Birmingham's First Improv Festival Launches 21 October!

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Some of the best Improv companies and artists will descend on Birmingham from Friday 21 - Sunday 23 October for the city's inaugural Birmingham Improv Festival 2016.

Birmingham Improv Festival 2016 offers audiences three days of completely improvised plays, musicals, sketches, puppets, costume dramas, and much more, in the intimate setting of the Blue Orange Theatre in the city's famous Jewellery Quarter.

The three day event features some of the biggest and best Improv artists including Dudley born actress and Improv Queen Josie Lawrence, best remembered for the acclaimed series Whose Line Is It Anyway, some of the cast of the West End's Olivier Award winning improvised musical Showstopper! As well as the UK's premier improv comedy troupe Noise Next Door who come straight from the Edinburgh Festival.

Festival Director Jon Trevor from Birmingham based Box of Frogs said "I've been running 'toadally' free improv comedy nights at Blue Orange Theatre for several years now and they have become very successful. I know there's an ever growing public interest in this art form and it's only a matter of time before it becomes really big here. It feels the right time to present a dedicated festival, a natural progression which I hope will bring the fascinating world of Improv to a much wider audience.

"This is a unique opportunity for people to be part of the first festival of its kind in Birmingham in what I believe to be a great festival city. Audiences can expect the unexpected, with lots of twists and turns, in fact nobody knows how each performance will pan out it really is relying on audience participation. I want people to immerse themselves and just have a really memorable and fun night out."

The Festival aims to put Birmingham on the Improv map, and Improv on the Birmingham map. To bring together the best improvised comedy performers in the UK and beyond. Providing a chance to watch top-quality improvised performances throughout the weekend.

As well as the main stage performances the festival will be running a series of exciting Improv Workshops providing the public with the chance to work with world-class professional practitioners and performers and explore Improv in more detail. The workshops will include Improv for Absolute Beginners with Birmingham based Box of Frogs; Improvised Musical Theatre with some of the West End's Showstopper! cast and Narrative Improv and story skills with Spontaneous Sherlock: The workshops are a fantastic way to build confidence, meet new people, and improve initiative at the same time.

The Birmingham Improv Festival 2016 is independently run and organisers have deliberately kept ticket prices low to encourage those who have not experienced live Improv to come and give it a try. Concessionary tickets are priced as little as £5 and the public can even book a ticket for all ten shows for only £59.

The Festival will culminate in a special Charity Showcase in aid of Birmingham Children's Hospital featuring the best Birmingham and Midlands' talent including surprise guests.


Friday 21st October 7.00pm. All tickets £7

The Inflatables will certainly inflate your joy levels as they kick start the first ever Birmingham Improv Festival. This five-piece troupe perform live improvised comedy based on audience suggestions! improvisation on-the-spot, no script, no preparation.

Friday 21st October 8.30pm. Double Bill. All tickets £7

Project2: improvised science fiction; the dialogue, the story, the characters, the score and the tech. The show has nods to Firefly, Back to the Future, Blade Runner, Doctor Who, Shaun of the Dead and every sci-fi you have ever watched!

Audiences might get something moody like Solaris, or something fun and silly like Futurama, or something elsewhere on that famous Solaris-Futurama scale. Project2 are character-led, truthful and faithful to the infinite genre of Science Fiction.

Ghost Couple is a two person improvised comedy from internationally acclaimed improvisers Ruth Bratt and Dylan Emery, two of the cast of Showstopper!

After getting the location of the show from the audience, Dylan and Ruth create a mesmerising series of characters and stories all based around that place - stories from different times and with different people, all interweaving in a series of storylines that are both dramatic and comedic, leaving audiences laughing, moved and enchanted in equal measure.

Friday 21st October 10pm. All tickets £7

Peablossom Cabaret: Mr Pea and Miss Blossom perform a brand new set of toe-tapping cabaret numbers.

