Tongue & Groove was founded in 2006, inspired by several forms of theater including long and short-form improv, Playback Theater, the Interactive Theater of Jeff Wirth, and the incomparable improvised plays performed by TJ & Dave. We cast a unique company of actors-who-improvise and improvisers-who-act, and set about creating a style of theater that would elevate the power of spontaneous creation. Since the founding, we’ve reached several goals. We’ve developed and continue to hone our signature style of serio-comic, realism-based ‘Actors’ Improv.’ We’ve performed all around Philadelphia in theaters and colleges and introduced this unique type of spontaneous theater to the community. We’ve garnered critical acclaim. The ensemble has become highly comfortable in our physical and emotional work, and has grown seamlessly connected (as our name implies). Artistic Director Bobbi Block has taught Actors' Improv in Europe, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and the Tongue & Groove format has been performed in Rio, Holland, and New Zealand!
Like so many resident companies, some personnel changes occurred: founding members Adam Gertler, Eoin O’Shea, Josh Rubinstein, Jenn MacMillan, Jordan Stalsworth and Fred Andersen have moved on … of course they will always be part of the ensemble and you never know when they might return! Fred Seigal and Ed Miller have been part of T&G for years! June 2013 we brought on Noah Herman (currently on hiatus in Grad school), and, in preparation for our monthly show schedule, we brought on three more members in 2014: Seth Reichgott, Matt Lydon, and Megan Bellwoar. Most recently, three more ensemble members join us: Joy Weir, Josh Holober-Ward, and Tanesha Ford! For our 10 year anniversary in June 2017, almost all of the founding members performed a Reunion Show and our seamless connection came right back!
Ten Years of Shows:
•2007 IN BED - inspired by one fortune from a fortune cookie
•2008 SECRETS - we ask: share a true secret that you are keeping, for yourself or someone else.
•2009 UNSPOKEN - we ask: what is something you always wanted to say to someone but haven't. And we also ask to transcribe an interesting text or post onto a card (something you would write, but probably leave unspoken)
•2010 SIX - we ask: give us your autobiography in six words.
•2011 IMPULSE - Created specifically for the 2011 PIFA Festival theme, we ask: what impulses have your followed, regretted, haven't acted upon yet.
•2012 WHO - we ask: who are you?
•2013 THAT TIME - created specifically for the 2013 PIFA Festival theme, and in collaboration with dance company RealLivePeople, we ask: what moment in your life would you like to return to and why?
•2014 BELIEVE - we ask: what do you believe?
•2014 OH MOTHER - we ask: tell us something memorable that was said or done by a maternal figure in your life (or yourself in that role).
•2015 GROOVE – our second collaboration with dancers -- this time with Blues Dancers and live blues musicians -- we ask: when are you/have you really been 'in the groove?'
•2015 ART - created for a performance at DaVinci Art Alliance, and now in regular rotation; we ask: what would be your title for a fictional work of art inspired by a true transitional moment in your life?
•2016 MAY/NOT -- we ask -- what is a decision you are struggling with ?
•2016 FOOD - this show begins with a cooking demo! We ask: share with us a food- related memory.
•2016 BEFORE I DIE -- inspired by the Before I Die international mural project, we installed an interactive chalkboard for passersby to fill in the blank, and also asked our audience: "Before I die___."
•2017 THIS YEAR – Performed in January, we ask the audience to fill in “This is the year that…”
•2017 CULTURE CLASH -- created specifically for our 'Stolen Set Series' with InterAct theater company. We perform on the set of one of InterAct's plays; our 'get' must reflect the theme of the play. For this show we asked: when have you experienced culture clash/felt like an outsider?
•2017 TEN - we ask -- what were you doing/who were you being 10 years ago?
•2017 Founding Member Reunion Show - IN BED - we wanted to revise this first format to reflect our now signature collaboration with our audiences, so in addition to the fortune cookie, we ask: describe a memorable moment that took place in a bed.
•2017 BY DESIGN - for the DesignPhilly Festival, we ask: what's a design of yours that floundered or flew?
•2017 QUESTIONS – we ask: what is a question that’s been on your mind lately?
In all of T&G's work, our personal lives inform our artistic lives, and our audience’s lives inform our art. We look forward to working with ever-increasing audiences in this communal artistic experience, and we hope that, after seeing a T&G show, you feel more connected.