Morganton, NC — Morganton Improv will host its first Foothills Comedy Festival at the Old Rock School in Valdese on August 31 from 4 PM to 9:30 PM. Sponsored by the The Old Rock School, the debut festival will feature four acts consisting of short-form improv (similar to games seen on “Whose Line is it Anyway”), long-form improv, stand up comedy, and a one man show featuring more than 30 characters.

Morganton Improv was started in spring 2018 by Abigail Taylor, local arts advocate and theatre enthusiast.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of community members, extremely funny and talented community members, that were interested in attending our first few meetings,” said Taylor. “I was even more surprised by how quickly the core group became a true, dedicated improv and theatre company. It took on a life of its own, which is exactly what I’d hoped for.”

Aside from their local improv shows, the group has members producing short sketch comedy films, developing their own stand up routines, and now a festival.

Chet Wagner, member of Morganton Improv and former member of Theatre 99, in Charleston, South Carolina, brought the idea of hosting a festival to the rest of the Morganton Improv group.

“After relocating to Lenoir, I was pleased to discover that there was an improv group based in Morganton,” said Wagner. “This festival is one more way to expand the arts scene in the Foothills region and I am thrilled to see the idea come to fruition.”

Morganton Improv players will perform short form games for the festival. Since spring 2018, the group has performed at Brown Mountain Bottleworks, the Nook Tavern, and the Historic Morganton Festival.

CHAMPS will perform longform improv with Chicago influences, making art as well as comedy.

“CHAMPS features larger than life characters and ridiculous situations,” says Wagner. “Their show will have you in stitches. If you like your improv comedy unpredictable, CHAMPS is the show for you.”

Lauren Krass from New York and Jason Gross from Charleston will perform stand up during their show “Krass and Gross.”

Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, Krass performs nationwide for comedy festivals, colleges, and clubs. She recently took home first place at the 2018 She Devil Comedy Festival in New York City. She is also an award winning playwright and has written and performed in her full length original musical titled “Princess Charming.”

Gross was voted by the Charleston City Paper as Charleston’s Best Comedian. He has opened for renowned comedians like Colin Quinn, Michael Ian Black, Todd Barry, and Tig Notaro.

Andy Livengood from will perform his one man show, “Butcher Stories”. With over 30 characters, it is a show for anyone who has ever worked in retail, or just been in line with other customers and questioned humanity.

Ticket price per show is $10.00 (+ small fees) on the Foothills Comedy Festival Facebook page under Events. Individual show tickets will be available at the door, during the day of the event for $13, starting at 3PM. The Old Rock School is located at 400 Main St W, Valdese, NC 28690.

Photo: Amanda Woodward, Abigail Taylor, Sophie Shelton