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All About Comedy: Improv Fest Comes To Sarasota

Jul 14, 2016

The 8th annual Sarasota Improv Fest gets underway Thursday night at Florida Studio Theatre. Comedy troupes from across the U.S. and world are returning to Sarasota to perform and hold workshops.

That includes the New York-based North Coast Improv, which uses rapping, music and riffing in its performances.

Local stand-up comedian Natasha Samreny regularly performs at Florida Studio Theatre. She is also co-founder of the sketch comedy troupe Milennial Fresh in Sarasota. She said improv changed her life. 

"It gave me permission to take risks. Before that, I feel like I was sort of a person that needed a set of rules, I needed to ask permission and improv pushes you to be a child again and do stupid things and it lets you know that it's okay," Samreny said.

Samreny studied journalism and storytelling at the University of South Florida and Middle Eastern studies at University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and eventually turned to The Second City in Chicago to study improvisation, which she considers a different form of telling stories.

The three-day festival will feature performances and workshops including a musical improv workshop on Saturday. See a schedule here.