College Improv Tournament

A few months ago I wrote about a fundraiser for the College Improv Tournament, a national competition that pits over 100 college improv teams from around the country against each other to find the country's top young comedy group. Thanks in part to your generosity and that of their other sponsors; this year's CIT is shaping up to be the best they've ever had. And this weekend, it's in Chicago!

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January 12 and 13 mark the Windy City Regional, easily the most competitive of all the regional rounds of the College Improv Tournament. Last year's National Champion team, Columbia College's "Droppin' Science," will defend their title against teams from DePaul, UIC, Loyola, Wheaton and out-of-staters from Michigan and Indiana. The winner secures a spot in the National Finals in March.

The Tournament is one of my favorite Chicago improv productions, because it provides so much for the students. The pressure of competition pushes their performance skills. Watching other teams opens their eyes to forms and styles they have never seen before. And meeting fellow college improvisers can spark friendships and connections in their professional careers to come. And they will come.

Because of programs like the College Improv Tournament, college improv groups are now better informed and better trained than ever before. Students now leave their college groups with a wealth of performance experience that gives them a huge advantage when starting their comedy careers. SNL cast member, and Second City alum, Aidy Bryant, competed with her school's team in the first ever CIT six years ago. There are now 8 times as many teams, so if you're curious who the next comedy powerhouses will be, head to the Windy City Regional of the College Improv Tournament this weekend.

Because of the sheer volume of teams, the producers split the preliminary rounds of this weekend's Regional across two theatres on Saturday. Half the teams will compete at The pH Theatre in Andersonville, while the rest fight it out at The Playground Theatre in Lakeview. Saturday rounds are at 1 and 3pm. The top four teams will compete at The ComedySportz Theatre on Sunday at 3pm to determine who advances to the National Finals in March.