New Zealand Improvisation Festival hits Wellington

The much-anticipated New Zealand Improvisation Festival has officially announced their stellar lineup for 2015. Performers from all over New Zealand, Australia and further afield come to BATS Theatre in Wellington for one week of entertainment from Tuesday 6 – Saturday 11 October 2015. Wellingtonians will have a wide selection of improv to feast on with a jam packed programme containing 22 shows, three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington.

In 2014, the New Zealand Improvisation Festival had 17 performances with over 1000 tickets sold. This year, 2015 promises to do it bigger and better with a range of shows that are sure to please anyone’s fancy. New Zealand Improvisation Festival Producer Jennifer O’Sullivan says, “The New Zealand Improvisation Festival is an opportune time to showcase some of the world and country’s best storytellers. Wellingtonians are in for a treat this year with acts pulled all the way from Australia to right here in the capital.”

Kicking off the Festival is Wellington Improv Troupe in Royal Equinox Adventure Cruise on Tuesday 6 October at 6.30pm. Expect symmetry, simplicity and a new version of Bill Murray as you discover who lives, loves, and who dies, on the Royal Equinox Adventure Cruise. Wellington Improv Troupe have been hitting Wellington strong with their quick wit for over 10 years, and were the founding company for the festival in its infancy. 

PlayShop Performance Company will be another Wellington company not to miss. After scooping up the Best Improvaward at the 2015 New Zealand Fringe Festival with 10 Things I Hate About Us, audience will sit back to see PlayShop’s latest creation in SED Speeches: Theories of Stuff. These improvised versions of TED Talks will be presented on Wednesday 7 October at 8.30pm.

From Melbourne, Australia, the Festival welcomes back Jason Geary from Spark who will present ZOOM on Saturday 9 October at 7pm. ZOOM is envisaged as a kind of Birdman-for-the-stage, with the audience using their imagination to build the world seen through a single camera shot, following their every interest, whim and desire. Scenes, stories and characters are evolved and investigated, with each action spurred on by a live percussionist. Also returning from Australia is veteran improviser and 2013 special guest Rik Brown. He’s performed all over the world with some of the greatest improvisors, but in Solo Brown he’ll go it alone on Thursday 7 October at 7pm. Australia’s top notch ladies also grace the stage in Lady Fingers on Wednesday 7 October at 6.30pm. In an endeavour to move away from ‘talky’ improv, Sydney based Lady Fingers is an experimental trio that incorporate music, physicality and theatricality into their improvised shows.

Auckland improviser Lori Dungey, last scene at The Improvisors’ 25th anniversary show at Circa, presents BOOYA (Blow it Out Your Ahem). BOOYA is a thrilling mash-up of Harold and Modern Dance taking place on Thursday 8 October at 6.30pm. Joining her from Auckland, ConArtists present Sex, Lies and Improvise - an evening “of high energy entertainment filled with hilarious improvised games with a very naughty twist” (Theatreview) taking to the stage on Friday 9 October at 10.15pm.

From Nelson is Body in Space Theatre Company in the presentation of two shows Do I? on Friday 8 October at 8.30pm and Jailbirds on Saturday 9 October at 6.30pm. Do I? is a highly audience interactive improv wedding. You never know who might walk out of the ceremony as newlyweds… it could be anyone! Jailbirds is inspired by hit TV show, 'Orange is the New Black', in which the Body in Space Improv Troupe will invent three female prisoners based on audience suggestions. Who will you end up rooting for in this dog-eat-dog world?

Also from the south island are Meegwai Productions in The Story Cabaret on Tuesday 6 October at 8.30pm. Expect a night of solo stories woven with truth and heartbreak, then sprinkled with whimsy. Sit by the fire, raise a glass, and lose yourself in our most luxurious desire for story. Improsaurus from Dunedin come to Wellington on Friday 9 October at 6.30pm with [Insert Show Here] - a show created by festival guests less than 24 hours before they perform! Since 2011 they have performed a fortnightly show at the Fortune Theatre Studio. They have also performed various shows around the country, in 2014 represented New Zealand at the AACT WorldFest in Venice, Florida, and this February in front of a 3000-strong audience at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

The New Zealand Improvisation Festival also features Wellington performers Best on Tap, GEAR Productions, The Improvisers and Jonny Potts as well as Christchurch's The Court Jesters and NZIF Ensemble works lead by some of New Zealand’s best improvisers. Tickets to shows can be purchased via the BATS Theatre website on (coming soon).

For media enquiries, please contact Festival Publicist, Pippa Drakeford // 0224762036