Show Us What You've Got! Submissions Open

Submissions are now open for the 11th New Zealand Improv Festival, held at BATS Theatre 7-19 October 2019.

Before you begin, make sure you've read through our recent blog post about this year’s festival, read the rest of this post, and found your most up-to-date bios (personal and company as applicable). Once you've logged in/signed up, you can make your submissions, save partly-finished submissions for later, and check out what you've already sent through. You'll also be able to use this system to register for workshops later in the year.

The website for making your submissions is
The deadline for all submissions is 28 July 2019.

Marea Colombo in  Swipe Right , NZIF 2018. Photo by Damon Smith

Marea Colombo in Swipe Right, NZIF 2018. Photo by Damon Smith

Registrations from last year’s festival will log you in. If you have any trouble logging in, please get in touch and we’ll help you out. Don’t make a new account if you already have one!

Now check out the finer details about what we’re asking you to submit at this time, and remember to get in touch if you have any questions.



Workshops kick off Saturday 12 October and run til Saturday 19 October. All workshops will be 3 hours (including an optional short break) and will take place at BATS Theatre or nearby. Weekend workshops will run 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 5pm, weekdays will run 10am - 1pm.

We also have opportunities for teachers to work with our youth programme 7-9 October. This will be a 2 hour version of whatever you’re offering, tailored to suit teens. You’ll be asked if you’re interested being considered for this on the registration form.


You’re an experienced internationally travelling teacher, a NZ-based improvisor who’s a regular at NZIF, or a local hero who's never taught at a festival before. Either way, you've got ideas and skills, and you're passionate about sharing them with other improvisors. You can plan and teach a workshop with clear aims and outcomes. What skills will participants leave with? What will they be better at? What will they have learned? This applies to skills-based workshops as well as format-driven ones - we want you to know what you are giving participants. You're prepared to discuss your plans with festival staff and take advantage of support offered; we want you to succeed and to develop as a teacher while also providing an awesome experience to our participants. 

You've got a workshop that offers something like:

  • targeted scene work / skill development

  • new approaches to improvisation

  • Associated skills: mime, dance, scenography, other

  • Company specific expertise in a shareable form

  • Workshops linked to performances (see Performance info below)

  • Something new we haven’t thought of!

You have a clear sense of who the workshop is targeted at, regardless of the content. Generally we're using the following classification of improvisors:

  • 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

Your workshop can be aimed at a mix of these but you should have a clear idea of how you will present that. Be wary of trying to please everybody at the risk of pleasing nobody. You'll also receive feedback from participants after the festival.


Workshop teachers will receive 4-7 nights accommodation, a participant pack*, and $200 per 3 hour workshop taught/directed. You will be provided with an appropriate room to teach in, workshop materials if needed (paper, pens, sound tech etc), and we will work with you to ensure you have what you need. You will also have access to workshop development materials to ensure high quality experiences for participants.




We're keen to see a bigger programme of work from existing ensembles and companies - we had a wee taste of this last year with our anniversary return performances, and it made us realise we’ve missed it! This will present work from around New Zealand in 2-3 night seasons on the Random Stage. It’s thrilling to see well-oiled improv machines at the height of their powers, plus, it gives audiences more opportunities to see this kind of work.

Lliam Amor and Lou Maconachie in  The Unicorn Cabaret , NZIF 2018. Photo by Joel Luscombe

Lliam Amor and Lou Maconachie in The Unicorn Cabaret, NZIF 2018. Photo by Joel Luscombe


It’s the school holidays! There’s kids about! We want to see some awesome improv for primary school aged kids. These will run 9-11 October at 11am and 1pm. We have space for two seasons, and we’d like these to be part of the mini-seasons - that is, existing ensembles presenting NZ work.


Running in the Heyday Dome at 7pm each night, these will be led by experienced directors and will present new work - that is, new to the Festival or making its overall debut. Casting will be determined by those directors in association with festival management.


We want you all to play together! So we’re bringing back the short form fun. These will include 1 hour rehearsals on the afternoon before you perform - this is to ensure everyone’s on the same page about what you’re doing together, and provides more chances to play together even if there’s no audience for them. Not sure yet what form the shows will take, but watch this space. These will run at 9pm in the Heyday Dome.


  • Directors and MCs for ALL IN

    • These will be selected by the festival and full guidance will be provided, no pitching is necessary. Performer sign up will come during general registration.

  • Directors for NEW WORK

    • Your show concept may be your own personal show you've performed and directed before, or perhaps your company created it and is happy for you (up to two directors) to come and present it at NZIF (with full credit given). It could be a recently developed show that has not been presented at NZIF before, or an international show making its NZ debut. You'll be leading a workshop teaching participants the necessary skills and techniques to pull the show off, aimed at intermediate improvisors.

    • You're an experienced improvisor (or pair of improvisors) with a track record of directing great work. You've got a half-baked idea that explores something new in the world of improv, whether that's a new format, a new technique, a new theory of our art. You need experienced improvisors to workshop your ideas with, and an audience to test it on. Despite the idea being half baked (or maybe even still entirely uncooked) you understand what it means to present work to a paying audience and have the experience to give them and your performers a great time. You'll lead a workshop for experienced improvisors exploring and developing your format.

    • International directors welcomed! Nay, encouraged!


    • You’re an existing NZ ensemble with a show you’ve done before, or a great idea for a new show that you’re keen to develop for NZIF. You have a cast of no more than 6 (you can have more if you’re based in Wellington, we just have financial constraints to manage). You’re prepared to deliver it at a high standard as part of our showcase demonstrating the best of NZ improvisation.


  • Participants in the ALL IN get high fives and extreme thanks. You also receive an hour’s directed rehearsal on the night of your performance.  

  • Directors of NEW WORK will receive 4-7 nights accommodation, a participant pack*, and $200 per 3 hour workshop taught/directed. We have budget for set, costume and props (exact amount to be confirmed) and will work with you to ensure you have what you need.

  • Presenters of the MINI SEASON/IMPROV FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES will receive $100 per performance collectively, and five nights accommodation & participant packs for up to 6 performers. We have budget for set, costume and props (exact amount to be confirmed) and will work with you to ensure you have what you need.


The NZ Improv Festival is committed to accessibility, inclusivity, quality and respect for our audience, and we want our programming decisions and choices to reflect that commitment.

In making a submission, registering for the festival, or otherwise participating, you (directors, teachers, and participants) commit to honouring our Code of Conduct, and will be asked to confirm this before submitting your pitches. We will be updating this as we learn more about best practice and will keep all participants informed of any changes.  

Payment for services is in recognition of their commitment to prepare and deliver a valuable experience for all participants. Any programmed teacher or director looking for support to prepare their work will be assisted to the best of the Festival’s abilities. All workshop teachers receive the same fee.

Registration for workshops will open later in the year. The cost of workshops for participants primarily takes into account: payment for teachers, room hire, festival overheads, participant benefits (social events, tickets to shows etc). Concession prices will be available and we ask anyone who may need financial or other assistance to talk to us as soon as you can.

Your participant pack includes your festival pass, info sheets about the fest and opportunities, and a wee bit of swag. Your festival pass is your ID for the week - it’s a lanyard you wear throughout the week to signal your involvement in 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, and access any discounts we can wrangle for participants. Please note: Workshops are not included, but you'll be able to book for these along with everyone else when registrations open.


If you have any more questions please contact Jennifer O'Sullivan, and make sure you've joined our NZIF Green Room on Facebook.