object,” Eva said. “It’s about changing your body so you no longer identify as yourself. It’s about trusting that your scene partner is there for you. It’s about not thinking. It’s about trust and about working together.”
Advanced tickets for the Island celebration performance are $7 and are available from any IMPer or at Alex’s Place. Tickets will also be sold at the door the night of the performance for $12. More information about IMP is available at imp4kids.com or by calling 508-939-9368.