Compass Improv was born in 2012 out of the desire to host a Improv festival showcasing the best of the St. Louis improv community and exposing local audiences to national performers. Five years later, what began as a festival has grown into a multi-facted community organization committed to promoting improv throughout the St. Louis region through events and community outreach.
St. Louis played a fundamental role in the evolution of improv.
The city’s improv roots date back to the Compass Players, a team of actors who established the basic principles of improv-- the Kitchen Rules-- during a residence at St. Louis’ Crystal Palace Theater in the Gaslight District during the 1950s.
Members of the Compass Players went on to form the Second City and iO theaters in Chicago, which produced talented actors ranging from John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray to Tina Fey, Steve Carrell and Stephen Colbert.
Compass Improv takes its name from those original pioneers of the art form.