Improvisation was and is a huge part of Amy Lisewski’s life. Years of study with The Second City and iO West in Los Angeles taught her so much more than just how to be funny on stage. It connects you with people, allows you to let go, to unwind, and is the perfect excuse to have fun.
Early one Saturday morning while driving from San Diego to Los Angeles for improv, it suddenly dawned on Amy… “Why am I making this long trip to another city to learn and perform improvisation? Shouldn’t San Diego have a place where people from all walks of life, all ages, and all levels of experience come together to laugh, learn and perform?”
The answer was as clear as the speed limit sign that Amy was deciding to ignore as she turned her car around and drove back into San Diego. Passing the county line, she knew she’d made the right decision. And she was ready to make her dream of opening an improv theatre into a reality.
That’s when Finest City Improv was born.
Amy worked closely with influential improv performers and coaches and she sought out talented instructors to help her develop, The Finest City Improv Series; a class structure to teach students the essential skills of scenic improv, progressing to ensemble performance, on stage – in front of an audience.
In 2011, Amy, along with the other Finest City Improv instructors, began teaching all levels improv classes out of four different spaces in and around San Diego. And as promised, once a month, these students would get the opportunity to show off their skills on stage.
Classes quickly grew. Audiences were asking for more. And Amy knew the Finest City community was going to need a bigger boat…
In 2013, Finest City Improv broke ground on its very own theater space attached to the historic Lafayette Hotel in the neighborhood of North Park. Construction on the site took nine months. With the help of talented architect Trip Bennett, and the volunteer work of so many of the Finest City Improv team, an empty space was transformed and their theater doors officially opened in December of 2013.
In 2014, Finest City Improv has a current roster of over 80 students, 34 ensemble members, eight house teams, and countless guest teams and visiting artists who can all call Finest City Improv their home. And each and every Thursday through Sunday audiences keep coming back for their signature bold, comedy improv performances.