A regular on the festival and Comedy Club circuit Peasblossem Cabaret improvise lyrics on the spot about audiences hobbies, grandma, cat... anything at all! Slick improvised lyrics are combined with joyful character comedy and a cavalcade of musical styles.

Saturday 22nd October 4.30pm. All tickets £7

'The Object' with Victoria Bang and Daniel Malmqvist: In this fun pulse-beating show Victoria and Daniel begin by choosing an actual object from a member of the audience and use this as the inspiration to create a story to remember. Is the object a huge secret? Does it have a special story? A crazy ride the owner will never forget? No matter what is it the duet gets inspiration to give audiences a thrilling show that will make toes curl!

Victoria Bang is producer, improviser and teacher at one of the largest improv companies in Sweden - Gbgimpro. This marks her first performance in England.

Saturday 22nd October 6pm. All tickets £10

The Glenda J Collective: four superheroes of Improv, ready to smash your minds with songs, sketches and japes created right there on the spot.
Featuring Josie Lawrence (Whose Line Is It Anyway? Comedy Store Players, Eastenders), Pippa Evans (Showstopper, Drunk History), Ruth Bratt (Showstopper, People Just Do Nothing) and Cariad Lloyd (Austentatious, Peep Show). This will certainly be a night to remember.

Saturday 22nd October 8pm. All tickets £10

Showstopper! Direct from their sell-out run in the West End, Olivier Award Winning Showstoppers bring a brand new musical, created on the spot by the incredible, musical comedians. Audience suggestions are transformed instantly into all-singing, all-dancing show with unpredictable and hilarious results.

With a BBC Radio Four series and eight years of festivals and touring to their name, The Showstoppers have delighted audiences around the world with their ingenious, unique blend of comedy, musical theatre and spontaneity.

Saturday 22nd October 9.30pm. All tickets £7

Spontaneous Sherlock: A huge success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Spontaneous Sherlock is an entirely improvised Sherlock Holmes comedy play, based on the title suggestions of the audience. It's performed by four of the country's most critically-acclaimed comedy improvisers, with live Victorian musical accompaniment.

Sunday 24th October 4pm. All tickets £10

The Noise Next Door: The U.K's premier improv comedy troupe have taken the comedy world by storm. Eight time sell-out veterans of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and one of the country's most sought after Comedy Club headliners, The Noise Next Door leave audiences everywhere in awe of their lightning-quick wit and totally original comedic talents. They have been performing their own distinctive brand of off-the-cuff comedy together since they met at university.

Taking audience suggestions, the cheeky and charming quintet, transform them into fantastically funny scenes and songs in the blink of an eye with a perfect blend of ludicrous characters, witty one-liners, epic stories, and explosive physicality.

The Noise Next Door have appeared on BBC One, BBC Three, ITV1, BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4, they were nominated for a Chortle Award in 2014, and have performed alongside the likes of Michael McIntyre, Al Murray, and Harry Hill.

Sunday 23rd October 5.30pm. All tickets £7

Glitch - The Improvised Puppet Show: Using suggestions from the audience a team of improvisers/puppeteers make up an adventurous tale with a furry little cast of puppets especially for adults. Using traditional Japanese table-top "Bunraku" puppetry mixed with a more modern Muppet/Avenue Q style.

Expect dancing monsters and swearing rodents!

Sunday 23rd October 7.30pm. All tickets £7

Charity Showcase - In aid of Birmingham Children's Hospital The Festival culminates with a special evening in Aid of Birmingham Children's Hospital featuring a host of Improv troupes from the Midlands including Box Of Frogs, Kneejerks, Ministry of Improv, Wow! Impro, Comic Sans Script. This special evening will feature the best in Improv with a few surprise guests.

Tickets can be booked by telephoning 0121 262 2643 or online at Concession tickets £5. Buy a ticket for all ten shows, and see them all for the concessionary price. That's 10 fantastic improv shows for just £59.

Full information including how to book a place on the Workshops can be found on the festival website.

Twitter: @brumimprovfest #BrumProv2016

Facebook: Birmingham Improv Festival

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