Frequently-Asked Questions

How does NZIF work… for participants?

NZIF welcomes any and all improvisors who find themselves in Wellington during 14–21 October 2017. There are workshops you can sign up for, shows you can watch (and possibly perform in), networking/forum sessions covering various industry topics, and plenty of opportunities for chill/fun/epic social times. All shows are cast and created the week of the festival. Participants come as individuals (but often bring along company mates) and everyone seems to have a pretty great time! This is our ninth festival and we make changes and tweaks as needed each year to make sure we’re best serving the improv community.

How does NZIF work… for the public?

All tickets are on sale from BATS Theatre, and the public can book individual tickets for $18/$15, book groups of 6 tickets for $14 each, or book a three show pass for $39/30. They get to watch us do amazing improv and admire us from afar. If someone asks about it from an audience perspective, send them to or

How do I sign up?

Why, please step this way!

What does it cost?

Individual workshops cost $60 and include one show ticket. Individual show tickets cost $14 (or three for $30 if you buy a season pass). But we’ve packaged everything up like a sweet burger combo. Each package gets you a participant pack with some sweet trinkets and info, and access to all social and networking events across the week. Here’s all the options (along with what it would cost if for some reason we made you buy everything individually which we really would never do but aren’t numbers fun?):

Workshops Shows Total value Package price
Package 1 1 1 $74 $60
Package 2 2 2 $148 $110
Package 3 3 3 $222 $150
Package 4 4 4 $306 $190
Package 5 5 5 $370 $220
Package 6 6 5 $430 $240
Package 7 7 5 $490 $260
Package 8 8 5 $550 $280
Package 9 9 5 $610 $330
Package 10 10 5 $670 $315
Package 11 11 5 $730 $330

When you go to sign up, the total price you’ve booked for will display at the bottom of the page, so you can quickly see what you are getting yourself into.

I want to see more than five shows/The show I want to see says it’s booked out! How? Why?

If the registration form says something is booked out, that just means that we’ve allocated as many tickets as we can to NZIF participant registrations (we spread the love around so that all the shows get their share). We’re working within a number of constraints (number of participants, number of seats in the building, desire to maximise access to the public etc) and we hope we’ve balanced things pretty well. Even so, if you want more tickets or have missed out through registration, there are definitely other ways to get in to see shows:

Note that standby tickets will only be available if the show hasn't sold out, so your best bet is always to get a ticket in advance, whether as part of your registration package or at box office. Our advice is to get in early with your registration and book for the shows you can’t bear to miss.

Can I use all of my registration tickets on the same show and bring a posse?

Sorry, tickets purchased as part of your registration are your personal property and can’t be transferred. This means that we can’t let you book multiple tickets to the same show with your Festival registration. Still encourage your friends to book, though! I bet they’ll love it.

Having said that, if you get cast in a show you got a ticket to, and want to invite your significant other/BFF/mum along to use that ticket, we’re cool with that :)

I got carried away at karaoke and slept through a workshop. Can I go to a different one instead?

Yikes! Once your place in a workshop is booked and the workshop’s started, that’s it. It wouldn’t be fair to other participants who missed out on that slot if we gave it away to you for nothing.

If you miss a workshop due to something less self-inflicted (illness, festival emergency etc) talk to Clare and she’ll see what she can do.

Why does it cost this much? What am I paying for?

In one sense, what you’re paying for is very simple. You’re paying for a workshop led by a rad teacher, and you get a ticket to a show plus all participant privileges (standby comp tickets, drink specials when available, trinkets, social events, networking, a really fun time).

In another sense though, you’re helping us keep this festival going. We have set costs we need to cover — venue fees, room hire, tech equipment, festival team, production crew, special events, marketing... boy howdy the list goes on. Some of that cost is covered by the box office and by our funding, but we do need to make sure we keep this thing ticking along and don’t bury ourselves in a empty money hole.

We don’t differentiate in price between the different workshops. This means full day, half day, world premiere, spontaneous showcase and general workshops are equal in price. This is to ensure accessibility of all workshops, encouraging participants to register based on their interest/needs rather than their budget.

