by Happy Feraren, Festival Director
Less than a week to go.
The Australian Improv Festival is nearly here and some of our international performers have arrived in Sydney, so for us, it’s already begun! I’m a mixed bag of emotions – worried, stressed, cold, hungry, excited and sleepy.
Improv comes to life in a different way during festivals – it’s a non-stop celebration from bump in to the after party. And even if you’ve never met these people before, it will feel like a reunion of friends you never knew you had.
Festivals like this are done for the community to celebrate the joy of improv and an invitation to discover new ways of playing and collaborating.
Find Your Tribe
Festivals are a fantastic opportunity to find your tribe and make your world just a little bigger than it used to be. It’s a great community and the attitude of openness is infectious. It’s common to find improvisers posting on online groups saying “Hey I’m headed to <whatever city>” and within minutes people will start tagging each other saying they should meet up and all. And that’s what a festival feels like – people are just ready to jump in and play. There will be no ice to be broken, only connections as exciting as a Mind Meld to be made.
With eleven different groups coming to the Australian Improv Festival, the variety of performance styles in each show will ensure that we always see something new – it could be the smallest detail like how a group gets a suggestion from the audience or something bigger like a format or style we’ve never seen before. Getting exposed to a range of improvised performances helps inspire the improv scene to keep on pushing and evolving the artform.
Learn New Things
Improv as you know it is not improv in its entirety. It’s constantly evolving and festivals are a great way to see what’s out there. Workshops are particularly helpful in learning new techniques, ideas, methods, that your regular classes wouldn’t usually cover. It’s not often that you have guest teachers coming to your city so festivals are a perfect time to learn something new and discover more things about improv.
The After Party
I cannot speak for Sydney since it hasn’t happened yet! But, in the spirit of improv festivals around the world, each one has its own after party “brand.” In my experience, I’ve seen parties with international dance offs, silent karaoke, DJs in a costume, people jumping through hoops like human-dolphins, rap battles in front of a 7-eleven and I have even witnessed my own senior citizen stage parents partying on a roof deck til 3am because they could not be stopped leading line dances and singing Beatles songs on a karaoke machine. True story.
Ultimately, we are doing this for you, the community. We want you all to have a great time and experience improv in a whole different level. If budget is your issue, don’t let it stop you, send us a message and we can work something out so that you can take that workshop you really want to and join in all the fun.
This is it and here we go!