New Zealand Improv Festival - a tasty theatrical treat

Published: Mon 22 Sep 2014 12:39 PM
MEDIA RELEASE: Embargoed until Monday 22 September
New Zealand Improv Festival - a tasty theatrical treat
The best of the nation’s talent spiced up with international flavour
In just five weeks the sixth incarnation of New Zealand Improv Festival hits Wellington. With a line up that includes old favourites from around the country, and brand new international guests from as far away as Mexico, this year’s programme will give Wellington audiences a taste of the diversity and quality present in the ever-growing world of improvised theatre.
“We’ve searched far and wide and brought together a programme of work from further afield than ever before,” says Jennifer O’Sullivan, Festival Director.
“We want our audience to come for something familiar and stay for something new, challenging and exciting. We’ve also responded to the growing improv community’s needs with a huge programme of workshops for practitioners that will feed into the quality of our performances.’

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The programme was launched online last night with improvisors and fans from around the country and overseas broadcasting their excitement through social media - check out their artistic responses to the programme on the New Zealand Improv Festival Facebook page ( and on Twitter and Instagram at #nzif.
".. The nature of improv is such that when it's played well – as in this festival – it is virtually impossible for nothing to happen. Something of value will always materialise before our very eyes." - Theatreview
“It could well be a recipe for chaos if they were not all highly accomplished improvisers” - Theatreview
International guests include:
•Spark (Melbourne): A highlight of 2013, these amazing performers from Melbourne return with the Bingo Board of Doom (8pm, Tues 28 Oct). Every time a ball is pulled our improvisers must immediately incorporate the corresponding plot twist into the scene. Spark also produce the weekly comedy podcast ‘How ’Bout This’, available on iTunes.
•Bonnet Productions (Melbourne): Anna Renzenbrink (Standout performer, NZ Fringe 2013) and Jenny Lovell worked together in the Impro Melbourne Ensemble for over ten years before creating the characters of Tilly and Flora. A comedy of manners inspired by Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell (Cranford), In the Parlour (6:30pm, Thurs 30 Oct) will delight the whole family.
•ImproVisa (Mexico): Daniel Haddad and Piolo Juvera are ImproVisa, a Mexican company dedicated to improv theatre. Their two-person show Plus One (9:30pm, Thurs 30 Oct) strips back the work to simple improv - there are no games, there is no musician, there are no long explanations or presentations. And yes, they’ll be improvising in English for their NZ audience.
•Le Franglais Improv Comedy Show: Bilingual improvisors from Auckland, Wellington and Belgium present this half French, half English hour of improv (9:30pm, Weds 29 Oct). It promises to delight speakers of both languages, whether you can follow it all or not!
Local faces gracing our stage:
•The Court Jesters (Christchurch): With New Zealand’s longest running comedy show ‘Scared Scriptless’ entertaining audiences twice weekly at the Court Theatre, the Jesters return to NZIF with a love letter to science fiction. Join Captain Stella Forstar and the intrepid crew of Space Patrol 5 (6:30pm, Fri 1 Nov) on a voyage of exploration and discovery to the furthest reaches of the galaxy... and beyond!
•ConArtists: This company has a fantastic track record of premiering amazing seasons at NZIF, among them Austen Found, and 2013’s Enid Untold. This year they aim their sharp wits at Dickens with Oliver Twisted: An Improvised Dickens (8pm, Thurs 30 Oct). Come and catch it before their next sell-out tour!
•Wellington Improv Troupe: Something for the young and young at heart! Panto (8pm, Weds 29 Oct) has all the elements of a traditional pantomime: a dame, a love story, tight tights and an all-singing, all-dancing cast!
There’s also a mix of marvelous ensemble shows and events:
•Halloween Special: Our Halloween lineup on Friday 31 October features Ghost Conference, Monster of the Week, and Sylvestro’s Spooky Cabaret Burlesque. Come in costume and win prizes!
•Taking off the Bird Suit: Returning from its acclaimed season at BATS in June, Christine Brooks will lead an ensemble of NZIF women in an hour that promises to be ‘thoroughly and consistently entertaining and, most importantly, hilarious’ (Word on the Street).
•Zombies?: Our final night festival all-in - after workshops with Greg Ellis and Allie Rutherford (GEAR Productions) a cast of 10 improvisors and a hoard of zombies will bring the week to a gory close. Zombies? (9:30pm, Sat 1 Nov) is improv survivor and being voted off means undeath.
For more on the rest of the festival programme, visit
New Zealand Improv Festival acknowledges and appreciates the ongoing support of Wellington Improvisation Troupe and is also delighted to be supported by Creative Communities, administered by Wellington City Council.
The New Zealand Improv Festival 2014
Dates: 28 October - 1 November 2014 (Workshop programme opens 27 October)
Venue: BATS Theatre (Out of Site)
Tickets: $18/$14/$13 Groups 6+ - Book at or call 04 802 41753 show passes available ($36) - to book contact
Find out more:

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