Get ready for Theatresports at the Brisbane Comedy Festival!
Brisbane's best improvisers will battle it out for stage supremacy at the Brisbane Comedy Festival this winter.
The Theatresports Grand Championships have been a regular feature at the festival for many years, but for the first time in 2021 will host a grand final in the Powerhouse Theatre.
So, what should you expect from this tournament of quick wits and theatrical derring-do?
ImproMafia President Wade Robinson says Theatresports was originally inspired by professional wrestling, which encourages fans to rally behind teams and players.
“The camaraderie between the audience and the performers is always key to make a great Theatresports show,” he says.
“Teams and players have big on-stage personas, and audiences are encouraged to cheer on their faves.”
Theatresports involves teams being challenged to perform various types of scenes or 'games', which incorporate audience suggestions.
“So you might be asked to name a location, an occupation, an object, or a quest,” Wade says.
“You don’t have to be funny or clever with your suggestions – simple ideas work just as well to inspire performers, and there’s literally nothing you can say that will faze us.”
Scenes generally last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes each, meaning the 75-minute final will be packed with moments of comedy gold. If you’ve ever seen an episode of 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?' you’ll have an idea of the fun in store.
“The best part about Theatresports is the nature of the show as a tightrope walk. There’s an element of danger in improvisation, because sometimes things just don’t work,” Wade says.
“But the joy of learning impro – and we teach this in our workshops – is that failing is essential. People need to see the blunders, so that when they see the moments of pure genius, they understand that was a moment in time created just for them, and will never be repeated.”
ImproMafia is Brisbane’s longest-running impro company, having formed in 2004.
Launching as a fun social outlet for friends, the company has expanded from small pub shows into theatres, festivals and a highly-regarded training programme.
Wade has been there from the beginning.
“Improvisation is such a powerful and accessible art form,” he says. “It changes lives for people who try it, whether it’s in a performance capability, or to improve life skills like public speaking or work presentations.”
“Above all else, it’s pure fun, and with a line-up like we have, the Theatresports Grand Championship final is going to be a blast.”
The Theatresports Grand Championships was set to take place at Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane Comedy Festival) 8 August, but it has been postponed due to COVID-19. New dates TBA.