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Sea Tea Improv Brings Affordable Comedic Entertainment to Hartford Area

By Elisha Neubauer

When seven friends got together to take an improv class at Hartford Stage, they had no idea how badly they'd be bitten by the theater bug. But bite it did, and shortly after the gang began to grow their improv team bit by bit. The group launched a teaching studio aimed at helping other improv teams across the Hartford area and then it hit them. Why not open a proper improv theater?

Sea Tea Improv Comedy Theater is the brain-child of that brilliant idea. The theater is the first of its kind (fully improvisational) in Hartford history. It offers a variety of shows, including "Whose Line is it, Anyway"-style games, fully improvised plays designed after a single word given from the audience, and even improvised musicals. The shows range from family friendly to Adults only, R-rated material. But, one thing is for sure, the lineup is always wallet-friendly, costing anywhere from only $5 to a mere $15.

"We also do some sketch and stand-up," explains Julia Pistell, managing director of Sea Tea Improv. "We really try to do it all! But it's always funny, it's always risk-taking, and it's always affordable."

In addition to giving Hartford residents the chance to see fully-improvised shows, the company offers classes on-site for those looking to join the improv actor ranks or those who are just looking for something fun to do instead of the same old, same old. These include special weekend workshops and regularly based comedy workshop classes. Each course is taught by a member of the Sea Tea Improv troupe and each instructor has completed an improv training program through a world-renowned comedic improvisation theater.

"Most people think that improv is only for people who are already funny," states Pistell. "Like the class clowns, the office prankster, the life of the party." Pistell and the other members of the Sea Tea Improv Comedy Theater want people to know that's simply not true. She tells us that there are many benefits to improvisational acting. Participating in a workshop or class can make you more flexible, more confident, and more relaxed when put under pressure. "Most of all, it makes you a better listener and teammate," she says.

For those who seem scared to make that jump, Pistell assures us that it's easier than it sounds. "The hardest part is taking that first step," she says. One thing we've learned from talking to Pistell is that, when it comes to improv, it's not about being the funniest?but rather, being the best teammate you can be.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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