Improv shows are always different depending on the energy of the performers, the prompts they are given, and the energy of the audience. Most of the ones I’ve seen in Wellington have been entertaining. Some are sublime and contain moments of pure theatrical genius. The kind where the whole audience holds its breathe then exhales in delight at what they are seeing.

The typical expectation of improv is that it will be funny but there are many variations and structures for players to use. The New Zealand Improv Festival will showcase them all.  On from 6-10 October, the festival will take over BATS Theatre in five frantic days of original theatre. There are 20 shows and 20 workshops, featuring three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington. (The final show is New Zealand VS The World. I’m expecting to see several of the Wellington crew featured in that based on their talent. Plus there are lots of them.)

Show inspirations range from Wes Anderson to musical improv to genealogy to Orange is the new black. There’ll also be a chance to see improvisors from different companies work together plus solo performances.

If you’ve never seen improv live before then this is a nice way to introduce yourself to it. If you have seen it, well I imagine you’ll already have some tickets. Whether there are ask-fors* or not, I promise you’ll see something unique that will never been seen again.

*where the performers get a suggestion or prompt from the audience.