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NZ Improv Festival seizes opportunity to give back

9 September 2013

NZ Improv Festival seizes opportunity to give back

Unique show donates proceeds back to source of inspiration

Improvisor and Festival guest Alice Canton finds inspiration for her work in all kinds of places - dance, music, sculpture, clowning, and mask. But it was the logistical challenges of touring theatre performances that led to the creation of Thrift Shop, her NZ Improv Festival showcase performance.

“No matter how small the show, the act of touring always causes logistical and budgetary nightmares for theatre companies,” says Alice. “As an artist, I am interested in how we can use local community as a resource to help solve these problems, and in turn give something back.”

Thrift Shop works off a simple idea. The cast head to a local opportunity shop to source costume and set. These items and experiences are used as inspiration for the show that night. After the show, the costume and set from the show are put up for sale. The remaining materials are returned to the shop, along with the proceeds of sales, and a donation from the ticket sales.

For the debut performance of Thrift Shop at the New Zealand Improv Festival, Alice and NZIF have teamed up with Opportunity For Animals in Newtown, with all money raised going towards the Black Sheep Animal Sanctuary, an Otaki based organisation that rescues and rehabilitates native and non-native animals with a particular focus on ex-farm animals.

“We’re really pleased with the connection between our Festival and the community,” says Jennifer O’Sullivan, Festival Producer. “Improvisation in Wellington has such strong community roots, it is an obvious step to use our work to support local organisations.”

Tickets are being snapped up fast for all 17 shows in this short but sharp festival of everything improvised. For the full programme, please visit and book your tickets at

"Something of value will always materialise before our very eyes." - John Smythe, Theatreview
"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

Alice Canton is an acting graduate from Te Kura Toi Whakaari O Aotearoa: New Zealand Drama School, performs regularly throughout New Zealand and Australia, and has recently returned from touring Asia in Red Leap Theatre Company’s THE ARRIVAL. Since 2003, she has worked as a member of The Court Jesters at The Court Theatre in Christchurch as a professional improviser, tutor, and corporate entertainer.

For more information about the Back Sheep Animal Sanctuary, visit or find them on Facebook.

The New Zealand Improv Festival 2013
Thrift Shop: 8pm, Thursday 19 September
Festival Dates: 17-21 September
Venue: BATS Theatre
Full programme at
Bookings: or call 04 802 4175


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