Memorizing lines for a play can be difficult enough, but jumping onto a stage without directions or a planned script takes a different set of skills.
Improvisation, or improv, requires the ability to take audience suggestions and build a spontaneous performance based on chemistry with fellow actors and with audience members -- and it's about to get a new, permanent home in central Phoenix.
The local actors of the improv collective The Torch Theatre have hosted shows at local venues including Space 55 and The Trunk Space for the past 4 years, but beginning on July 15, the group will perform regularly in its own space at 4721 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix.
The theater opening is a milestone for the group of actors (a few of which have performed improv for decades). And while the physical theater is very exciting for the actors themselves, they say they're really looking forward to the impact it will have on the community.
"The Torch isn't our theater," says Torch founder and improviser Bill Binder. "It's everyone's theater. We want it to be a place where actors and artists and anyone else can find their voice."
The theater will serve as a venue for both improv classes, which now include six levels of instruction, as well as performances by Torch troupes, who organize the annual Phoenix Improv Festival.
The official grand opening weekend starts July 15, but if you want to catch a sneak preview of the venue and the troupe, you can check out their website for a series of pre-opening preview shows.
Starting July 15, there will be shows at 7, 8:30, and 10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday. The troupe will also be preparing for its annual Cerberus Cup improv tournament on the final weekend of July, when nine teams of three people each compete for audience votes to be crowned champions.
"We've worked really hard to make the new Torch Theatre space welcoming and to give it a fun touch," says Torch founder and improviser Jacque Arend. " We can't wait to bring in Phoenicians who are constantly looking for arts, culture and creativity in our city."
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