The Improv Shop introduced longform improvisational comedy to St. Louis in 2009, and their commitment to teaching and performing is as strong as ever 10 years later. The modest start of the community training center and theatre offered one instructional class and two shows a month. Today, The Improv Shop produces 10 different shows four nights a week on two stages and has six levels of classes with more than 200 students who make up dozens of improv teams year-round. They also added noteworthy food service with made-from-scratch selections and full bar service.
After seven years of teaching comedy classes and hosting shows in almost a half-dozen leased spaces around the city, The Improv Shop settled into a building of its own in the Grove in early 2017. “As we grew, we also realized our work engendered a special kind of relationship and dedication to each other,” said Kevin McKernan, The Improv Shop founder and owner. “We have a tremendous commitment to growing a community. I’m not sure there’s a better way for people to connect with one other than to have people that were once strangers to come together, play make-believe, make one another look good, be vulnerable, and make others smile and laugh than improv.”
The Improv Shop is the only venue of its kind in St. Louis, solely dedicated to teaching and performing improv. “With four nights of original, experimental improv a week, it’s a unique and inexpensive date night,” said Andy Sloey, The Improv Shop general manager. “But beyond that we offer a chance to support one another in the arts.”
On November 27th, the night before Thanksgiving Day, The Improv Shop will recognize its 10-year anniversary by celebrating with their students and community of improvisers that they feel are the reason for their success. “Celebrating the night before Thanksgiving is a reminder of how thankful we are for an incredibly dedicated staff, student population and performers,” said McKernan. “My hope is that we continue to get people excited about taking a risk, finding courage they didn’t know they had, making new friends, having fun and feeling like they belong somewhere.”
The Improv Shop is St. Louis’ only longform improvisational-comedy theatre and training center. They aim to create original, dynamic and fun shows utilizing the tools of Chicago-style improv. The Improv Shop’s training program is the only multi-level program of its kind in St. Louis and is accessible to students of all abilities and skill levels. The Improv Shop received a St. Louis Magazine A-List award for Best Comedy Club in 2014 and was named Best Place for Comedy by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Go! Magazine in 2015. Located at 3960 Chouteau in the Grove, the theatre features a full-service restaurant and bar during show times. A second location is in Kansas City, Mo. Regular shows run Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, starting at 8 p.m. Classes are offered four days a week. Tickets and additional information are available online at www.theimprovshop.com.
Via Press Release