Wellington Scoop

Improv Fest will be close to home, short and sharp next month

Press Release – NZIF

Every year improvisers from around the globe gather in Wellington to celebrate the New Zealand Improv Festival (NZIF), but COVID-19 has put a roadblock on those looking to arrive from further afield. Returning to its roots this year with a Close to Home programme, the NZIF is featuring seventeen shows by Wellington’s most innovative improvisers between 3-10 October.

A smaller, more intimate festival will give Wellingtonians a great chance to be a part of the thriving local improvisation community. With a diverse programme covering multiple cultures, genres and forms of improv – the 2020 NZIF will be a short and sharp showcase that captures the spirit and aroha of Wellington theatre.

Festival director Jennifer O’Sullivan says, “We have built the festival on a platform of collaboration and connection, reaching nationally and internationally and bringing together amazing talent and perspectives.” From a darkly gothic romp, to environmentalist storytelling, to a musical within a musical, our 2020 Festival celebrates the diverse work created by our local artists and the loves, laughs, tears and tantrums we’ve all felt this year.

O’Sullivan continues, “Of course, the current situation has thrown a lot of our international work out the window, at least for this year – but instead we’ve got this wonderful opportunity to really explore and celebrate what’s happening in our city; to highlight the people and companies making work year round and pushing the art form into new exciting places. I’m so proud of the programme we’ve gathered.”

The festival is not just focussing on strictly improv-based performances this year – delving further into wider theatrical styles. “We wanted to not only include the purely improv performers in Wellington, but also bring in work and creators who use the framework of improv and spontaneity to support more traditional theatre and performance,” O’Sullivan says, “It’s so valuable to see how our work overlaps and how we can learn from each other’s processes.”

Our split online and in-person programme will be able to be performed under both COVID Alert Levels 1 and 2 – though seats will be limited under Level 2, and social distancing will be adhered to.

We invite Wellingtonians to join us at BATS Theatre from 3-10 of October and celebrate the best and exciting works our artists have to offer. We are grateful to even be able to open our doors at a time like this, and we’d love to share the experience with you.

The New Zealand Improv Festival is being performed at BATS Theatre in Wellington from Saturday 3rd to Saturday 10th of October with several live shows from Tuesday-Saturday. For more details, visit improvfest.nz. Tickets can be purchased from bats.co.nz.

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