Originally set as the spin-off festival from the long time and incredibly fun Gatlinburg Improv Festival (2010-2020). The Secret City Improv Festival originally aimed to continue the fun but took place in the fall instead of the spring. The first Secret City Improv Festival was originally scheduled for fall 2020, but due to Covid-19 the first festival was not held until September 2021.
Today the Secret City Improv Festival is the only Improv Festival in Eastern Tennessee. We are proud to continue what was originally set with the Gatlinburg Improv Festival and are striving to also evolve and create a festival that is unique among all improv festivals. In 2022, we will be introducing a whole new portion of our event that will be unique as we will be featuring high school improv troupes in their show block. These troupes will go through a rigorous set of intensive workshops that are designed to pair each participating school with a professional improv teacher. A curriculum has been designed for this that will allow each troupe to take home a valuable learning experience.
The first edition of the Secret City Improv Festival was a success. We were able to welcome 14 troupes from across the nation and were able to host shows that we’re at capacity for the theater with our Covid-19 protocols. We had wonderful partners for that last festival, and we look forward to expanding for this year.
Our goal for the Secret City Improv Festival is to provide an environment to foster networking opportunities and collaboration for improv teams from all around the southeast and the USA. Our mission is to showcase a diversity of teams and styles on the stage and to foster growth through workshops.
The City of Oak Ridge, while known as the Atomic City, has a rich history with the arts. From a long-standing tradition of theater with the Oak Ridge Playhouse to a renowned ballet company and a regular stand-up comedy showcase, Oak Ridge, TN is a city that can appreciate the art of Improv.
The Secret City Improv Festival is hosted in The Historic Grove Theater. Built during the Manhattan Project, the Grove Theater was built as a grand concert hall that could hold 1,000 audience members. It was a showcase for the new city of Oak Ridge and was known for its exceptional acoustics. Its dimensions were carefully engineered to maximize performance acoustics. When the theater was transformed into a movie theater in 1950 the original hardwood stage was hidden behind the projection screen. When the theater was acquired by its current ownership in 2008 the performance stage was rediscovered and brought back to life. Today the Grove Theater is the home to everything from the Oak Ridge Youth Orchestra, The Civic Ballet, The Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival, Secret City Improv Festival and so much more.
We aim to present a festival that showcases the best improv theater talent we can assemble in this magical historic theater. So come enjoy the spectacular colors of the East Tennessee fall, have a glass of sweet tea, and come be part of a special event!