Arts and organization usually go together like oil and water. Creativity thrives on being untethered and business thrives on structure. What has always impressed me about Sea Tea Improv is not only are they talented and committed, but they are also organized and disciplined. That’s a rare combination. Sea Tea Improv takes their comedy seriously.
The group has just announced the opening of their studio in downtown Hartford. “Having a place to call our own has been a goal of ours almost since the start, when we formed in the beginning of 2009,” states member Dan Russell. The space, which will allow Sea Tea to expand their educational offerings, is located at 75 Pratt Street, Suite 500. A Grand Opening party will be held on Friday, November 9, from 7-11 p.m. To RSVP, email HERE.
What’s exciting about the opening of the studio is that it may create a snowball effect for other arts organizations. It has the potential to be utilized as a hub of activity, allowing newer groups without a permanent space to rent out the Sea Tea Improv Studio. You may also have a person take improv classes who then decides to start their own comedy troupe. It’s a case of a rising tides lifting all ships. We saw this recently with the announcement of Hartford’s Front Street Theater followed by Infinity Hall announcing a new venue next door. Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.
Sea Tea’s improv classes are for teens, adults, and professionals. A class might attract someone looking to improve their public speaking for the workplace or a person needing a creative spark. You may have a person new to the world of improv or someone with previous experience looking for additional techniques. Sea Tea will be running beginner-level (“The Character”) and intermediate-level (“The Second Beat”) classes starting this month. Information on registering for the classes can be found HERE.
The Character is being led by Vladimir Perez. Perez is an actor born and raised in Brooklyn. He has received training from Hartford Stage and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theare. Outside of improv, he is active in the film world. As a location scout/assistant, he has been involved with large projects such as Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Fringe, Bored to Death, and Flight of the Concords.
This class meets on Wednesday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. starting on Oct 10th and running through December 12th. In this introductory-level course, students will be learning to create rich and inspiring characters along with exploring physical movements on stage. The course culminates in a student performance in front of an invited audience.
What Perez likes most about teaching the class is seeing people get completely out of their comfort zone. “It’s adults playing make-believe. Most people haven’t done that since they were kids. By letting loose they are gaining confidence. Their next business meeting or meet-and-greet now seems much easier.”
The Second Beat features Dan Russell as the instructor. Russell also received training from Hartford Stage and the Upright Citizens Brigade. The Second Beat will be held on Sunday afternoons from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. starting on October 7th and running through December 2. This class will focus more on long-form improvisation. The Second Beat will also culminate with an invited-audience performance.
Besides the immediate benefits of the class offerings, Russell also envisions the long-term benefits of the studio. “We want to take the knowledge and experience that we've gained from hundreds of hours learning from the best improvisers in the world and from performing hundreds of shows in and out of Connecticut, and use our Studio to pass that on to Hartford's improv community.”
As the Hartford improv community grows, so grows the arts scene. As the arts scene improves, so does Hartford.