Steel City Improv Festival ‘Yes, Ands’ for First Festival

Pittsburgh has never had a festival dedicated to improvisational comedy. Until now.

by Amanda Reed
September 16, 2019

From Thursday to Sunday, the Steel City Improv Festival brings 155 performers from 14 cities to Pittsburgh for four nights of improvised comedy.

The Steel City Improv Theater in Shadyside houses the Thursday and Sunday shows, while Bricolage Downtown is where you can find the Friday and Saturday shows.

Kasey Daley, who co-founded the Steel City Improv Theater with husband Justin Zell in 2010 said that Pittsburgh’s first improv-only comedy festival was nine years in the making.*

“I’ve been wanting to do this since we started the SCIT in 2010,” she said.

Improv Festival Workshops

Along with featuring improvisers from across the country, the festival includes eight workshops that range from breaking down the Harold form to sketch comedy and movement for improvisers.

According to Daley, festivals are a great way for audience members and performers to build their skills and enjoy multiple nights of made-up entertainment.

“Festivals are always fun — a chance to see a lot of really amazing improv in one night, see what other cities are doing, meet other improvisers you wouldn’t normally meet and take some really great workshops,” Daley said.

Improv groups from coast to coast come to Pittsburgh for the Steel City Improv Festival

The Raving Jaynes from New York City, Devil’s Daughter from Chicago, and Pearl from Los Angeles headline the festival. Although boasting groups from Toronto, Massachusetts and Detroit, the festival features plenty of hometown players, with 16 Pittsburgh groups performing.

Although this is the Steel City Improv Festival’s first year, she hopes it’s not the last.

“I think this is the start of a really wonderful tradition for us, and something that I hope continues for years to come,” she says.

Know before you go: Steel City Improv Festival

For more information, showtimes and tickets, visit the Steel City Improv Festival website.


  • Thursday, September 19 – Steel City Improv Theater / Shadyside
  • Friday, September 20 – Bricolage Theater / Downtown
  • Saturday, September 21 – Bricolage Theater / Downtown
  • Sunday, September 22 – Steel City Improv Theater / Shadyside

Steel City Improv Festival Social Media

* Update: Thanks to one of our readers who reached out to share that Pittsburgh hosted an Improvathon in the mid-1990s.

Amanda Reed is a Pittsburgh-based journalist who mostly makes dumb jokes on Twitter @reedkat_ . Her work has appeared in Pittsburgh Magazine, Pittsburgh City Paper, the Riveter Magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings and the Pittsburgh Current. She proudly owns multiple faux fur coats and really loves opossums.

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