The host: “For this next routine, we’ll need a location, a style of performance and, hmmm, the name of an established Hartford comedy ensemble.”
The crowd: “Spotlight Cinemas! Improv Comedy! Sea Tea Improv!”
“Very good. How about a few dates?”
“April 6! April 7! April 8! April 9!”
“Fine. We’ll take all of those.”
Sea Tea Improv has organized the fourth annual Hartford Improv Festival (April 6 to 9), and although the company has its own performance space now — the Sea Tea Comedy Theater on Asylum Street — the four-day festival will mostly remain at Spotlight Cinemas, 39 Front St. The troupe keeps its home base hopping, but also enjoys working at the spaces it has brought improv to regularly over the years. For example, The festival ends Sunday with one of Sea Tea’s regular free Sunday improv shows at City Steam Brewery, 942 Main St., Hartford.
Nearly 50 improv groups are involved, hailing from a dozen states, plus Canada. From Connecticut the groups include Albatross, Brain’s Song, Breakup Tattoo, Chomping at the Bit, The Golden Ratio, History of the Future, Horse Lincoln, KnucklePuck, Lady Business, Parachute, Piggy Got Owned, Romantic Baby, Robot Love, The Rumour Cauldron, Sea Tea Improv Ensemble, Sea Tea Improv Touring Company, SHED and Winnipeg.
Coming from New York City are Big Time, Carroll & Harris, Clown Boy, Future Wives, Gayle, Ghost Man on Third, Limboland, Los Profesores, My Privacy, RoboPop and Stevedore.
There are 16 separate hourlong shows in all, each featuring three of the groups listed above. There are three sets on Thursday night (starting at 7 p.m.), four on Friday (starting at 7 p.m.) and nine on Saturday (starting at 2 p.m.) The festival also includes comedy workshops, “drop-in jams” and the concluding free City Steam throwdown. Tickets are $10 for a single show, $20 for Thursday only, $30 for Friday only, $70 for Saturday only or $99 for the entire festival. A…