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History of ImprovBoston
In 1982, Ellen Holbrook, a former student of Chicago’s famed Second City, put together the first incarnation of ImprovBoston. At first, she trained several loosely knit teams of improvisers to compete in the “Improv Olympics” at Reilly’s Beef and Pub in Boston by Government Center. They soon moved performances to Satch's, a nightclub behind Copley Square, owned by former Boston Celtic, Satch Sanders. Eventually the Improv Olympic format was dropped and replaced by the unified group known today as ImprovBoston. In 1984, ImprovBoston began performing at Ryles in Inman Square in Cambridge, and the local press responded with the first of a long string of rave reviews.
After ImprovBoston had performed at clubs and theaters around Cambridge and Boston for nearly a decade, then Artistic Director Nancy Walker decided it was time to settle down. In 1993, ImprovBoston acquired the lease on the Back Alley Theater in Inman Square, the intimate space that would become home for many years. The next year, ImprovBoston began to expand its schedule of performances, opening the official Boston franchise of the international TheatreSports league. In 1997, former cast member Ron Jones became Artistic Director, and expanded ImprovBoston’s role as a theatrical incubator, hatching the Boston premieres of Sitcom (1998) and Musical! The Musical (1999). In 2000, former cast member Will Luera took the reins as Artistic Director and raised the bar with cutting-edge shows and festivals like Women in Comedy Festival, GoreFest, This Improvised Life, Oceans 2, Atreus Inc. and Mysteries of the Universe Explained.
In 2007, having outgrown its Inman Square space under the leadership of Luera and then Managing Director Elyse Schuerman, ImprovBoston began looking for a new home. In late 2007, they found it: a former asian grocery store on Prospect Street near the corner of Mass Ave. It had everything the theater could dream of: room for a real lobby and a second performing area, a location close to the T and space enough to open a bar! ImprovBoston began its first ever Capital Campaign, and raised over $100,000 to complete the initial construction on our new space. ImprovBoston opened a new Central Square home on February 25, 2008 with an expanded programming schedule of shows and classes.
Today, under the leadership of Artistic Director Mike Descoteaux and Managing Director Tom Spataro, ImprovBoston continues to bring Boston's Best comedy to audiences year round. With over 20 shows per week, and an annual enrollment of nearly 2000 students in our Comedy School, ImprovBoston is New England's biggest and best comedy theater and training ground.
For more information, read the ImprovBoston Wikipedia page