I can’t afford to participate. What can I do?

Talk to us! There are ways of participating that don’t cost the earth. You can volunteer in the festival team, arrange to pay in installments, or talk to us directly and we will try to find something that is mutually beneficial.

What does being a participant mean?

You’re part of the whānau (family). You’ve signed up for a workshop, you’re teaching or directing, you’re one of our crew, you’re a volunteer… You get a festival pass, and can come to any and all events during the week (note: workshops and shows require that you book but you generally have free access!).

What’s the deal with the Code of Conduct?

There’s heaps to read on this and you can do so here

What’s the deal with Festival passes?

A festival pass is a literal pass - it’s a lanyard you wear throughout the week to signal your involvement in the festival. Everyone in the festival will get one - whether you're a programmed teacher or performer, signed up for a workshop, or volunteering for the festival. As well as access to standby tickets, this sweet lanyard means you will be invited to any and all social and networking events during the week.

Please wear the pass (or have it on you) at festival events and at BATS Theatre. You must present it in order to go on the standby list at BATS for tickets — they will put your name on a list and when they know how many empty seats are available, they'll call your name if you can get in. First in first served, and you can only put your name down on the night.

Your pass also gets you the Whānau discount at Lumen, the BATS bar (20% discount on any beverage). Again, the staff will refuse you if you do not have your pass.

Note: The Festival team will have a different colour pass to general participants. Not sure what colour yet. Maybe gold? Or glittery!

I selected a show when I registered. What’s the call time?

Whoa, hold on! Choosing a show in your package means you want to watch the show. Casting for shows is up to the show’s director (even if you attend a casting workshop: casting policies for these are available in the workshop descriptions).

Why don't I get more stage time at NZIF?

This is a really common question asked both in person and raised on the feedback form. The way the festival is set up this year, we’re aiming to have a good spread of opportunities. Here’s how it’s laid out:


EVERYONE can be in this show. You just need to be a festival participant and you can throw your name in! We’ll be opening sign ups for this soon, and you’ll be put into a team on one of the nights. We’ll also be shoulder-tapping people to MC and direct. The show is 75 minutes long and we’re hoping to give everyone a good play with a fun bunch of new people.

Spontaneous Showcase & World Premieres

These are the shows where directors lead a workshop and then cast from that workshop. Directors are welcome to consult with the festival director for suggestions, who will encourage diversity of casting, but the final cast is entirely up to them. We’ll also ask directors to talk to each other about their casting decisions to further encourage diversity. Remember that their priority is putting together the best cast for their show, with an eye on representation across the festival.

Late Night Knife Fight & NZ vs The World

These shows are by invitation only. LNKF will be cast ahead of the festival, 6-8 players having a very silly time. For NZ vs the World, Jen will be casting two teams (NZers and Worlders). We will be asking for input during the week about people that just delight you: they’re fun to play with, they’re generous, they’re great performers, and you want to see more of them. We want the last show to be a real celebration of the ethos of improvisation - making each other look good and putting on a good show for our audience.

It's possible that you will be disappointed by missing out on a particular casting opportunity. Know that there are many elements that go into the casting of a show, and directors must balance the needs of the show format with the desire to create opportunities for participants, while often having limited or negligible rehearsal time.

The best we can offer: come along to the Opening Night Jam on Monday 3 October and get up and play, so that you can interact with lots of players; be available for call times; and just bring your happy, healthy self to workshops and social times. If you have concerns during the week you’re more than welcome to raise them with Jen.

Further notes on workshops with casting opportunities

As teacher of a casting workshop, we ask that you ensure you are teaching more than just training for the show. We hope that those not cast in the performance will take away just as much as those who are.

As a participant of said workshop, we hope that your engagement is on the level of skills development, not ‘how do I get noticed?’ Please don’t sign up for workshops purely because of the performance opportunity, nor use the time during the workshop to showboat or distract from the lessons offered by the teacher. In any case, even if you don’t get to perform you should walk away an improved improvisor with new insights into your work.

