Frequently-Asked Questions

How does NZIF work… for participants?

NZIF welcomes any and all improvisors who find themselves in Wellington during 20-27 October 2018. 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. Almost 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 tenth 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 $20/$15, book groups of 6 tickets for $14 each, or book a three show pass for $45. 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?

Visit our very beautiful registration website and click the link that says ‘Register now!’.

What does it cost?

Individual workshops cost $60 and include two show tickets (one for the big 20th October show, and another to the show of your choice). Individual show tickets cost $15 (you generally get concession rates). 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
1 2 $90.00 $60.00
2 3 $165.00 $110.00
3 4 $240.00 $160.00
4 5 $315.00 $205.00
5 6 $390.00 $250.00
6 6 $450.00 $285.00
7 6 $510.00 $315.00
8 6 $570.00 $340.00
9 6 $630.00 $365.00
10 6 $690.00 $390.00
11 6 $750.00 $400.00

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

I want to see more shows/The show I want is booked out! How? Why?

Fret not! 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:

  • The easiest way is to book a ticket through BATS, which you can do any time from now until the doors open. You can do so at concession rates.
  • If you’re feeling lucky, any paid-up Festival participant will have access to standby comps on the door. You’ll need your participant pass and to put your name down with the BATS Box Office on the night.

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 rego 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 Jen 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 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 apply for our Financial Assistance programme, 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. We always aim for lots of opportunities. Here’s how it’s laid out:

Return performances

These are cast by the company before the festival, and feature (where possible) the original cast from its first NZIF outing.

General showcase

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.

NZIF Gala & NZ vs The World

These shows are by invitation only. NZIF Gala will be cast ahead of the festival. 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 jam on Monday 22 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.

My registration says I’m on the waitlist. What does that mean?

We have a waitlisting system in place for workshops this year. ‘Earlybird’ registrations were all those that came in before 1 October, where participants told us their preferences per workshop slot. Regular registrations are those between 1 October and the end of the festival, which are on a first-come-first-serve basis. Things work a little different depending on when you registered, so read closely!

Getting on a waitlist:

  • (Earlybird only) If you are allocated to a workshop that is not your first choice, you will be added to a waitlist for your first choice in that slot, and for any other workshops you added during registration as a higher priority. For example, if you gave four preferences and you get your third choice, you'll be added to waitlists for your first and second choice, but not your fourth.
  • (Regular registrations) You may add yourself to any number of waitlists during registration. These are considered to have equal priority to you.
  • If you want to be taken off a waitlist you can go in and edit your registration, otherwise we will assume you want to be switched if the opportunity arises.
  • The Festival Team reserves the right to add to or edit waitlists at their discretion to improve the overall participant experience.

When a space becomes available in a workshop with a waitlist:

  • The person at the top of that waitlist is immediately and automatically given that spot, and receives a notification by email.
  • Any other waitlist spots that person had for workshops in that slot with the same or lower priority are automatically removed. This means:
  • (Earlybird) If you're in your third choice workshop and a spot opens up for you in your first choice, you will no longer be on the waitlist for your second choice
  • (Regular) Since there's no priority for your waitlists, you'll be removed from all other waitlists in the same slot. You can go back into your registration and add yourself to the waitlists again, but you'll be at the back of the queue. This is to give everyone a fair chance.
  • If accepting this new place increases your total number of workshops, you will have some money to pay. The exact amount depends on your total number of workshops: you still get the bulk discount, so going from 5 to 6 selections is cheaper than going from 1 to 2. You can do this through the registration site. We won't be total hardasses about when we need this money, but we might chase you if you haven't paid by the time you leave town :)
  • If moving you out of your current choice opens up a gap for someone else, the process is repeated until all open spaces have been filled.
  • Please note: once you get moved into a workshop, the only way back into the one you were moved out of is via the back of the queue.

If you can't make it to a workshop:

  • Please indicate this as soon as possible, either by telling a Festival Team member (ideally Alley or Matt), or by removing yourself using the registration software, at least one hour before the workshop is due to start. This is to ensure whoever gets your spot has adequate notice.
  • WARNING: We cannot refund you for a workshop you did not attend if you didn't tell us you weren't coming! If this seems harsh, consider that pretty much all our workshops are full and someone could have attended in your place, so we really need you to be diligent about this and appreciate that a place in a workshop is a pretty valuable commodity.

If you are confused about where to go:

  • There will be someone in the foyer at BATS before the start of each workshop session who will have access to up-to-date attendee lists, so be early to workshops.
  • The best thing is to have the registration site bookmarked on your phone and check before each session. You'll be able to see which workshop you're attending and which space you're supposed to be in.
  • Please be sure to check your email regularly during the Festival.

If you don't get into a workshop you were waitlisted for:

  • We're real sorry.
  • You'll only pay for workshops you got into (whether or not you made it to the workshop is on you).
  • If you already paid for that slot (e.g. during earlybird registration), we'll refund you for any workshop slots you missed out on.
  • Note that this does NOT mean you get a refund if you missed out on your first choice but got your second instead.

Show waitlists:

  • Work pretty much as above, except that there's only one stream, so the process is a bit simpler.
  • Same deal about letting us know if you can't attend. Show seats are in even higher demand than workshop spots. Help us fill the theatre!

These changes have been introduced this year in response to particpant feedback and in an attempt to make sure we give everyone a fair go. That said, we know the process isn't perfect! We welcome your feedback and will be listening carefully so we can make next year even better!

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:

  • Rookie: < 1 year, has learned the basics, limited performance experience
  • Intermediate: 2-4 years, strong foundation, general performance experience
  • Experienced: 4+ years, extensive performance experience, director/teacher

Open access is a mix of these - check the workshop description for more information about who it is perfect for.

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 20 October at 10am. We wrap things up late on Saturday 27 October, so leaving on the 28th 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 catering for you at the YHA (across the road from BATS). 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 Facebook 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?

  • Direct people to BATS Theatre/Hannah Playhouse to book their tickets!
  • Direct people to for general information!
  • Invite your friends to our social media - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
  • Hand out fliers! Put up a poster at your office! Ask us how!
  • Do you have media contacts and can help us get a story out there? Tell us!

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 2018’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 festival and you should get a response promptly.

Festival Director: Jennifer O’Sullivan
Ask about: anything that isn’t listed below, how many festivals is too many festivals (trick question)

Assistant Producer: Patrick Davies
Ask about: admin, team comms, general support, being at some of the first improv workshops in NZ in the late 80s/early 90s

Production Manager: Keely McCann
Ask about: production requirements, tech times, her multiple times in Edinburgh

Marketing Coordinator: Christine Luiten
Ask about: marketing campaigns, photography, being a rad vegan

Publicist: Brianne Kerr
Ask about: publicity opportunities, VIPs, social media, her recent holiday in Rarotonga

Workshop Coordinator: Alley Lane
Ask about: workshop locations and supplies, schedules, teacher/director accommodation, her cat

Participant Liaison: Maria Williams
Ask about: local deals, social events, where you need to go for workshops, her NZIF Karaoke rendition of Believe by Cher

Registration Coordinator/Web Pixie: Matt Powell
Ask about: The registration website, waiting lists, where he got that amazing jacket

Something is broken on this flippin’ website!

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

  • What you were trying to do
  • What you expected to happen
  • What actually happened instead.

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!

Make sure you’re a member of our facebook group, NZIF Green Room. Check through both our websites (,, ask in the group, check your emails. And if you still have questions, just ask us :)