A Guide to the Fifth Annual Ghostfest Improv Marathon


This weekend marks our fifth year of Ghostfest, an improv marathon that consists of 32 straight hours of performances. This event is an anticipated event by improv enthusiasts and for The Torch Community it marks our improv new year.

Ghostfest is a brain child of Jose Gonzalez who launched the fest back in 2011 and has become a Torch staple every year featuring much of the Torch Theatre’s greatest performance groups along with many expiremental and weird shows that you find yourself talking about all year long. Many of the Torch’s newest performance groups got their start or found their voice on the Ghostfest stage and many a performer/group has created projects and performances that stretched them beyond imagination, as it is an event that encourages a popular improv phrase coined by Del Close “follow the fear.” This theme obviously exists beyond the improv stage this time of year. So you can imagine the Torch Theatre celebrates Halloween in more ways than you can imagine every year with the Ghostfest event. They dress up in awesome costumes and even wear these cool open face gold grillz.

The Torch stage will be filled with hours and hours of wonderful, unique improvised performances that will never be seen again. Every moment of the marathon will be magical in their own way. To assist you, in case this is your first year checking out Ghostfest or just want to know what to look out for, I have included a little Ghostfest 2015 guidebook below. However, before you explore what the weekend has to offer – The Ghostfest Marathon is a fundraiser for The Phoenix Improv Festival taking place in April of 2016. So all proceeds go on to support that annual event which is going into it’s 15th year. Tickets are of a great value – as it is only $10.00 to enjoy a six hour block of shows, your six hour block begins upon your arrival. To enjoy the entire weekend it’s only $5 more and with both passes you can come and go throughout the duration. Ghostfest Jr. is a pay what you want and is a great opportunity to bring the whole family.

Tickets, more information & Full Ghostfest schedule can be found at http://www.thetorchtheatre.com/ghostfest/.

Jacque Arend’s Guide to Ghostfest 2016


6pm – The Ghostfest 2015 Preview, Predictions, & Opening Ceremonies Show – this is for the die hard Ghostfesters and those folks who wish to take in the entire experience. In this hour we ignite Ghostfest (much like an olympic Torch) and establish predictions, realistic and ridiculous, things to imagine &/or look forward to.

7pm – Skewed News Hour – The Torch’s weekly Friday show with an all-star cast is a great way to kick off the marathon.

8pm – 12am – GHOSTFEST FRIDAY NIGHTfeatures some of the Torch’s regular performance groups, new sensations, musical and the wacky including house teams Apollo 12 & Galapagos, the organization will be buying a karaoke mic for everyone to enjoy. This block will also feature talented guests coming from San Diego, CA. You can expect to see some solid improv performances along with some fantastically themed shows in this kick-off set.


12am – 3amGHOSTFEST LATE NIGHT – This late night set will get ridiculously playful with some very unique shows along with some great combinations of strong performers. You can expect these hours to create some wonderful moments that will never be re-created but people will tell their friends they should’ve been there.

3am – 6am – GHOSTFEST AFTER HOURSAh the wee mornings – how can you not be tempted to know what happens during this time. Like the late night – it’s much the same but later, so you may find things even weirder and even more magical. This is definitely the insomniac’s companion, a perfect choice for an early riser or great for those who want to say they did, as folks who do, become myths of Ghostfest and can truly say “I was there”.

6am – 9am – GHOSTFEST MORNING – perfect breakfast companion – filled with a nice combination of regular performance groups and themed shows that can really get you going in the morning. This block is followed by the annual Bjorkfest at 8am which feature Bjork & Breakfast, a great way to kick of the day.

10am – 12pm – *** GHOSTFEST JR. *** – This is a two hour block of family friendly programming that features strong performers mixed with young improvisors. Bring the whole family to enjoy this truly amazing block of improv where young minds take the stage.

12pm – 5:30pmGHOSTFEST AFTERNOON – this block of the festival is always the most laid back, casual and relaxing. Enjoy part of your afternoon sitting back and laughing. Groups continuously roll in and out of the stage entertaining audiences all day long. This block will feature a great mix of regular performing groups, new sensations, themed shows and interesting concoctions of talented performers with fascinating creations. In my opinion the most underrated period of the festival.

5:30pm – Havens Tafting – Do you remember the Phoenix Neutrino Project, have you ever thought “I wonder what improvised film would be like” — introducing the premiere of The Torch Theatre’s newest performance group – Havens Tafting – An Improvised Film. A must see!!

7pm – Improvised Bookclub: Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat – a Ghostfest tradition as the cast of the Improvised Book Club take inspiration from short Halloween themed stories. Always a fun, playful hour of the fest that is sure to entertain.

8pm – WoOT & Flakey Jake (San Francisco) – featuring WoOT! right in the middle of their current Torch engagement in The Run and another guest performance.

9pm – The Neighborhood featuring the Foundation and Guest Monologist – Can’t go wrong with this anchor performance.

10pm – 2amGHOSTFEST SATURDAY NIGHT – winding out the festival we have our home stretch. This block of the festival will feature some Ghostfest staples like Mail Order Bride, Unicorn Warpath & Zombie Gourmet along with other great Torch troupes. Some super unusual shows that are sure to delight including the return of the much talked about Southern Wisdom from last year. Also the great question will be answered “who will win Cagematch: Draculas or Frankensteins?”

Closing Ceremoniesghostbox – this part of the fest is why we think this event represents the Torch New Year. In the closing ceremonies participants & appreciators of Ghostfest look forward to this event as a way to release the moment & whatever it may represent. In improv we always focus on the moment – and then it passes – such is Ghostfest.

Feel free to comment below about what you are looking forward to this weekend!

If you have any further questions about Ghostfest feel free to e-mail info@thetorchtheatre.com

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Posted in Arts & Culture, Fundraisers, Guest Performers, Improv, In the community, Performance, performers

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