Notes on workshop quality

This will always be somewhat subjective - we've all taken workshops that have changed our lives while leaving others completely cold. But we do ask that all tutors pitch their workshops accurately, that they balance class size with opportunity to play, and that they have clear learning objectives for participants. We also offer feedback on workshop plans to all facilitators and welcome feedback from participants.

What if I book a ticket for a show and then I get cast in that show?

If you’ve booked it through the BATS Box Office, they will either a) swap your ticket for a different show or b) refund you if you paid in advance. The refund part is at their discretion but they’re not jerks.

If you booked it through a workshop package, jump into the registration site and select a different show (note: this is subject to availability).

If you’re feeling generous, give your ticket to someone you like who wants to come and hasn’t got a ticket already!

How do I know if a workshop is right for me?

Our workshops are marked with their recommended experience level. Here’s how we loosely classify y’all:

The categories (rookie, intermediate, experienced) are a guideline only; we recognise that no two improvisors’ journeys are the same. We ask that participants be honest and practical with their self-evaluation.

Apart from checking the recommended experience level, things you should ask yourself: does this content excite me? Have I taken a workshop with this teacher before? Is this workshop covering something missing in my current improv? Will it stretch me? Will it bring me joy? Follow your heart, friends!

When should I be in Wellington?

Workshops start on the morning of Saturday 14 October at 10am. We wrap things up late on Saturday 21 October, so leaving on the 22nd is probably best. Give yourself time for a sleep in, though.

Where do we sleep?

Anywhere that will have you! If you’re running a workshop and you’re from out of town, we are looking after you and will be in touch to confirm things if we haven’t already. If you’re simply an enthusiastic attendee, great! Aim for somewhere close to Courtenay Place or Cuba St. The central city is very walkable and our buses are pretty good. If you need a recommendation, flick us an email or ask in the FB group.

What's the deal with merch?

We will have t-shirts and hoodies available for pre-order, and other fun trinkets as we so desire to put into your participant packs. Note: you must pre-order your t-shirt or hoody, or else miss out on the lovely swag.

How can I help spread the word?

My company/troupe/collection of people wants to participate! Is there space for us?

Heck yes! You’ll note from earlier answers that this isn’t a company-focused festival. We’ve already programmed 2017’s directors and teachers so we can’t fit you in there, sadly. But if you and your gang want to come and take workshops and join us for the fun, please do!

Is the festival interested in what I think about all this?

Absolutely. Every year we run a participant survey after the festival to find out what we did right, and what we can improve on. If you have constructive thoughts during the week, you’re welcome to get in touch.

Who’s running this thing? Who should I ask about the stuff?

Full contact details will be provided on arrival at the fest. In the meantime use FB or talk to any of the people below and they’ll direct you.

General enquiries: 022 526 1519 or
At least one of the team will be staffing this phone and email during the week and you should get a response promptly.
Jennifer o'sullivan copy Festival Director: Jennifer O'Sullivan
Ask Jen about casting, creative decisions, and pretty much anything else but only if you can’t find someone else who can answer your question.
Clare kerrison profile Producer & Workshop Coordinator: Clare Kerrison
Ask Clare about workshop locations, registrations, t-shirts, and her 7 years in the UK.
Production Manager: Kris Evans Fee
Ask this guy about tech time scheduling, set/lighting requirements, call times, safety briefings, and what it’s like being an MFA student.
Technical Design/Operation: Darryn Woods
Matt powell Magic Web Pixie: Matt Powell
Ask Matt about any issues with (i.e. your workshop booking system), Improdome, and his cat Trip.
Musical Director: Liam Kelly
Ask Liam about musician scheduling and programming and his excellent beard.

Something is broken on this flippin’ website!

Oh man, we’re sorry! Please email, our official Magic Web Pixie, and let him know:

Screenshots and web addresses (copy and paste what’s in the address bar at the top of your browser) are definitely helpful! There’s chocolate in it for you if your bug report helps us find and fix something for the next person.

Please, I have more questions!

And if you still have questions, just ask us :)