Please note: Ventura Improv Company is no longer at Palm Street, but is still performing and teaching in Ventura. Find out more here.
Mission: Ventura Improv Company exists to enrich people’s lives through improv theatre, and to nurture local talent and the cultural life of Ventura.
In 1989, Barbara Scott from Bay Area TheatreSports™ came to Ventura County to visit her mother and, while here, put on an improv workshop. The attendees included Gary Best and Tom Mueller, who considered the workshop “a revelation,” and went on to form a local TheatreSports™ league. In the two decades since then, that league grew up to be Ventura Improv Company (VIC).
VIC offers regular comedy improv shows and workshops throughout the year. As of January 2017, the Ventura Improv Company will no longer be at 34 North Palm Street. See the calendar for more information about show and workshop locations!
VIC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Tom Mueller, co-founder of Ventura Improv Company, interviewed by George Alger for the Our Ventura program in May 2015. Check it out! Tom does a great job of describing improv and its benefits. [direct link]
For the Media
Access VIC’s Media page to download logos, photos and more.
Tickets & Reservations
Please note that after January 2017, tickets will not be available for pre-purchase online and will be available for purchase at the box office the night of the show at various venues in Ventura.
Our shows are a fast-paced mix of short-form scenes, games and music — and always a good time! Shows occur at various Ventura venues. Our schedule is updated regularly with our full menu of shows, workshops, special events and more.
Shows typically last about 1 hour, 45 minutes.
VIC performs many improvisational formats and special shows including:
- TheatreSports™ Team Match Two teams are asked to perform the same challenge given by the show’s host. Examples of challenges: use the audience, scene with a moral, employ a verbal restriction. A panel of three judges rate the individual scenes between one (worst) to five (best), holding up Olympic-style cards. The team with the highest score at the end of the night is the winner.
- Maestro™, AKA Last Improviser Standing Each player is assigned a number. The show’s director then selects numbers at random, and asks the players to perform an improv scene or game. The audience then votes on the scene, clapping for a number between one (worst) and five (best). Throughout the performance, the lowest-ranked players are eliminated until one winning improviser, the Maestro, remains standing.
- Spontaneous Broadway® The audience acts as potential funders for a Broadway show. In the first half, players “audition” a song from their improvised musical. Audience members supply made-up song or show titles, which the players use to for inspiration. The audience then votes on the show they’d like to see in its full length. The long-form, Broadway-style musical is then performed after the break.
- Tournaments Multiple-week series that have run on Fridays. Ventura Improv Company believes that participating in performances is a key part of the improv student’s development. These tournaments allow performers of all levels to showcase their talents and gain valuable experience.
- New Year’s Eve This popular, family-friendly event starts early and ends by 10:30pm, so guests can party on elsewhere or beat the crowds home. The evening includes a sumptuous appetizer and dessert buffet, a comedy improv show, silent auction of fabulous prizes, and champagne toast.
- Labor Day Weekend Improv Festival Three days and nights of improv and fun, featuring special performers and shows.
Find out more about our full menu of improv and acting classes on our workshops page.
About Comedy Improv and TheatreSports™
Our regular shows generally feature short-form comedy improv, although we sometimes feature other formats, including long-form. The VIC has a long-standing tradition of performing TheatreSports™ — improvisational theatre staged as a competition. Improvisors — or players — perform scenes and are rated by the audience, adding to the excitement and fun of the evening. TheatreSports™ is an international organization, with chapters in many countries; Ventura’s group began in 1989. See our resources page for more in-depth information about improv and TheatreSports™.
Keith Johnstone, the founder of TheatreSports™, has been involved in improvisational theatre since the mid-1950s and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in this field. Keith found a way to inject into theatre the same kind of excitement that audiences experience at sporting events. This involves a change in the relationship between the players and the audience, breaking down the formalities of traditional theatre by encouraging spectators to cheer, boo, and become involved in the creative act by fueling scenes with suggestions. The players have in common a love of improvisation, the point of which, in the words of Keith Johnstone, is “to create a feeling of benevolence in the audience.”