Spotlight On: Jim Fishwick

Jim Fishwick.png

Jim Fishwick is an award-winning director, and performer based in Sydney, Australia. He specialises in interactive, intimate and immersive modes of performance, and is the General Manager of Jetpack Theatre Collective. A national champion improvisor, Jim performs and teaches improvised theatre around Australia and the world.

Tell us a bit about your show and the idea behind it, and why/how it excites you.
The Intrepid Bazaar is an interactive, immersive... something. I really can't tell you any more than that. Not because I don't want to, but because I don't know yet! The cast will be devising it during the festival. I'm as curious as you are to find out what they come up with. I'm really interested in exploring what's essential about theatre, especially when so much culture is available on screens and on demand. What does it mean to go to the theatre? I try to use the presence of a live audience, their reactions and interactions, as a load-bearing pillar in my shows, to make shows that tell stories with an audience, as well as for them.

What show other than your own are you most excited to see? Why?
What, just one show? Yikes! Matt Powell's Don't See This Show Alone looks terrifying (in a good way), and Christine Brooks is a genius so The Restaurant will be awesome, but one of my highlights from last year that I'm really looking forward to seeing again is Improdome, because seeing strangers together flying by the seat of their pants/brains is just so. much. fun.

What's the best thing about improv?
Whoever I'm on stage with.

How would you describe your personal improv style?
I try to be emotionally articulate, honestly present, and artfully supportive. But really these ideals are often expressed in the form of puns.

Weirdest/best way improv has helped you in daily life?
It doesn't come up often, but whenever someone needs the concept of a 'non-geographical location' explained to them, boy am I ready.
I used to be much more of an extrovert and a show-off. Since I started performing regularly I've now got an outlet to get that out of my system, so it's made me a much calmer person day-to-day.

What's going on in the improv world where you are?
The number of people who've taken or are taking classes in Sydney has gone up quite quickly in the last few years, so there are a lot more people looking for places to do shows, so there are a lot more shows, so we're starting to see boom in the variety of shows.

What's going to be the NEXT BIG THING in improv?
A lot of theatres are working to improve their policies around inclusivity and diversity. I'm super excited to see what impact that has on the type of work being produced.

Any Improv/Theatre/Comedy heroes?
I'm in awe of Parallellogramophonograph (Austin, Texas), for the way that they combine genre with theatricality with production value with sheer improv dynamism. I think their way of working at the Hideout Theatre is a model for how to make a great community that makes great work.

Make up your own question and answer it!
Probably about twice a week. Maybe more if I could find enough quality flour.

Jim directs The Intrepid Bazaar at The Scruffy Bunny, 5:30pm-7:30pm Wednesday 18 October and Thursday 19 October. Our full programme runs 17-21 October, and tickets are on sale now!