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New Zealand Improv Festival announces 2013 Programme

Thursday 15 August

New Zealand Improv Festival announces 2013 Programme

The prize chickens of NZ improvisation come home to roost at BATS Theatre (Out of Site)

17 different performances in 5 days and not a single script...

Put on your improv socks and prepare to have them blown off - the New Zealand Improv Festival is on its way and it’s looking better than ever! With 17 different performances in just five days, there is more than a little something for everyone, and Tuesday night’s festival launch gave guests a taste of what’s to come.

With much pleasure and fanfare, the New Zealand Improv Festival presented the 2013 programme, featuring guests and directors from Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Nelson, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

“We have world-class improv talent here in New Zealand and part of the joy of the festival is seeing so much of it in one place at one time,” says Artistic Director Christine Brooks.  “This year’s festival is the most diverse yet with more representation from around New Zealand than ever before, as well as more of our friends from across the ditch making the trip to join us.”

NZIF 2013 is headlined this year by special guest Rik Brown from Melbourne. Rik Brown has been a member of Impro Melbourne for the past 14 years, and has taught and performed improvisation throughout Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. He brings two shows to the festival showcase; Stuck in the Middle, a high energy fast paced show where one improvisor is trapped on stage for an entire show trying to survive as the rest of the cast puts them through their paces, and Spark, a breathtaking evolution in improvisation. Co-starring fellow Melbourne improvisors Karl McConnell and Jason Geary, the three improvisors take to the stage to tell one single narrative using nothing but each other for inspiration.

Also visiting from Melbourne, David S. Innes (Artistic Director, Impro Box) will lead an ensemble cast in his popular genre-based show, Time Lord. Inspired by BBC’s Doctor Who, Time Lord is an exciting, rollicking adventure in time and space, where the audience chooses the title of the story.

NZIF favourites the Court Jesters (Christchurch) and the Con Artists (Auckland) return for their fifth festivals each with a new work and an old favourite respectively. The Court Jesters present Loose Cannons, a buddy cop comedy caper, while the Con Artists bring their comedy festival hit Enid Untold, a Enid Blyton homage from the company who brought us Austen Found.

Rounding out the guests to the festival are newcomers Reverend Jellie, a short-form group based in Auckland; Body in Space from Nelson; Derek Flores, international improv superstar now based in Christchurch; and guest teachers Katherine Weaver and Jenny Lovell (Melbourne).

Amongst all these guests Wellington is well represented, with talented performers from three companies gracing the stage. Guests at the programme launch last night were treated to a live performance from Vance Fontaine and the Peculiar Sensations, providing a sneak peek at their festival show The Vance Fontaine Big Band Happy Hour. New kids on the block PlayShop bring a brand new format to the BATS stage, with Into the Dark Cave. This show will transform BATS Theatre into the boundless landscapes we built as children, where a few chairs and a sheet would turn into castles and space-stations. And Wellington Improv Troupe presents two very different shows; the Improv Divas in #Divas, exploring the stories behind social media posts, and the penultimate episode of its currently running improvised soap opera The Young and the WITless 7: Small Town, Big Hearts, set in the fictional small town of Te Awaiti.

“New Zealand improv is evolving. Improv now represents the whole range from ‘short form’ games made famous on Whose Line is it Anyway? to hour long improvised plays and musicals. The broad range will be on show at the Festival with something for everyone,” says Brooks.

For the full programme, please visit and book your tickets at

".. 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." - John Smythe, Theatreview

"The festival's fresh and vibrant energy is fuelled by the fact that the shows' casts spill into each other and the audience of one show spills into the next; creating a lively, informal dynamic that feels very true to improv." - Caoilinn Hughes, Theatreview

The New Zealand Improv Festival 2013
Dates: 17-21 September
Venue: BATS Theatre
Full programme at:
Bookings: or call 04 802 4175


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