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The New Zealand Improv Festival is a five-day, not-for-profit festival and an initiative of WIT (Wellington Improvisation Troupe). We gather improvisational theatre companies from around the nation (and around the globe) to present new work, learn new skills and make connections across the industry.

We are dedicated to presenting high quality improvised theatre to audiences in New Zealand’s cultural capital, Wellington. We aim to highlight the varying forms of improvised theatre to the public in a festival setting to celebrate the great work going on around New Zealand (and the world).

Founded in 2008 by Merrilee McCoy and Derek Flores, the New Zealand Improv Festival has strengthened ties between many New Zealand’s various improv groups, and between New Zealand and the world. National guests have come from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and international guests have included Patti Stiles (Melbourne), Rama Nicholas (Melbourne), Rebecca De Unamuno (Sydney), Crumbs (Canada), and Jason Geary (Melbourne).

The New Zealand Improv Festival has three creative drivers:

  1. Audience Development
    Increase public awareness of the participating companies and grow audience numbers, and ensure that audience is aware of the varying forms of improvised theatre beyond Theatresports and Whose Line Is It Anyway
  2. Education
    Increase public participation in improvised theatre in Wellington; improve practitioners’ work through providing opportunities for masterclass training with elite level improvisors from NZ and the world, and opportunities to perform with improvisors from other troupes through jam sessions and ensemble performances
  3. Participation in a global improvisation network
    Participating companies gain a wider perspective of their work’s national and global context, helping them strive to produce high quality, innovative work for New Zealand audiences
    Earn recognition of the festival, our city and New Zealand work
    Solidify Wellington’s image as the country’s Cultural Capital in the minds of New Zealanders and international guests alike
    Ensure the work of New Zealand artists is valued and recognised internationally
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