April 27 - May 1, 2017

McPhetres Hall and

Hangar Ballroom

Juneau, Alaska

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The Alaska State Improv Festival depends strongly upon volunteer efforts and contributions. Your 100% tax-deductible gift will help AS IF! be a memorable event for audience and artists alike.

AS IF 2018 Workshops


ALL WORKSHOPS ARE AT MCPHETRES HALL (Instructor Bios follow Workshop Descriptions)




Friday, April 27, 9:30am - 12:30pm

Finding Strength in Vulnerability with Jonathan Pitts - $50


Openness on stage is a choice, a powerful choice that make any scene more grounded, intuitive and vital. In this workshop, the improv students will engage in three different exercises designed to develop and heighten their artistic and scenic openness.



Friday, April 27, 2:00pm - 5:00pm

Effortless Improv with Marcus Sams - $50


Quite often improvisers want to bring all the wonderful ideas they have into the scene all at once. This can make the scene more complicated, resulting in the audience watching the improvisers decide what the scene is about. The Fix: Use your feelings to navigate the scene instead of your brain! In this class we will learn how to get out of our own way and how to let the scene effortlessly emerge. We will work on presence, listening at a deeper level, and discerning the difference between the facts of the world and the assumptions in our head.



Saturday, April 28, 9:30am - 12:30pm

Scene Work - The Chicago Way with Jonathan Pitts - $50


Chicago is famous for grounded, honest, relationship based improvisation scene work that produces deep laughs and deep sighs as the audience is moved to both. This style of work requires acting, listening, openness, patience, and responding through a shared process of give and take. This workshop will feature a deep dive into this process of two person scene work that will bring improvisers discovery upon discovery. As those shared discoveries pile up, the improvised scene becomes deep, full and funny. It's the Chicago way.



Saturday, April 28, 2:00pm - 5:00pm

Shakespeare with Michael Robinson - $50


One of the most awe inspiring things in Improv is to watch Shakespeare improvised well.  For many of us, Shakespeare is intimidating, the language appears dense, poetic, archaic, and opaque.  In truth, it’s none of these things.  This workshop will demystify improvising Shakespeare using many of same techniques for acting Shakespeare as taught by the great Shakespeare master John Barton.  You’ll come out not only a better Shakespeare Improviser, but a better Shakespearean Actor as well.



Sunday, April 29, 9:30am - 12:30pm

Taking Care of the Now with Jonathan Pitts - $50


If you take care of the "now" in any improv scene, the future always shows up as a great scene. If you don't take care of the "now", the future never shows up and the scene spins into quicksand. Using a deeply intuitive scenic process learned from the late Martin DeMatt, one that focuses on listening and responding, the students learn how to take care of the "now" by becoming fully invested in it. They also learn how to let go of worries about where the scene is going and instead learn to understand where the scene is right now. 



Sunday, April 29, 2:00pm - 5:00pm

The Secret of Comedy: How the Truth Will Always Bring the Funny with Michael Robinson - $50


What makes people laugh is both disarmingly simple and yet, because of our lack of awareness of how we truly behave, tricky to master.  This workshop goes through the universal cross cultural principles that underlie comedy and gives participants a fun but challenging exercise that with diligent practice will make anyone a master of comedic acting, and also just make them a better actor and improviser, period.





Jonathan Pitts is an award-winning international improv theatre artist from Chicago. He's a creator, director, improviser, producer, and teacher. He’s also the Executive Director of Chicago Improv Productions. He co-founded the Chicago Improv Festival and produced it for 20 years. He created and produced the College Improv Tournament for 10 years. He created and produced the Chicago Podcast Festival for 2 years. He was Teen Comedy Fest’s producer for 7 years. He taught at The Second City for 16 years and is a contributing writer to their book on improvisation. For 3 consecutive years he was selected by New City magazine as one of "Chicago's Top 50 Theatre Players". He's taught in 9 countries and performed in over 1,250 improvised shows.


His teaching philosophy is to help every improviser become a more intuitive theatre artist and for them to engage artistic challenges with creativity, braveness, openness, a sense of exploration, and a sense of humor. 


Michael Robinson has been improvising professionally for 37 years.  He helped create several major improv companies, including the Vancouver Theatresports League (where for several years he performed weekly with Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles of 'Whose Line is it Anyway’.) The Improv Bandits, (winners of the Super Cage Match at the Chicago Improv Fest), and The Court Jesters (winner of the World Theatresports Championship and numerous national titles), New Zealand’s longest running professional improv company.  He has taught improvisers and actors in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, in London at the prestigious Actors Centre, where he taught professional actors from the National Theatre, and at the National Theatre Schools of New Zealand where he taught Rachel House (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) and Australia - where his students included many stars of New Zealand and Australia television and film, including Cate Blanchett. Outside of improv he has directed much theatre, including the original production of the iconic New Zealand hit ‘Bare’ and 8 Shakespeare productions, and has ten international awards for directing television, including a BAFTA for the BBC series 'Serious Arctic’. He has over 100 film and television acting credits, most recently for ‘Legends of Tomorrow'.  He has been the Character, Comedy, Improvisation and Sitcom teacher at the world renowned Vancouver Film School for the past 14 years.


His improvisation instruction eschews clowning and ‘being funny’ and empathizes bold and truthful characterization and detailed observation of natural human behaviour in the given circumstances.


Marcus Sams hails from San Francisco, Ca. where he is the artistic director of Moment Improv Theatre. He has performed improv since 2001, been in over 60 national improv festival shows, been taught by some of the greatest teachers of our time, and has taught hundreds of students from beginner to advanced levels. Marcus is a producer for the San Francisco Improv Festival, has taught for Endgames Improv, Leela, and at a multitude of improv festivals, as well as at the Hass School of Business, Electronic Arts, and Ebay. Marcus believes that improv skills are life skills, and that anyone can participate in this magical and transformative art form.

Marcus has a systematic and heart-centric approach to improv that breaks down improv concepts and delivers usable tools to the working player. Marcus was originally trained as a stage actor and brings this respect for stagecraft and training to the improv world. He believes that improv is not a crap-shoot and that once one learns the craft of improv, it frees them up to experience a deeper level of play.


More information about Marcus and Moment Improv Theatre can be found at http://momentimprov.com




96% of surveyed performers say AS IF exceeded or greatly exceeded their evpectations!


"Communication is excellent. By and far, I felt more taken care of at this festival than any other festival I've been to. That removes so much logistical stress, that I felt free to fully enjoy my time during the festival." - Zeke Blackwell (Sid)


"Your festival is the right size. And you all do a wonderful job of hosting and taking care of us in terms of both the improv and seeing the area." Ceej Allen (Franz & Dave, My Best Fiend)


")I love that it's small enough that everyone can hang out a bunch. Really awesome. You were also a fabulous host!" - Aden Kirschner (Manacle)


"Hospitality was amazing. Taking time out to show us around and have us over for dinner was way above and beyond expectations. Thank you." - Brian Agosta (ImprovBoston)




Our Town: Juneau, Alaska

Juneau maintains a small town feel, while featuring a vibrant artistic community, rich history, and world-class scenery.

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Our Improv: Since 2004

When a town of 30,000 hosts a festival like this, there has to be a story. Learn a little about our story and our improv.

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About Your Hosts

The AS IF! team is made up of people well versed in community theater with experience in hosting talent from outside Alaska.

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