Improv comedy troupe, Story Pirates, return to Strings |

Improv comedy troupe, Story Pirates, return to Strings

The educational sketch-theater group known for teaching kids, Story Pirates will be in Steamboat Springs for two holiday performances this Sunday at Strings Music Pavilion.
Courtesy Photo

If You Go...

What: Story Pirates Holiday Performance

When: 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20

Where: Strings Music Pavilion, 900 Strings Road

— What would you do if you received a flying reindeer for Christmas?

Exploring this question, kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Steamboat Springs came up with creative answers to this prompt in November with help from the Chief Players.

Now, actors from the nonprofit improv comedy group Story Pirates have transformed those answers into an evening of holiday songs and skits.

“It’s absolutely amazing how even after years of reading stories from kids all over the country, they can continue to surprise us and come up with hilarious and exciting things that we have never heard before,” said Story Pirates programming director Gabe Jewell. “It’s one of the highlights of the job.”

On Sunday, these sketch comedies with musical accompaniment will take the Strings Music Pavilion stage at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. for two family holiday performances.

“It was so fun and was something different for them to do,” said Bonnie Espinoza, program director for the Boys and Girls Club of Steamboat. “The improv activities really got them thinking creatively.”

The professional improv actors and musicians use the kids’ responses to create a combined storyline of songs and skits.

“It’s all about trying to understand what their intent is and being a megaphone for their ideas,” Jewell said.

Traveling from coast to coast and working with over 250 schools, Story Pirates does more than galvanize laughter — they are teaching kids to write and explore their creativity.

“I love the work that we do and the impact it has on kids,” Jewell said. “Everyone is extremely talented, hilarious and coming together for the same reason, which is to celebrate the words and ideas that kids put forward.”

The New York- and Los Angeles-based nonprofit began in 2003 and its professional performers were recruited from comedy hubs such as Second City, the Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade. Over the years, Story Pirates has expanded to offer writing workshops, assemblies and professional development for school staff.

“There is so much emphasis on testing and meeting particular requirements in a classroom that it’s easy to forget that important component of what creativity really is,” Jewell said. “This is really making a positive impact and inspiring that creativity spark in a fun and exciting way.”

The Story Pirates traveled to Steamboat once before in the summer of 2014 for a Tuesday Youth Concert, and Strings advertising and marketing director and youth program coordinator Cristin Frey, said she remembers them well.

“They are so funny you just want to keep hanging out with them and be in their space,” Frey said. “They are not just acting, they really are that witty and creative all the time. This is some of the best comedy I’ve seen, and I’m not just saying that.”

Tickets for the performance are $15 for adults and $3 for kids and can be purchased through the Strings Music Festival website. All ages are welcome.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

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