From Austin Improv Community Wiki



Theater The Institution Theater
Directed by Sarah Marie Curry
Cast Varies
Crew Varies
Run 2015-Present

Tarantula was The Institution Theater's quarterly 10pm show, playing every 5th Saturday at 10pm as part of The Staple Shows.


Tarantula is a "formless-form" show, in a similar vein as Todd Stashwick's Mayfly, or Chicago's JTS Brown format. An eight-legged cast of improvisors and musical guests arrive on the night of, in preparation to discover the show they are in as they are finishing it. Tarantula has been called "dreamlike" "dynamic" and "what was THAT?" (but in a good way).

Art Tie-ins

Dystheatre Art Installation

On September 12 of 2015, Michael Ferstenfeld and performance scientists Paul Wainright, Jeff Britt, and David Moses Fruchter of Happiness is a Choice held the first iteration of Experiment #22: METACARTOGRAPHY, otherwise known as The Mind Map. Subsequent calibrations of the installation experiment are planned as monthly one-night installations before and often after Tarantula.

Artist Series Poster Commission

As part of the loose, experiential nature of the show, an artist series of posters were commissioned from the pool of Austin Improv Community designers, of which there are many members, contributing designs for productions in many and varied ways across the improv marketing scene in Austin. Please see photo archive for in series work. Ryan Austin was the only artist to participate but he did it REAL GOOD.

Press Blurb

Tarantula is a combination of improv and live music melding together in the most unique ways. The improvisers will use the stage and their own bodies like a canvas, a tapestry of emotions and perceptions. Unlike most improvised shows that tell a story in a narrative fashion, Tarantula will tell a story that is fragmentary and organic. You will relate to the weird and twisty rhythms of the show because you are HUMAN and it connects with you soul. Improvisers will move as one, create without structure and follows the beats and tempo that the musicians lay down for them in the moment.


The show is produced and/or curated (depending on your loose definition in a formless form thingy whats-it) by Sarah Marie Curry, who originated the idea after a production meeting for The Staple Shows at The Institution Theater, wherein she was asked to create a long running show to reduce the strain of turning over multiple new productions at once. She was asked what she thought would be marketable, enduring and inspiring. She came up with TARANTULA instead. The name came from thinking of insects (Mayfly) and that the cast is often made of eight improvisors, and the work they do endeavors to be beautiful and scary.

In April of 2016, Artistic Director Tom Booker decided to make TARANTULA a quarterly show, occurring on the 5th Saturday of the month in an effort to reduce production fatigue and create more potent attraction and attendance.

In December of 2016 it was decided to cancel TARANTULA. Sarah Marie Curry got all burned out in the producer role and Happiness is a Choice (Michael Ferstenfeld's beautiful improv baby) decided to take over the time slot, as they serve the same wimbly wombly improv master. It makes sense.


October 29th, 2016

July 30th, 2016

April 30th, 2016

March 12th, 2016

February 13th, 2016

January 9th, 2016

December 12th, 2015

November 14th, 2015

October 10th, 2015

September 12th, 2015

August 8th, 2015

July 11th, 2015

June 13th, 2015

May 16th, 2015

April 18th, 2015

March 21st, 2015

February 21st, 2015

January 24th, 2015