The first classes and workshops at PHIT were offered in January 2006. We have continuously offered small classes with the top improv teachers in the city since that time. In addition to our core-courses, taught in the emerging “Philly-style” of improv, PHIT began offering workshops with locally and nationally recognized teachers in 2006 as well with visits from instructors at New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Finally, members of the Philly Improv Theater participated in The Great Improv Event – an outreach event to middle- and high-school students in the metro-Philadelphia area.
Since 2007 the theater has had a monthly run of shows at the Shubin Theatre. We have also hosted regular visits to PHIT by Keith Johnstone (author of Impro and one of the leading improv teachers in the world) as well as performances by I Eat Pandas, BASSPROV, teams from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York, and many other out-of-town performers representing the best improv around the country.
Beginning in 2008 the theater created PHIT-trained and supported ensembles, and became a major presense in the Philly Fringe Festival (by programming three weeks of non-stop improv and sketch comedy at the Adrienne Mainstage). The 2008 Fringe also featured a production of Philly’s first improv-to-script stage musical: The Hoppers Hit the Road.
A sketch comedy writing program was launched at PHIT during 2009, which quickly attracted the attention of top national talent – including Kevin Allison of MTV’s The State, who joined PHIT’s teaching staff in the fall of that year. In addition, PHIT expanded the frequency of their shows.
For 2010, expect to see a stronger online presence for PHIT, as the theater branches out into online video and podcasting some of our shows. Also, we are in search of permanent home that will allow us to bring the best alternative comedy in the region to audiences every night of the year.